Palmetto College, University of South Carolina’s New Online College, Names First Chancellor

Compiled by Ryan Garner
January 18, 2013

Susan Elkins, vice president of extended programs and regional development at Tennessee Technological University, has been named the first chancellor of Palmetto College, the University of South Carolina’s new online college. Launching in the fall, Palmetto College aims to provide an affordable and convenient way to complete a bachelor’s degree program online.

Palmetto College will utilize resources from the entire University of South Carolina system. Students who have earned at least 60 hours of college coursework are eligible to enroll in the program, which allows them to earn their degrees without sacrificing their work or family responsibilities by relocating to a university campus.

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

Students will be able to take courses in a convenient and flexible online format. Palmetto College will offer baccalaureate degrees from the University of South Carolina system’s four-year campuses in several fields, including business, criminal justice, education and nursing.

“Ultimately, it's all about student success – one student at a time – leading to higher education levels and economic prosperity for students and the state and leading to a better quality of life for all citizens,” Elkins said.

In her current role, Elkins runs Tennessee Tech’s distance learning, off-campus programs, special courses, public service initiatives, grants and special projects. Elkin is also the dean of the school's college of interdisciplinary studies. She received a master’s degree in education from Tennessee Tech and a doctorate in education leadership from Vanderbilt University.

Elkins has served as the chair of the Association of Continuing Higher Education South Region, which includes 10 southern states. The position also involved serving on the board of directors for the Association of Continuing Higher Education International. She is a former president of the Tennessee Alliance of Continuing Higher Education as well, and was awarded the organization’s highest awards for leadership and service.

“I've spent my entire higher education career focusing passionately on student access and success, so I was immediately attracted to the new innovative, cost effective model of Palmetto College,” Elkins said. “I am looking forward to meeting the wonderful people of South Carolina – all across the state – and to sharing the great new educational opportunities available to them through Palmetto College.”


“University of South Carolina names first chancellor of online college,”, January 14, 2013, Andrew Shain

“South Carolina Palmetto College chancellor named,”, January 14, 2013, Peggy Binette

“Elkins named South Carolina Palmetto College chancellor,”, January 16, 2013, Derik Vanderford