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Dr. Lisa Sparks
Dr. Lisa Sparks

Academic AffairsExecutive Director of First-Year ExperienceMoss Hall803-536-7216

Lisa Sparks

Dr. Lisa Sparks is executive director of South Carolina State University’s First-Year Experience. 

Her role was established to assist with student retention and serve as an academic conduit between the Student Success and Retention/TRIO Programs and the SC State faculty.


Sparks received a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Master of Education in Foundations of Education and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. 


Sparks has served in several leadership positions at higher education institutions.

Prior to her appointment at SC State, Sparks was an instructor and director for the First-Generation Mentor/Mentee program at the University of South Carolina- Upstate. She created opportunities for freshmen to meet academic standing, and to develop mentally and socially.

Sparks is a true educator for all ages. She taught in the public school system for more than 15 years in the United States and at an international school in Seoul, Korea. She received several outstanding teaching accolades, as well as Teacher of the Year for Newport News Public Schools. 

As an adjunct professor, Sparks also taught courses for the Master of Education program at the University of Phoenix. 

At Hampton University, Sparks served as director of Testing and Disability Services, where she provided a comprehensive array of services for students with disabilities, while adhering to state and federal laws and regulations. 

During Sparks’ tenure at Norfolk State University, she served as an academic advisor and was then promoted to associate director of advising. She led a team of advisors who assisted with planning, designing and developing student programs and services that implemented the goals of the university.  

Sparks worked on a team with administrators and faculty to develop the university’s first centralized advising model.  

She presented and served as an advisor trainer for several new student success centers. She was also a presenter on intrusive advising at the National Academic Advising Association (NAAA). 

Sparks is married to Andre’ “Donni” Sparks. They have four adult children Andre’, Kiara, Jasmine and Shante’, and six grandchildren.