Tankersley named dean of the newly formed Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences at CCU
“The University is fortunate to have someone as skilled as Dr. Tankersley in this position,” said Daniel Ennis, Ph.D., CCU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Being a founding dean is a unique challenge, as that person can help establish the culture and reputation of the college. With her experience as a department chair, associate dean, and associate provost, Dr. Tankersley is well prepared for this task. As far as I know, Dr. Tankersley is the only CCU dean ever to win the Student Government Association Professor of the Year award as a member of the faculty, so I am sure teaching excellence will be a hallmark of her administration.”
This newly organized academic college includes more than 1,000 students within undergraduate programs in anthropology and geography, early childhood education, elementary education, middle level education, physical education, political science, sociology, and special education. The college also offers a number of graduate degree programs, including a Ph.D. in education, Ed.S. degrees in instructional technology and educational leadership, M.Ed. programs in educational leadership, instructional technology, special education, and language, literacy, and culture, and an M.A.T. in secondary education.
“I’m looking forward to working with and learning from faculty, staff, and students in the new college,” Tankersley said. “I am excited to be their advocate and champion, and to help this new college grow and succeed.”
As dean, Tankersley will also oversee a number of academic institutes and programs within the college, including the Call Me MISTER program, the Dalton and Linda Floyd Family Mentoring Program, the Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, the Social Justice Research Initiative, the South Carolina Teaching Fellows program, the Teacher Cadet program, and the LIFE program.
“The disciplines that are coming together to form the new Spadoni College have much more in common than meets the eye,” Tankersley said. “At their root, they are interested in questions of how humans develop not only as individuals, but as members of communities and societies. They examine ways in which we generate and share knowledge to advance collective goals. They offer solutions for negotiating difference and conflict, for building understanding and cooperation.
“My vision for the expanded college is to take these existing connections and nurture them, with the goal of building a multidisciplinary community that values critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and a shared mission to serve the public good. I want our faculty, staff, and students to be recognized as ambassadors to the broader community as they study, research, and seek solutions to the day-to-day problems we face in society.
According to Tankersley, the expanded college is brimming with opportunity, and is comprised of some of the best professors, most accomplished scholars, and engaged students on campus.
“Faculty are already connecting across shared interests, from social justice to education policy to community development,” Tankersley said. “These multidisciplinary partnerships will seed new programs, new courses, and new experiences for our students, preparing them to become leaders, not just on our campus, but wherever their professional and personal lives take them.
“The political scientist Arthur Lupia writes that the fundamental work of social science is to improve quality of life. Horace Mann, the great American educator and advocate, considered education to be the ‘balance wheel of the social machinery.’ Bringing this set of disciplines together will give our faculty and students new avenues for their own work and personal and professional interests.”
As associate provost, Tankersley was responsible for the development and execution of strategic initiatives for academic innovation and excellence that enhance the University’s mission; and the development and advocacy of policies and programs to ensure that faculty are successful in their teaching, scholarly, and leadership endeavors.
Tankersley’s background at CCU also includes serving as associate dean of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, where she was responsible for curriculum and program development and assessment; execution and evaluation of special projects and initiatives; and recruitment and orientation of new freshman and transfer students.
During her four-year tenure as chair of the Department of Politics, she promoted and managed growth of the department as it doubled in size; led faculty in deepening and expanding their commitment to high-impact learning practices; and founded the Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, an endowed teaching and research center focused on solving the policy problems of the community and the region.
Tankersley is a graduate of the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, an immersive professional development program for women leaders in higher education. A native of Alabama, she earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Georgia. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College.