Columbia, SC, Dr. Verna Orr, Special Assistant for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, has recently been named the new Chief of Staff at Benedict College. As an integral member of the President’s Office, the Chief of Staff reports directly to the President and serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet. Dr. Orr will be responsible for directing the operations of the Office of the President while serving as a trusted advisor and advocate for the highest quality of operational services.
“Dr. Orr brings a variety of rich experiences to the Chief of Staff position, with her work as a strategic leader and her impeccable ability to deliver exceptional operational results,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to equity-minded decisions and championing collaborative problem-solving.”
The Chief of Staff represents the President in her absence and supports, coordinates, and collaborates on various initiatives on behalf of the President. Dr. Orr will manage short-and-long term critical priorities and projects that represent the interests and priorities of the Office of the President. Additionally, she will be responsible for the overall leadership, administration and management of the Office of Human Resources, Institutional Assessment, Institutional Effectiveness, and oversight of the College’s Strategic Plan.
“I am excited to ascend to a new level of leadership at Benedict College and I am proud to work with some of the most amazing colleagues and professionals in higher education. There is a powerful spirit of pride within the Benedict family, and I am committed to protecting her legacy and future,” expressed Dr. Orr. “My experiences have prepared me for an opportunity such as this and I am humbled to learn from and work with Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis. I will continue to work hard to realize the vision set by the President and our Board of Trustees as we amplify #TheBESTofBC.”
Dr. Orr is a Fellow at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, where she completed a Post-Doctoral Research appointment. She earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a three-time graduate of Howard University, earning a Bachelor of Music Education, a Master of Education, and a Doctorate of Educational Policy and Administration.
Dr. Orr is a former music teacher and administrator in Washington, DC, public schools and served as Confidential Assistant to the 16th President of Howard University. She is the co-founder of the HBCU Collaborative for Excellence in Educational Quality Assurance, whose mission is to demonstrate the effectiveness of HBCUs using best practices in assessment and evaluation.
About Benedict College
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 26 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world.
Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty.
There are over 18,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree.
Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications. For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research. In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest.
Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Six of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Environmental Engineering Program, Studio Art Program, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship.