A Driving Force: Sandra Stone Leaving Dalton State
September 25, 2014
During the last four years, Dr. Sandra Stone has helped shape the future of Dalton State College as it added more academic and athletic programs.
As of Nov. 1, Stone, the vice president for academic affairs, will be taking her expertise to the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee where she will be the regional chancellor. Dr. Andy Meyer, assistant vice president for academic affairs, will be interim vice president for academic affairs.
“It has been great here,” Stone said. “It was a very exciting time to come here. The school was in a time of transition. It has changed dramatically since I got here in 2010. It has been a very exciting time to be here and see changes and help shape some of those changes. Similarly where I’m going is also looking at a lot of change in their future. They’re expanding. They’re becoming a more traditional university.”
USF Sarasota-Manatee has been a college for upper division courses and graduate school, but in August of 2013 accepted its first freshman class.
“They have a lot of enrollment growth, and a lot of change,” Stone said. “It’s a very exciting time there. I have experience with campus and transition and leading change. I hope I can bring some skills that will be helpful for them.”
Stone helped guide new bachelor degree programs through the state approval process while at Dalton State, said Dr. John Schwenn, president of the College, and helped eliminate underperforming programs.
“She oversaw the reorganization of our academic schools from seven into five and helped create our first Faculty Senate, as well as helped create Dalton State’s first online degree program,” Schwenn said. “During her tenure we saw a dramatic rise in faculty and student research, and she navigated us through our most recent strategic planning process. Our Center for Teaching and Learning was established under her leadership, and our Center for International Education was expanded with educational and cultural exchange opportunities with universities in Europe, Asia, and Africa.”
Specifically, Stone was “the driving force” behind new programs in psychology, interdisciplinary studies, and respiratory therapy, said Dr. Mary Nielsen, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts.
“She had a vision and the energy to accomplish it,” Nielsen said. “I admire and respect her.”
Many at Dalton State said Stone will be missed, but wished her well in her new position.
“Sandra has been a pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Larry Johnson, Dean of the School of Business. “In addition, she has been instrumental in transforming Dalton State into a more traditional four-year college by offering more four-year degree programs; adding the new Peeples Hall science building, and renovating the former Technical Building into the new building for health professions. Her vision on the new use of technologies has been instrumental in Dalton State better serving first generation college students, which is now evident by improved student progression and graduation rates.”
Stone became a mentor to Dr. Sharon Hixon, Dean of the School of Education. Hixon also served as interim dean before being named dean.
“She has been a great leader for our school because she genuinely cares about the students, the faculty, the staff and our institution,” Hixon said. “I was looking forward to working with her for many years to come, and I am sad to see her go. I think she is well-suited for the new school as it sounds as if they are wanting to move forward and try new endeavors.”
Dr. Gina Kertulis-Tartar, Dean of the School of Health Professions, also referred to Stone as a mentor.
“It has truly been a pleasure to work closely with Dr. Stone,” Kertulis-Tartar said. “She is a very energetic, positive person. She works tirelessly to promote the students, staff, faculty, and the College.”
Stone came to Dalton State in 2010 after serving as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of West Georgia. She had previously worked there as Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Previously she worked for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, for the Department of Juvenile Justice, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, the City of Atlanta, and the Centers for Disease Control.
Stone has more than 30 years’ experience in social services, health care, and education at many different levels, having started her career as a medical social worker. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology and a master’s degree in psychology from the University of West Georgia. Her doctorate is in sociology from Emory University, and she has a post-doctoral certification in organizational behavior from Tulane University.
The USF Sarasota-Manatee has more than 4,500 students according to its website. It was established in 1975 as a regional campus of the University of South Florida and was accredited as its own institution in June 2011. The university offers 40 academic programs that include bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificate programs.