University of South Carolina

Alice Taylor-Colbert to lead USC Union

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-7704

Alice Taylor-Colbert has been named dean of the University of South Carolina Union, building on a nearly 30-year career in higher education administration that includes serving as a dean and then associate vice president for academic affairs at Lander University since 2010.

Her appointment was announced Thursday (May 9) by South Carolina Palmetto College Chancellor Susan Elkins, who said it was Taylor-Colbert’s strong academic leadership experience in a small college setting coupled with an enthusiasm for the Union campus and community that led to her selection.

“Dr. Taylor-Colbert has a vision of leading Union to greater heights, building on the past successes along with initiating creative, new endeavors. 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,” says Elkins.

Palmetto College comprises the university’s four regional campuses at Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union as well as online bachelor’s degree programs.

Elkins says she will work with Taylor-Colbert to ensure the success of Palmetto College in meeting the state’s education needs.

“An educated workforce is essential to having a strong economy in South Carolina. Palmetto College is working to expand access to higher education to the state’s citizens, and USC Union is playing a vital role in realizing that mission in the Upstate,” Elkins says. “I look forward to working with Dr. Taylor-Colbert as she continues to enhance the USC Union student experience and the quality of its associate degree programs. I welcome a close collaboration as we make online programs for earning a bachelor’s degree an accessible and affordable option for Union area students beginning this fall.”

Taylor-Colbert, 57, said she is excited about the future of both USC Union and Palmetto College.

“Dr. Elkins’ vision for Palmetto College and the role of the regional campuses will produce a national model for other universities to emulate. I am honored to be part of the USC team,” Taylor-Colbert says.

She says it was the opportunity to be a campus leader and work with dedicated faculty and staff while participating in the evolution of Palmetto College that attracted her to the position. “I consider the position an invitation to have fun while we accomplish great things for the Union campus and community,” she says.

The opportunity to lead and collaborate was only part of Taylor-Colbert’s attraction to USC Union’s top post. She says the beauty of the Upstate and the warmth of the people in the community were equally alluring.

“I grew up in a small town. 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. The natural beauty sustains my spirit and gives me energy for the work of the colleges and universities I have had the pleasure in serving,” Taylor-Colbert says. “The other reason I’m drawn to smaller communities is the many kindnesses that people share with each other. We need each other to accomplish great things. To thrive we must establish partnerships because we all seek what is best for our community.”

Much of Taylor-Colbert’s academic career was established at Shorter College in Rome, Ga., where she joined the faculty at her alma mater as a history professor in 1984. There 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 earned dual bachelor’s degrees in English and history from Shorter College and her master’s and doctoral degrees in American Studies from Emory University. 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.

An Atlanta native who was raised in Snellville, Ga., 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. Her appointment will become effective June 1.

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 05/09/13 @ 2:00 PM | Updated: 05/09/13 @ 2:14 PM | Permalink