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W. Ross Palmer

Ed.D., University of Florida, 1969. Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education. 

M.Ed., Mississippi College, 1962. Secondary Math Education.

B.S.E., Mississippi College, 1960. Secondary Math Education with a Minor in Psychology.

A lifelong educator, Dr. W. Ross Palmer graduated from Crystal Springs High School in Mississippi in 1957, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary math, and then gave back to his community by teaching 7th and 8th grade math. 

In 1964, he became curriculum assistant to Jackson Public Schools, Jackson, Mississippi where he conducted clinics and workshops in the “new mathematics” for elementary teachers and principals and workshops in the use of educational media for elementary and secondary teachers. He also helped initiate a federal program in media for disadvantaged youth and was active in giving talks to various parent and civic groups on the so called “new math.” While working for the Jackson Public Schools, he conducted a pilot program on the teaching of reading with the EDL Controlled Reader in elementary, junior high, and high school classes. He also completed a study on the teaching of capitalism and free enterprise in the Jackson Public Schools, revised the textbook accounting system for Jackson Public Schools, and attended and advised city-wide departmental and committee meetings. 

He left the public school system to move to Florida to complete his doctoral studies and later joined the UA faculty as an instructor in 1968. The following year, he became an assistant professor and in 1973, he was promoted to associate professor and chair for the Foundations Department. In 1978, Ross was granted his first sabbatical. While others in his situation might use the opportunity to conduct research, Ross chose once again to give back to his community and return to Mississippi to teach 8th and 9th grade math at Forest Hill JuniorSenior High School. 

He returned to UA as professor and chair of the Program in Educational Foundations.

Upon return from sabbatical, Ross served in the role of professor and program chair, acting assistant dean, associate dean, and then served 15 years as assistant dean for student services and certification. In 2002, he was granted administrative leave with the intent to retire the following year, but Dr. Judy Bonner, then provost, had other plans for Ross Palmer. When the dean’s position was left vacant, Dr. Bonner asked Ross to serve as interim dean for a year. He fulfilled this last role on campus with ease and expertise and retired in 2004. 

Throughout his educational career, Ross has been a true student advocate, role model, and public servant. Palmer was so dedicated to the service of students that the College of Education Board of Advisors created an award in his honor, named the W. Ross Palmer Service to Students Award which is awarded annually to one faculty and one staff member in the College of Education.

Ross was granted a lifetime membership in Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education which promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching, and he has served many roles in this organization. Palmer continues to serve on the College of Education’s Board of Advisors today.

He is married to Carol Schlicter. Allison Reed and David Palmer are his children.