Fitzpatrick named interim chancellor of USC Upstate
By Peggy Binette, email@example.com , 803-777-7704
Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, the University of South Carolina’s vice president for system planning, has been named interim chancellor of USC Upstate as the university continues the search for its next leader.
University President Harris Pastides, who anticipates having a new chancellor in place by the first of the year, says Fitzpatrick is the perfect choice to lead USC Upstate during the transition.
“Dr. Fitzpatrick will make the leadership of USC Upstate her full-time mission during the coming months,” Pastides says. “She will not simply be a caretaker but will build upon USC Upstate’s momentum, advance the forward progress and ensure a strong foundation for a permanent chancellor. Her familiarity with the system and the USC Upstate campus, as well as her skills as gifted administrator and higher education leader, will prove invaluable during this time.”
Fitzpatrick, an Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology, has served as vice president of system planning for nearly a year, responsible for ensuring the improvement of quality, coordination and effectiveness and long-range planning for the statewide system, which has nearly 50,000 students across eight campuses.
In the 10 years leading up to the system planning role, Fitzpatrick served as the dean of Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences, directing the recruitment of 300 new tenure-track faculty and overseeing efforts to open new centers, institutes and programs and a new School of Earth, Ocean and Environment.
As an associate vice president and vice provost, she spearheaded the university’s On Your Time initiative, which re-engineered the academic calendar to include a third semester option during the summer that allows students to graduate sooner or pursue co-op, internship and study abroad opportunities.
A psychology scholar on the complex dynamics of family systems, she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and a past president of the International Communication Association.
Fitzpatrick’s appointment as interim chancellor of USC Upstate will begin Aug. 1.
“I am honored to serve as the interim chancellor at USC Upstate,” Fitzpatrick says. “It is evident to me that the community leaders and the alumni are very supportive of the institution and its mission. Moreover, the faculty and staff and students want to continue to move the institution forward.”
Fitzpatrick is impressed by the innovative work and leadership at the university’s comprehensive and regional campuses, and USC Upstate is no exception.
“USC Upstate has worked successfully over the past five years not only to build enrollment but also to develop targeted student services to help more students succeed,” she says. “Its very successful Direct Connect programs work with the region’s technical schools to make the transition of students into USC Upstate as smooth as possible. It’s a national model for collaboration.”
The growth and success at USC Upstate has coincided with dynamic growth over the past several decades in the upper region of the state, with significant population increases in Spartanburg, Greenville and Anderson counties that are expected to continue. In 2013, 22 new companies with nearly $302 million in capital investments moved to the Upstate region. More than half of the state’s 25 fastest-growing companies are located there, and Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson leads the nation among medium-sized metropolitan areas for its number of “high impact firms.”
That growth in the region presents new opportunities for USC Upstate, says Fitzpatrick.
“USC Upstate’s faculty and staff see their primary role as educating students and improving the surrounding communities,” Fitzpatrick says. “Faculty at USC Upstate are keenly aware of these economic facts and are dedicated to helping the region prosper by developing new academic programs that prepare graduates to take leadership roles in companies and in their communities.”
She says she looks forward to helping USC Upstate build on the momentum it has established.
“USC Upstate has an excellent leadership team of deans, directors, chairs, vice chancellors and others in place. To fulfill our mission as a major metropolitan university in the 21st century, these leaders will collaborate with faculty and staff on core strategic initiatives in long-range enrollment planning, in academic program development and strategic hiring,” Fitzpatrick says. “This transitional time will show that the leadership, along with faculty and the staff can collaborate in developing initiatives that will make USC Upstate an even stronger institution in the next decade.”
The university recently completed a national search to find a chancellor that resulted in many qualified applicants and several strong finalists but did not yield the leader sought to guide USC Upstate.
Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Moore who is retiring, having served as chancellor of USC Upstate since August 2011.
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