Published: Wed Jul 26, 2006Susan Elkins, Tennessee Tech University's dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education since 2002, is going to need a bigger business card.
Effective July 1, Elkins has an even longer title. The TTU alumnus and 16-year campus administrator has been promoted to Vice President for Extended Programs and Regional Development, a role she will take on in addition to her duties as dean and as an associate professor in the College of Education.
“Dr. Elkins has done superb work establishing strong relationships with our regional school systems and local elected officials,” said TTU President Bob Bell. “She will continue to ensure success of several key elements of our strategic plan.”
Elkins will focus her efforts on education access, P-16/regional development, community college relations, extended education expansion, community relations, non-traditional student services, and the Regents Online Degree Program coordination, all topics with which she has already demonstrated great success. Now her efforts will be more structured and strategic, said Marvin Barker, TTU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
"Dr. Elkins has earned this. She has created a regional development program that enhanced the university's perception among the surrounding communities and their school systems," said Barker. "We continue to expect great things from her with this opportunity."
Elkins has spent almost 30 years serving students and teachers in the K-12 and higher education systems in this region. A native of Gainesboro, she earned her bachelor and master's degrees in education from TTU and her doctorate in education leadership with an emphasis in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University.
She spent 10 years as a middle school teacher in Jackson County before joining Cookeville's Career Development Center as director of educational programs. She also served a short time on the Macon County Board of Education as the Job Training Partnership Act program coordinator and worked with summer youth programs for the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency.
Her first administrative role on the TTU campus was as interim director of Continuing Education in 1990. In 1991 she added assistant director of Development to her title until 1992 when she became the permanent director of Extended Education. She has served in that role as director, then dean, when the division was elevated to the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education in 2002. She has taught classes within the College of Education since 2000, and was named associate professor this year.
"I'm grateful to have the opportunity to work with President Bell, Provost Barker, the entire TTU family, and our many partners throughout the region as we all strive to provide greater access to education and help students succeed," Elkins said. "I've been very fortunate to work with an extremely dedicated team in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education and with numerous campus and off-campus partners who are committed to serving students, and through those efforts we have been able to meet many needs throughout the region. We look forward to building on those past successes and developing other new partnerships that will have a very positive impact on education, economic development, and quality of life."
Elkins lists some 47 presentations or publications on her vita, as well as numerous professional memberships and service activities, including the Association for Continuing Higher Education, the University Continuing Education Association, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. She is also past president of the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education and the TTU Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, and she is a graduate of the Tennessee Board of Regents Leadership Institute and the University of Tennessee Leadership Institute.
She has served on numerous committees for the Tennessee Board of Regents including the P-16 Leadership Team and the 2015 Vision Committee and has chaired several committees including the TBR Continuing Education and Economic Development Committee, the Distance Learning Committee, and the Regents Online Continuing Education Committee. Elkins is also the higher education representative for the Tennessee Department of Education State Superintendents' Executive Committee, has served as a visiting committee member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and was a 2005 participant in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Institute.
Her public service and community activities include serving on the board of directors for Genesis House, WCTE-TV, Leadership Upper Cumberland, United Way of Putnam County, Stephens Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the TTU Education Foundation, the Tech Faculty Women's Club, and the Bryan Symphony Orchestra. She is past president of the Rotary Club of Cookeville, serves as Chair of the District Rotary Interact Committee, and is a graduate of both Leadership Putnam and Leadership Upper Cumberland. She is also a member of the Upper Cumberland Regional Development Team, the Upper Cumberland Relative Caregivers Advisory Board, and has served in various other capacities throughout the region such as member of the Macon County Pre-K Advisory Council and the Jackson County Foster Care Review Committee.
She and her husband, Tommy, live in Gainesboro and have one son, Andy, who is a senior at TTU. "It's great to be 'home' serving your alma mater and the people you love throughout the region," Elkins said.