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Palmetto College

Faculty and Staff

Sher Downing, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Palmetto College Columbia
Palmetto College
Phone: 803-576-6045
Fax: 803-777-8840

901 Sumter Street,
Byrnes Building 302N
Columbia, SC 29208

Sher Downing


Dr. Sher Downing was named vice chancellor, e-learning for the University of South Carolina Palmetto College in October 2015. Dr. Downing will serve as part of the chancellor’s leadership team, oversee strategic leadership and direction for online offerings, support academic personnel in development and execution of online courses and programs and provide leadership in the coordination of technology resources. She will also serve as an assistant professor at the Extended University.

Dr. Downing brings over 25 years’ experience as an experienced executive in the post-secondary and education technology field in the divisions of academics and student services in public, private and for-profit institutions. Downing most recently served as chief learning technology officer for the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. In 2012, her team helped boost the school’s online MBA program to No. 2 in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s first-ever rankings of online MBA programs; in 2013, online graduate programs in multiple disciplines were again rated No. 2.

Her experience includes leading teams of IT and instructional design staff in the development and delivery of online-, hybrid-, blended-learning and classroom activities for undergraduate, graduate and corporate training programs. She has served at senior administrative levels at several institutions, including private, community college and university campuses. She has spent the last 16 years launching online schools and programs and overseeing the design and development of academic, administrative and student services in a virtual environment. She has also served as senior online faculty and curriculum development specialist for several colleges and universities and as a private consultant for specialized degree programs in higher education and the private sector.

Downing’s research focus has focused on the transition of faculty from the traditional classroom to online and hybrid instruction. She has served as a national presenter and author and been active in numerous eLearning organizations, including the United States Distance Learning Association, The Sloan Consortium, the World Association for Online Education, and The eLearning Guild. She holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree, both with specializations in instructional design for online learning and a master’s degree in legal studies with a focus on intellectual property/copyright. She is a 2010 Lincoln Center Fellow from the Arizona Program for Policy Ethics and Leadership Fellow at ASU.

USC Palmetto College currently offers seven online bachelor’s degree completion programs – business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, human services, liberal studies, organizational leadership and RN-BSN – offered by USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Columbia and USC Upstate.

In addition to its online bachelor’s degree completion programs, USC Palmetto College also comprises the university system’s four regional two-year campuses – USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union – as well as Extended University and its Fort Jackson satellite location.