Columbia College Challenges and Advantages
Columbia College President Beth Dinndorf will step down after the current school year, the school announced on Friday.
“Columbia College has been an important institution throughout its 162-year history and has a bright future,” The 65-year-old Dinndorf said in a news release. “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as president and will always be a supporter of Columbia College.”
Dinndorf’s retirement comes after the college recently announced it is cutting college tuition by nearly $10,000 per year. The school also announced the elimination of five “under-enrolled” majors and two minors, plus several faculty and staff cuts.
The school also announced Friday that the board of trustees had named Carol Moore the school’s full-time provost and executive vice president.
“The college has a long and rich history and a very vibrant future,” said Moore, currently the school’s interim provost. “I am thrilled to be a part of that future.”
Columbia College Board Chairman John C.B. Smith said that no search was under way as of yet for a replacement for Dinndorf, who had been working on a year-to-year contract and will step down on June 30.
Smith said Columbia College will begin a search early next year. He said Moore, the new provost, could be in charge of internal operations if Columbia College finds itself without a president next summer.
In an email to Columbia College alumni, Smith praised Dinndorf, who had led the school since 2012.
“President Dinndorf’s work has included the exploration of new programs and the strengthening of Columbia College’s presence in the region,” he said.
He said her accomplishments included acquiring a $100,000 Mellon Grant as well as funding for the establishment of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurism. Dinndorf also helped develop the Institute for Leadership and Professional Excellence and created online programs and new partnerships with technical colleges.
Dinndorf said she felt she had reached a natural end point. “The class that will graduate this year were seniors in high school when I recruited them,” she said
She plans to stay in South Carolina and remain involved in the community, she said, adding: “Who knows what the future brings?”
Dinndorf was an accessible presence for students, said Sabrina Nicole, a junior history major, was one of the students who saw her major eliminated but will be able to finish the course.
“I liked President Dinndorf,” Nicole said. “You could always see her out on campus walking her dog.”
But given the recent cutbacks, Nicole thought the departure of the institution’s president seemed “poorly timed.”
The college announced tuition cuts last month, dropping tuition to $19,500 a year to attend starting with the fall 2017 semester, down from the current $28,900.
Adding in the cost of room and board – currently $7,900 a year – the change will bring the total annual cost of attending Columbia College to $27,400, less than the current cost of tuition alone now, according to the school.