USC Upstate Narrows Search for New Chancellor

May 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate has narrowed its search for a new chancellor who will replace Dr. Tom Moore. Moore began his tenure as USC Upstate chancellor on August 1, 2011 and his retirement will cap a 38-year career in higher education. Moore announced his intention to step down in August 2015.

“The search committee appreciates the time and effort the Upstate community has contributed to the search process,” said Dr. Kim Purdy, chair of the psychology department at USC Upstate and chair of the chancellor search committee.  “We were pleased with the quality and diversity of our applicant pool, and have forwarded the names of the three finalists to Dr. Pastides.”

USC President Harris Pastides will appoint USC Upstate’s next chancellor from these three finalists pending formal approval by the USC Board of Trustees.

Jeff Elwell

Jeff Elwell

Dr. Jeff Elwell has served as professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2012. During the last 25 years, he has served in faculty and administrative roles at Auburn University – Montgomery, East Carolina University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Marshall University and Mississippi State University. Elwell has served in major leadership positions for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (where he is currently the secretary of the Board of Directors), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the National Association of Schools of Theatre; the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF), the Southeastern Theatre Conference; and as a member of the Editorial Board of Southern Theatre. He received his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in 1986 and has a Mississippi Arts Commission Playwriting Fellowship, a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artists Fellowship, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship, and an NEH Summer Seminar Fellowship. He has received over $730,000 in grants and fellowships during his career. Professional theatres in Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, and New York as well as Australia, Canada, Poland, and Sweden have produced his plays, including 23 productions of his plays in New York. His plays and monologues are published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Inc., and Heinemann among others.

Matthew Liao-Troth

Matthew Liao-Troth

Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at Hawai‘i Pacific University where he supervises academic affairs and student affairs, to ensure student success and academic integrity in fulfillment of HPU’s mission. During his time as provost the university has improved student retention and graduation rates, gone through reaccreditation, and introduced a revised general education curriculum and peer review process for faculty promotion and reappointment. The university has been recognized as a top regional university and both graduate nursing and social work programs have been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Reports. It has also been recognized as the most diverse university in the USA. In 2015 Dr. Liao-Troth was recognized in Honolulu Business Magazine’s Black Book as one of the education Executives to Know in Hawai‘i.

Liao-Troth previously served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia College & State University. As interim provost at Georgia College, he championed program prioritization to better align university budgeting with academic priorities and implemented several programs to improve retention and graduation rates for all students. Before serving as interim provost, Liao-Troth served as the dean of the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Under his leadership, the undergraduate business program rankings improved by 30 positions, the part-time MBA rankings by 50 positions, U.S. News and World Reports ranked the online MBA number 15 in the nation, and AACSB International reaffirmed the accreditation of the college. He also led the college in expanding its advisory boards and tripled annual giving. The Atlanta Business Chronicle recognized him as one of the Top 100 educators in Georgia.

Liao-Troth served as management department chair, MBA programs director and graduate programs director in the College of Business and Economics, and as faculty senate president at Western Washington University. He was on the faculty of DePaul University in Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis before earning tenure, full professor, and emeritus at Western Washington University. Liao-Troth earned his Ph.D. in Management and his M.S. in Management & Policy from the University of Arizona, his MBA from San Diego State University, and his B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His scholarship focuses on the relationship between individuals and organizations; he has authored more than three dozen published articles and edited the book “Challenges in Volunteer Management,” a volume widely used in graduate non-profit management degree programs.

Michael Tidwell

Michael Tidwell

Dr. Michael Tidwell is dean of the College of Business at Eastern Michigan University. He is originally from Southern California, but attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Upon completion of his master’s degree at Washington State University, he launched his career in the high tech industry. After a stint in corporate America, Tidwell returned to Washington to work on his Ph.D. and has been in higher education ever since.

Tidwell’s current research deals with the impact of personality characteristics on the socialization of new employees. During his career, Tidwell has published in scholarly journals including the “International Journal of Management Theory and Practices,” the “Journal of Business Communication,” and the “Journal of Nonprofit Management and Leadership.” He has held several administrative posts over the years and is responsible for leading teams that have designed new programs that impact the personal and professional development of students and programs that are community focused. His current work involves the launch of a project called the Center for Advancing Social Enterprise (CASE). CASE was established in 2014 to be a catalyst for Michigan’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem, including social enterprises, the firms that fund them, the researchers that examine them, and the agencies that regulate them. CASE does this by working with stakeholders to stimulate creativity and innovation, strengthen leaders, enhance operational excellence, and by serving as thought leaders on behalf of the ecosystem. Tidwell also serves on numerous community and Chamber of Commerce advisory/strategic planning committees, the Eastern Michigan University Investment Committee, and the Business Development Board for Ann Arbor SPARK.

The finalist selected to serve as the fourth chancellor of USC Upstate must have “unquestioned integrity, significant fund-raising experience, a demonstrated commitment to diversity, and strong leadership and strategic planning skills to facilitate the creation of a collective vision for the University. Expertise in increasing enrollment growth, retention and student success, as well as demonstrated ability for building collaborative relationships with faculty, staff, students, and the South Carolina upstate region are highly desirable. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to and experience working effectively in a shared governance environment, and an understanding of the metropolitan mission of USC Upstate,” according to the position description.

President Pastides expressed his deepest appreciation for Chancellor Tom Moore and his wife Marsha who have spent the last five years devoted to USC Upstate at Spring Commencement held on May 3 where 932 students earned their degrees.

“Chancellor Moore will be remembered and long appreciated,” said Pastides. “His bow-tie bearing presence will be missed.  His warm smile; his pat on the back to countless students, visitors and grounds crew will not be forgotten.  Most importantly, his era of leadership will be known for increased numbers of applicants and enrollment, and student retention.”

For more information, contact Dr. Kim Purdy at (864) 503-5779 or