NEW: University of South Carolina names first chancellor of online college

01/14/2013 10:01 AM

01/14/2013 12:58 PM

Susan Elkins, vice president of extended programs and regional development at Tennessee Technological University, was named Monday as the first chancellor of the University of South Carolina’s new online college.

Elkins will oversee the Palmetto College, an online course program starting next fall that will allow students at the university’s two-year colleges get four-year degrees.

About 500-1,000 students are expected in the first year of the Palmetto College, USC Provost Michael Amiridis said.

Elkins was hired because she had done similar work at Tennessee Tech where she worked since 1991 and because she has the energy and enthusiasm to get the program at USC started, Amiridis said.

She runs the Tech’s distance learning, off-campus programs, special courses, public service initiatives, grants and special projects, according to the school website. Elkin also is the dean of the school's college of interdisciplinary studies

The Gainesboro, Tenn., native was among the three finalists to become president at Tech last spring. She received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Tech and a doctorate in education leadership from Vanderbilt University

Elkins’ appointment was approved by USC trustees at a special meeting Monday. She will earn $185,000 a year when she starts next month. She makes $131,500 at Tech, according to the Tennessee Board of Regents database.

'Online degree programs are very effective in increasing access to education, especially for students who are 'struggling to juggle' work, family and other responsibilities," she said in a statement. "The convenience of online delivery anytime, anyplace gives many more students access to high quality educational opportunities."

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