UNION COUNTY — Effective June 1, Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert will be the new dean of the University of South Carolina Union.
South Carolina Palmetto College Chancellor Susan Elkins announced Thursday that Taylor-Colbert’s strong academic leadership experience in a small college setting — coupled with an enthusiasm for the USC Union campus and community — led to her appointment.
“Dr. Taylor-Colbert has a vision of leading Union to greater heights, building on the past successes along with initiating creative, new endeavors,” Elkins said. “She has a stellar record as a teacher-scholar as well, and we are delighted to have her as a member of the Palmetto College leadership team serving the Union community.”
Taylor-Colbert, 57, has had a nearly 30-year career in higher education administration, which includes serving as a dean and then associate vice president for academic affairs at Lander University since 2010. She said she is excited about the future of both USC Union and Palmetto College, which comprises the university’s four regional campuses at Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union as well as online bachelor’s degree programs.
“Dr. Elkins’ vision for Palmetto College and the role of the regional campuses will produce a national model for other universities to emulate,” Taylor-Colbert said. “I’m thrilled with this opportunity. USC Union already has amazing people in all the appropriate positions, and they are doing a great job. I look forward to bringing them the support they need and working as a team.”
Taylor-Colbert said her visits to Union during the interview process confirmed her interest in the university and the community.
“I grew up in a rural area,” said the Atlanta native who was raised in Snellville, Ga. “I gain personal strength and inspiration from the beauty in nature. It is a major reason why I have chosen smaller communities for the locations of my work. It was such a relaxing opportunity, driving through the country during my visits to Union.”
Taylor-Colbert also said she was attracted by the warmth of the people in the community as much as the beauty of the Upstate.
“The other reason I’m drawn to smaller communities is the many kindnesses that people share with each other,” she said. “I met such wonderful people, and I was greeted with smiles. To thrive we must establish partnerships because we all seek what is best for our community.”
Taylor-Colbert also mentioned looking forward to some of the other exciting happenings at USC Union, such as the campus bookstore’s move to Main Street, which will also include a cafe.
“Hopefully, members of the community will join us there,” she said.
Taylor-Colbert also discussed the university’s Bantams club baseball team and its mascot, which already had a history at the university with the former basketball team which saw the most success during its 1972-1973 season.
“I’m so excited, and I think it’s so cool they chose the name Bantams,” she said. “I envision such a powerful, mighty team. The bantam is a great symbol for this powerhouse baseball team.”
Although she has not yet begun the moving process, Taylor-Colbert said she does plan to move to Union County.
Taylor-Colbert earned dual bachelor’s degrees in English and history from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. and her master’s and doctoral degrees in American Studies from Emory University in Atlanta. Her research and scholarship has focused on Southern and Cherokee history and culture. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cherokee Studies and is a past co-editor of the Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians.
Taylor-Colbert joined the faculty at Shorter College as a history professor in 1984, where she forged a leadership path that took her from chair of the social science division and history and political science department to dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences. She also served as director of the College Museum and Archives during the last half of her 21 years at Shorter.
After serving five years as a chairman of a department that included five social science and liberal arts disciplines at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Taylor-Colbert chose to make South Carolina her home in 2010, serving first as a history professor and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and later as associate vice president for academic affairs at Lander University.
Taylor-Colbert is married to James E. Colbert Jr., an associate professor of chemistry and an assistant vice president for academic affairs at Lander University.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.