SC State University Announces New Executive Director for the Office of Academic Success & Retention

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mr. CummingsMr. Terrence M. Cummings, who served as the assistant executive director for the Office of Student Success and Retention at SC State University, was recently reassigned as the executive director for Academic Success and Retention.  The Student Success and Retention office is an arm of the recently Board of Trustees approved restructured Office of Student Success and Retention, which is now the Office of Academic Success and Retention.  Although Cummings will continue to perform many of his same responsibilities, additional ones have been added with the restructuring.  As executive director for Academic Success and Retention, a university-wide initiative designed to increase the number and percentage of students retained at the University, Cummings oversees six components: new student orientation, University 101, academic support services, student support services (federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education), quality assurance and the Black Males Project.

“Mr. Cummings has been instrumental in helping to increase the retention rate among students at SC State University in the years that he served as assistant executive director,” says Dr. Joyce Blackwell, vice president for Academic Affairs.  “He will undoubtedly continue to play a key role in helping SC State to meet that particular challenge as we move forward.  I have truly been impressed by his knowledge of student retention strategies and issues in higher education, his commitment to academic excellence, and his strong desire to help students at SC State to matriculate successfully through the University.”            

Cummings is a native of Orangeburg, S.C. and received both the Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish education (cum laude) in May 1987, and the Master of Education degree in special education, learning disabilities in July 1988 from SC State.  During his twenty-two-year tenure at SC State, Cummings has progressively served as tutorial counselor and assistant director/counselor with the Student Support Services Program, adjunct instructor in special education, and assistant executive director for the Student Success and Retention Program.  Cummings was the first SC State University Staff Senate President and was seated as an ex-officio member of the SC State University Board of Trustees in 1997.  He has served on more than thirty University committees and councils during his twenty-two years of service to SC State, including both the SACS Self-Study Steering and NCAA Recertification Committees. Recently, he served as co-editor for the Quality Enhancement Plan, a core requirement for SACS reaffirmation. In addition, he was principal writer for the Student Support Services Program, a five-year grant funded for over $1.12 million dollars, and he also served as primary writer for a three-year $360,000 grant with the Sister of Charity Foundation of South Carolina for Chapel Hill Community Development Corporation, Inc., an entity of Andrew Chapel Baptist Church in Orangeburg.  He has also served as ancillary writer/editor for other proposals and grants to include Title III. 

Cummings has had specialized training in customer service from the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, fatherhood development from the National Partnership for Community Leadership in Washington, D.C. and the University of South Carolina, as well as extensive training in student recruitment, retention and marketing.

Cummings has held memberships in professional organizations such as the South Carolina Council of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, Southern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, National Education Association, Council for Exceptional Children and Alpha Mu Gamma National Foreign Language Honor Society.

A consummate professional, Cummings enjoys an avocation as a freelance writer and has had more than 200 commentaries published in news dailies. He was a regular contributor to The Times and Democrat editorial pages.   Other select publications included his poem, “Love Again,” published in “The Edge of Twilight” (1994), a book review of “Reaching for the Moon” in the NCEOA Journal (Spring 1992), and “I’m Me, I’m Special” and “Discovering my Feelings,” chapters in Straight Talking for Targeted Preschoolers: A Substance Abuse Prevention Manual, Resources in Education