Meet a Tiger: Sean Williams
When this Tiger, a hard core exercise enthusiast, developed a rare medical condition that left him very close to death, he called his family — his Clemson Family. And they came through.
Title: Professor of English and Provost’s Fellow
Years at Clemson: 18
What I do at Clemson: I have lots of jobs at Clemson. As a faculty member, I do work that ranges from mentoring graduate students and publishing papers on communication in entrepreneurship to designing new courses for undergraduates and thinking of ways to help more junior faculty succeed. As a Provost Fellow, my most significant current job is leading the implementation of an enterprise “student success management” platform that will help improve graduation and retention rates at Clemson. As Provost Fellow I also serve on the President’s Leadership Initiative (PLI) advisory committee where I help mentor Clemson’s emerging leaders in the program. There’s lots of other things, but most of my time is currently split between my faculty role and serving as Provost Fellow.
What I love about Clemson: I love the place. I spend a lot of time outside on a bike, in the mountains, on the lake in a kayak and walking in the Experimental Forest with Rue, my dog. This place we live is precious and everyday I’m thrilled to be so lucky to call Clemson home.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’m probably most proud of my students’ success. I’ve mentored about 80 graduate students and dozens of undergraduates and they have gone on to lead companies, start nonprofits and generally make the world a better place. I keep in touch with many of my former students and it’s always a pleasure to hear when they have a great achievement!
Where I see myself in five years: I imagine I will be a dean somewhere, probably in the Western United States where I’m from originally. I’ve been fortunate at Clemson to work in lots of leadership roles and the time has come for me to pay it forward in administration.
Last thing I watched on TV: If by TV we mean Netflix, then a show called “Bomb Girls.” It’s a Canadian show about women working in a bomb factory in World War II, and it’s not only a great story with fun characters, but it’s loaded with real issues such as the challenges women faced as they entered the working world.
Guilty pleasure: Do I only get one? I enjoy good beer, especially after a hard mountain bike ride. I love trekking in the woods and stringing my hammock between two trees for an afternoon nap. A good cheeseburger always makes me happy, too, although I’ll never turn down a hot dog either!
One thing people don’t know about you: I was a truck driver in the U.S. Army. After I graduated from college, I decided to literally take the Army for a test drive and enlisted. My job was hauling jet fuel in 5,000 gallon tanker trucks; and while it was definitely interesting, I decided that the Army wasn’t for me, and so I went to graduate school in Arizona instead of officer candidate school. The rest is history as they say.
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