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Palmetto College

Faculty and Staff

Susan Elkins, Ed.D

Title: Chancellor
Palmetto College
Phone: 803-777-7695
Fax: 803-777-8840

1420 Pendleton Street
Thornwell Administration Annex, Suite 339
Columbia SC 29208

Susan Elkins


Dr. Susan Elkins was named Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Palmetto College in February 2013. The Chancellor serves as the chief administrative officer of Palmetto College, which includes UofSC’s four associate degree-granting regional campuses – USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter, and USC Union, along with online bachelor’s degree completion programs offered by the four senior institutions of the University of South Carolina System – USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Columbia, and USC Upstate.  Dr. Elkins holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education from Tennessee Technological University (TTU) and completed her doctoral work in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration at Vanderbilt University. Since the establishment of Palmetto College in 2013, enrollment at the regional Palmetto College campuses has grown by 21% topping 5,000 for the first time in 2019 with continuing growth since that time.  The online bachelor’s degree completion programs launched in 2013 have served over 5,000 students with nearly half of those already earning a bachelor’s degree by 2021.

Dr. Elkins previously served as Vice President of Extended Programs and Regional Development and Dean of the College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Tennessee Technological University.  She led outreach and service efforts in the 42-county service area, first as Director of Continuing Education in 1991, Director of Extended Education beginning in 1992, then as founding Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education in 2002 before being named Vice President in 2006.  As a result of numerous internal and external partnerships with campus colleges and schools, along with partners such as community colleges, Tennessee Technology Centers, K-12 school systems, and business/industry partners such as Volkswagen, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, enrollment in the off-campus programs increased substantially during her tenure.  

Dr. Elkins is also a tenured Professor of Education in Palmetto College and was a Professor in the department of Curriculum and Instruction in the TTU College of Education.  Her publications and numerous presentations have focused on leadership, continuing higher education, and student access and success issues such as retention and dropout prevention.  Elkins has spent her career of over four decades focusing on student access and success in K-12 and higher education, coupled with internal and external partnerships involving P-16 education, business/industry, and government.

Prior to Dr. Elkins’s tenure at TTU, she worked with Career Development programs for high school students in various Upper Cumberland Tennessee counties and taught middle school math in her hometown school system in Gainesboro (Jackson County), Tennessee.

Dr. Elkins is also very active in professional and civic organizations. She is currently serving as President of the Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM) and serves on the Editorial Review Board for the SAM Advanced Management Journal.  Additionally, she is Vice President for the Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) and serves as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Continuing Higher Education.  She was the 2015 ACHE Leadership Award recipient, the highest award presented by the Association.  USC Palmetto College received the Distinguished Credit Program Award in 2016 from ACHE and the 2018 Program of Excellence Credit Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) South Region. Susan is a past Chair of the ACHE South Region that includes ten Southern states, a position that involved serving on the ACHE Board of Directors. She is also a Past President of the Tennessee Alliance of Continuing Higher Education (TACHE) and is a recipient of the TACHE Barbara Beeler Outstanding Service Award and the Milton J. Phillips, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in Continuing Higher Education in Tennessee. She has served as a team member on numerous accreditation visits for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), as well as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.  Susan also served on several other statewide committees at the Tennessee Board of Regents and Tennessee Higher Education Commission. She is a 2005 protégé of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Institute, a 2014 participant in the AASCU New Presidents Academy, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the AASCU Millennium Leadership Institute.  Finally, she is also a member of the Board of Directors of the George Rogers Foundation that provides scholarships for first-generation college students, a member of the Rotary Club of Columbia, South Carolina, a past president of the Rotary Club of Cookeville, Tennessee, and has served on boards of numerous other organizations.  

Susan and her husband Tommy have one adult son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Andy Elkins and Kelly Elkins, along with two grandchildren, Maddox and Caroline, who reside in Naples, Florida.

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