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BONUSBOld iNnovative sUstainable Solutions

April 15, 2021

The Division of Academics, Student Affairs, and Research recognizes the social value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as its importance to the success of students in the SC Technical College System. We believe that everyone benefits from embracing different perspectives, recognizing various leadership styles, and leveraging the strengths of all employees. To support colleges in this area, we offer faculty trainings, host Teaching and Learning Tuesday webinars, and engage System peer groups who share valuable ideas with one another.

The past few years, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been at the forefront of news media. The call for social change during the Summer of 2020 and the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities has led to a re-evaluation of how students and staff experience Higher Education. Our Division is committed to helping everyone rise, and promotes equity through technical assistance, professional development, and engagement activities. We also perform routine equity audits at the colleges to ensure services meet the needs of all individuals on campus. These audits include a review of enrollment and graduates by race and gender, the ratio of faculty and non-faculty employment by race and gender, any Office for Civil Rights (OCR)-identified case activity, and one-on-one interviews with students and administrators.  While such audits are a start, reflection remains the backbone of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as it helps colleges assess pathways for improvement. For example, when a student sees more faculty and administrators that look like them, or experiences culturally sensitive classrooms it creates equitable opportunities for additional learning tailored to that particular student.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requires us to take a bold look at potential blind spots and find innovative solutions to change systems that are no longer meeting the needs of our local communities. As we head into this new decade, our Division is committed to supporting our colleges on this path. We will be hosting our first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Institute during the 2021-2022 academic year. Details will be sent out later this year.

Submitted by Dr. Eric Brown and Austin Floyd. Dr. Brown is the Associate Vice President & Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for Student Affairs. In this role, Dr. Brown advocates for students and promotes inclusive educational environments and safe spaces that afford students the opportunity to maximize their personal and professional potential. Austin is a vibrant, sagacious, and down-to-earth educational catalyst. He creatively communicates progressive educational truths and offers alternative perspectives to higher education challenges. When he’s not writing his doctoral dissertation or hanging with his 9-year-old son, he’s binging episodes of This Is Us & Survivor, swimming laps at the pool, taking trips with his cousins, or eating some really good food.

March 22, 2021

The Division of Academics, Student Affairs, and Research values professional development. It is a fundamental way in which the Division strives to achieve its mission to be known for bold, innovative, and sustainable practices that promote student success. From special topic trainings and intensive institutes to the monthly Teaching and Learning Tuesdays, the Division regularly engages college faculty and staff connecting them to relevant, research-based, and actionable information. This month, the Division launched a virtual Faculty Academy for Teaching in Non-traditional Fields and later this year will welcome the next cohort into the highly regarded Leadership Academy.

In honor of Women’s History, this month’s blog is dedicated to women in higher education, specifically their professional development.

There are many professional associations within higher ed. Here in South Carolina, we have two that tailor content and support to women in higher education:  the South Carolina American Association for Women in Community Colleges (SCAAWCC) and the South Carolina Women in Higher Education (SCWHE). Just last month SCWHE hosted its first virtual conference with over 300 in attendance. On April 15, SCAAWCC will host its first virtual conference as well. Female-identifying attendees will be encouraged to focus on their positions, perspectives, and possibilities as they hear from Piedmont Technical College’s first female and woman of color president, Dr. Hope Rivers.  Several vice presidents from across the system will speak about diversity and leadership and attendees will have the opportunity to have a little fun with a virtual silent auction. Registration is still open and includes the option to bundle membership with the national organization, the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC).

Women working across the technical college system are encouraged to get plugged into professional organizations. Regional and state organizations are especially great for fostering authentic engagement without unrealistic demands on time and resources. Email the Division at if you’d like to learn more about upcoming development opportunities.

Submitted by Dr. Aimeé Carter. Dr. Carter’s professional mission is to create opportunities for career and professional development through experience and education. As the Director of Academic Partnerships and Engagement, she oversees statewide development of dual enrollment and system-wide transfer.

February 18, 2021

The Division of Academics, Student Affairs and Research is known for bold, innovative and sustainable practices that promote student success. With 12 employees championing student success, the division builds the capacity of educators to connect with essential resources and collaborate with key individuals on common goals. 

Over the past two decades, the division once known as Academic Affairs has grown and evolved. Taking on an ever-expanding body of work, its employees are energized and motivated by their mission. What started out as a focus on academics and small group collaboration has evolved into a full suite of technological and professional development services designed to engage and inspire.  

The formation of peer groups (cohorts of employees who perform the same functions at the college level) dominated the early 2000s. Through these groups, the division saw a clear statewide need for intentional support and training, kickstarting a focus on new professional development opportunities geared towards the 16 colleges. 

In 2012, the first faculty academy launched. Originally held over many months, the program was refined over time. By Spring 2019 it was known as the “Faculty Institute”, an intense one-day in-person session focusing on trending topics. September 2012 brought the division’s first technology conference. Over 300 attendees engaged with Apple, Microsoft, Google and other Big Tech. In January 2013, the division launched its new series “Teaching and Learning Tuesday” in response to the demand this Bellwether-finalist conference generated. TLTs, as they are known, are now a staple of the division’s suite of services. 

As the 2010s wore on, focus fell on serving educators in funding, policy, compliance, and research roles. More training opportunities evolved as well as work on dual enrollment and statewide transfer. The division also continued developing and supporting its 19 peer groups related to student services, academics, institutional effectiveness, Chief Academic Officers and Chief Students Services Officers. The division’s advancement in these areas led to a name change that fully captured these efforts: Academics, Student Affairs, and Research. Most recently, the division successfully navigated a global pandemic, crafted a new stance on diversity and inclusion, and on-boarded several employees virtually. 

The division’s future focus will center on a well-defined suite of signature services and events. It will also continue to serve as an information resource and coordinating body on matters ranging from curriculum approvals, program evaluation, and student services.

Be on the lookout for additional blog posts that will further explore the suite of services offered by the Division of Academics, Student Affairs and Research and its bold, innovative, and sustainable practices that promote student success. 

Submitted by LISA COLE. Lisa spends her days chasing four kids and loving life. Education, books and family drive her heart! When not providing programmatic support to Academic Partnerships and Compliance within the Division, you’ll find her over in the publishing world guiding local Midlands authors and illustrators as they bring their story vision to life.