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Denmark Tech hires president; Todd says he’s a ‘student- centered leader’
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Denmark Tech hires president; Todd says he’s a ‘student- centered leader’

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DENMARK – Denmark Technical College’s new president says he will focus on students.

The college’s area commission unanimously agreed to hire Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr. on Monday.

"As a student-centered leader, I work diligently to create innovative solutions to alleviate the financial burden on today's students while working to increase persistence, retention and overall graduation rates," Todd said.

Todd has served for the past four months as the college's vice president of academic affairs and students services. He’ll become president on Jan. 13.

He was selected after a 24-minute closed-door meeting on Monday.

"Your resume was impressive," DTC Area Commission Chairman Kevin Whitt said. "We have had the opportunity to watch you work for the past four months. You have developed a significant rapport with faculty and staff."

"We look forward to working very closely with you to bring Denmark Technical College forward," Whitt continued.

Todd thanked the commission for hiring him, saying “My hope is working collaboratively that we will be able to live up to the expectations that I know Denmark Technical College deserves.

"I am really excited about this collaborative approach with the faculty, staff, students and alumni and community going forward."

Todd will earn a salary of $128,769. That’s the minimum recommended by the S.C. Technical College System for technical college presidents.

About 75 individuals applied for the position in a national search conducted by a three-member search committee. The search began in September and applications were reviewed in November.

The search committee consisted of DTC National Alumni President James Bowden; Aiken Technical College President Dr. Forest Mahan; and Phil Homan of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education.

Whitt said, "Dr. Todd has experience with the college ... and he also has significant experience with the (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) committee and accrediting bodies and has extensive background in academics."

Todd holds a Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University; a master’s degree in higher education administration with a concentration in student affairs from Regent University; a master’s in education in English education from Albany State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Albany State University.

Todd has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas; vice provost and associate vice provost at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia; executive director of student affairs, director of leadership and student development, English department undergraduate program coordinator and faculty at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia; adjunct faculty at Georgia Perimeter College in Decatur; director of developmental studies writing laboratory at Albany State University in Albany, Ga; and adjunct faculty at Darton College.

Todd will assume his new position from Denmark Tech’s interim president, Dr. Christopher Hall.

Hall became the college's interim president in January 2017 amid concerns about its financial viability.

"Dr. Hall has done an extraordinary job," Whitt said. He said Hall worked with the State Tech Board and state and federal lawmakers to continue Denmark Tech’s legacy.

"Hall was tireless in making those things happen,” Whitt said.

One challenge Hall faced is the college's accreditation.

The college was placed on warning by SACSCOC in 2018 for “significant non-compliance with the core requirements or standards of SACS.”

Last month, SACS reviewed the college and maintained its accreditation for “good cause” and placed the college on probation for 12 months.

The SACS designation means Denmark Tech has demonstrated significant recent accomplishments in addressing non-compliance, has provided evidence which makes it reasonable to assume it will remedy all deficiencies within a year, and that the institution has provided assurance to the board that it is not aware of any other reasons, other than those identified by the board, why the institution cannot be continued for good cause.

It was uncertain Monday what Hall's future will be following his time at Denmark Tech.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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