Dean of School of Continuing and Professional Studies Announces Retirement

Billy K. Cannaday Jr., dean of the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and vice provost for academic outreach, announced that he will retire Sept. 1.

Prior to being appointed dean in October 2008, Cannaday was a veteran educator and former chief executive officer of the Virginia Department of Education, having served as the state’s superintendent of public instruction. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently reappointed Cannaday to the State Board of Education.

Under Cannaday’s leadership, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies launched the University’s first fully online undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management. Additionally, access to the school’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, a part-time degree program for working adults, was expanded to include Richmond, Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun campus and Thomas Nelson Community College’s Williamsburg campus.

 “During his tenure as dean, Billy has led the development of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies into one of the nation’s leading programs,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “The school now offers a robust variety of courses, both online and in classrooms, in Charlottesville and around the commonwealth, giving greater numbers of students access to an excellent U.Va. education and degree. We are extremely grateful for Billy’s leadership, and we are confident that he has positioned the school for even greater success in the future.”

Since arriving at the University, Cannaday encouraged the expansion of its training programs to higher education and K-12 administrators and government officials.

Cannaday has been particularly instrumental in expanding the University’s efforts in China. Since 2010, School of Continuing and Professional Studies staff and faculty, in partnership with other academic units and their faculty – including the College of Arts & Sciences, the McIntire School of Commerce, the Curry School of Education, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Department of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning and the International Studies Office – have served of more than 1,000 visiting Chinese professionals from different provinces in China. This work has led to the University and School of Continuing and Professional Studies being designated as a preferred training destination for higher ed faculty and administrators at Chinese educational institutions coming to the United States.

In August 2012, Sullivan expanded Cannaday’s portfolio to include academic outreach. As vice provost for academic outreach, he was tasked with assisting the University in working in partnership with other units and faculty to focus and apply the University’s expertise to issues of public concern in Virginia.

Over the past 18 months, the University has created a coordinated response to four such issues: early childhood education, health care innovation, expansion for the 21st-century workforce, and multi-university partnerships to build a succession plan for retiring state government professionals.

Steven Laymon, the school’s associate dean for academic programs and services, will serve as the school’s interim dean through 2017.

“Working for the University of Virginia has been a true joy for me,” Cannaday said. “However, leaving it in the good hands of a steward who valued our school’s mission was even more important.

“For me, my legacy was not tied up in my contributions to the University and School of Continuing and Professional Studies, but instead how I positioned our school and the University to continue its mission-critical efforts to serve the commonwealth and the ongoing educational and professional needs of the non-traditional adult learner.”

Laymon joined the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in August. He came from the University of Chicago, where he served as the associate dean for graduate and professional programs at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

“Steve has a deep understanding and passion for serving nontraditional adult learners, particularly working professionals,” Cannaday said. “He will be instrumental in enabling our school to fulfill its important outreach mission.”

Laymon has held numerous appointments at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and Northwestern University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

Media Contact

Jane Paluda

School of Continuing and Professional Studies