Vice President’s position eliminated – Administration to be reorganized in Athens

Athens/ Living Editor

On Nov. 2, Piedmont students, faculty and staff were notified via email that Piedmont College decided to remove the vice president position at the Athens campus.

Mel Palmer previously held the position. As the vice president, he was responsible for the administrative duties regarding the Athens campus. However, the decision has been made to reorganize this position in order to eliminate it altogether. This decision is due to the fact that Piedmont College, as a whole, is not a large enough organization to require multiple levels of administrators, according to President James Mellichamp. He explained that he feels that this position is no longer necessary. 

 “My preference has always been to eliminate unnecessary levels or layers of complexity, and I believe the new structure will help us achieve that goal,” Mellichamp wrote in an email on Nov. 2.

The responsibilities that were once held by Palmer will now be conducted by a number of different administrators. The daily operations he handled will now be given to Director of Administrative Services Mitzi Heck. Her new position will involve scheduling, the maintenance of buildings and fleet vehicles, supervising maintenance and administrative staff and managing Athens contractors, vendors and suppliers. There is currently no replacement for her previously held administrative assistance position.

Jane Kidd, who is currently special assistant to the president, will now deal with community relations. She will continue as an assistant as well as take on these new duties. Her responsibilities will be to expand and build new relationships in the Athens area. 

Student affairs will now be handled by Zach Churchill who will continue to act as director of student services and campus events. He currently reports to Dean of Student Engagement Emily Pettit. However, there will be a new position of a Student Success Coach, which will be filled by Linda Smith. 

Regarding the rest of Athens personnel, they will continue to report to their Demorest unit heads, such as the business office, admissions, registrar and financial aid. 

Due to these changes, for the first time in almost 20 years, the Athens Council will meet to improve the communication between the campuses as well as to ensure that these administrative changes happen smoothly. This council is comprised of 12 faculty members from the Athens campus, with Mellichamp serving as the chair of the council. They will meet at the Athens campus on a bi-weekly basis.

According to Mellichamp, this reorganization is an exciting change for the Athens campus that will hopefully improve things at the administrative level.

 “The new organizational structure will allow me – the President of Piedmont College – to be directly involved with all of the students, faculty and staff at the Athens Campus,” he wrote in an email. “That will result in a much more efficient way to operate – and it will also help everyone associated with the Athens Campus to feel that they have a stronger connection to Demorest.”