USC Aiken names new chancellor
Dr. Sandra Jordan, the Georgia College & State University provost and vice president, will become just the fourth chancellor in USC Aiken's 50-year history, effective July 2.Jordan was selected by University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides, following his own interview as well as input from a USCA search committee, university personnel and others who met with Jordan and two other finalists.She will succeed Dr. Tom Hallman, who is retiring next month after nearly 11 years as chancellor.In a press release, Pastides cited Jordan's background in leading a distinguished faculty and advocating tirelessly on behalf of students."This gives her the experience and vision necessary to take the helm at a thriving campus like USC Aiken," Pastides said. "She has the personality and disposition to make new friends for USCA and play an active role in the community."Jordan is no stranger to South Carolina. In the late 1980s, she was an assistant professor of art history at Lander University and directed the Monsanto Gallery of Art on campus.In a telephone interview Thursday, Jordan expressed her delight in becoming part of what she describes as a wonderful and strong institution. She and Dr. Suzanne Ozment, USCA's outgoing executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, have worked together on accreditation committees several times in recent years."Dr. Ozment has often spoken of the quality of USC Aiken and how proud she is to be associated with the university," Jordan said.In 2011, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Jordan to serve on a task force with a goal of developing a new design for higher education funding."Across the nation, the recession has been challenging for many of our state institutions, including higher education and K-12," Jordan said. "But the future will be a little brighter through partnerships and careful stewardship. Our primary mission is to concentrate on what we're there to do. We must focus on students and deliver on the promises we've made to provide them the best possible education."Dr. Ed Callen, chairman of USCA's psychology department, led the chancellor search committee. The national search included many outstanding and highly-qualified candidates, he said in a press release."Dr. Jordan clearly separated herself from the rest as the individual with the skills, leadership, vision and enthusiasm to take an outstanding institution like USC Aiken and guide us to even greater accomplishments," said Callen. "I look forward to working with her to achieve that goal."During her formal visit to the university in April, the search committee provided Jordan with a broad set of constituents to meet with her and interview her. She learned about the Aiken community and learned about the strengths and challenges of the institution."It was a very positive experience," Jordan said. "In meeting with students and faculty, I kept hearing the word 'love.' People are unabashedly proud of USCA and speak of it in glowing terms. Many students talked about the enormous impact the university has had on their lives."Jordan is the right person at the right time for USC Aiken, said Dr. Deidre Martin, vice chancellor for advancement."She was excited about the potential she saw on our campus," Martin said. "With her passion and experience, I believe she will take us to even higher levels. She couldn't wait to get here and start getting to know our people and working to make this campus even better."Dr. Robert Alexander, USCA's chancellor from 1983-2000, had a chance to meet with the finalists and attend their public presentations.Jordan "demonstrated a real depth of understanding of a small liberal arts university, what its role is and what impediments it faces," he said.Considering Jordan's background, skills and knowledge, "She will relate very well to the faculty, staff and students, as well as external constituents such as the legislature and the alumni," Alexander said.Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.