Georgia Southwestern provost named president at SUNY Potsdam

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023

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By Chelsea Collins

AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Suzanne Smith, Ph.D., has been named president of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam after serving nearly five years at GSW.

Smith accepted the position at Potsdam after it was officially voted on by SUNY Board of Trustees and will start on April 17, 2023.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as provost and VPAA at Georgia Southwestern for the last five years,” Smith said. “GSW is a special place, with talented faculty and staff who put student success at the forefront of everything they do, and provide an exceptional educational and co-curricular experience. I will miss serving with each of them, and with our amazing students, as the people are what makes GSW special.”

During Smith’s tenure, she led the Academic Planning Process which resulted in new degrees added to GSW’s curriculum to meet student and regional workforce needs. These included the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Communication and Emerging Media, and Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) among other certificates and interdisciplinary partnerships. Smith also served on the Post-Pandemic Strategic Task Force, which developed the three pillars of excellence for GSW, and led the Strategic Planning Task Force which built upon that work.

“We are very proud of Dr. Smith and excited for her and her family as she takes on this new challenge,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “As a result of her work and leadership at GSW, the University is better positioned to support and drive student success while producing graduates ready to meet the workforce needs of the region. I am confident she will also succeed in her new position.”

While at GSW, Smith launched the Office of Experiential Learning which oversees internships, study abroad, Windows to the World, and other opportunities for students to take what they learn in the classroom and practice those skills in a real-world setting. She also worked in partnership with Laura Boren, Ph.D., executive vice president of Student Engagement and Success, to develop the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, a servant leadership program centered around teaching students to be leaders on campus, in our community, and in their lives to come.

Under Smith’s leadership, GSW’s colleges were consolidated to create better programmatic synergy, a partnership with Zhoukou Normal University was established to bring approximately 30 students to GSW each year, and the first TEDxGeorgiaSouthwesternU event was held on campus.

The University has partnered with Higher Education Leadership Search to conduct a national search for a new provost. The new provost/VPAA is expected to start before the beginning of the fall semester.