Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier has been named by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents as the permanent president of Savannah State University. The regents’ decision followed a recommendation by USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby and ends the interim status she has held at SSU since April of 2011.
“Dr. Dozier has demonstrated a great capacity for leadership and a clear ability to unite the campus and the community,” said Huckaby. “Her work as interim has been impressive and it is the right decision to allow her the opportunity to provide permanent leadership for the University.”
In expressing appreciation to the board and chancellor for their confidence in her leadership, Dozier said, “I am proud of the progress that has been made thus far but the pursuit of excellence is far from over. With the commitment, engagement and involvement of all of our stakeholders, I am certain that Savannah State University will continue to thrive and flourish as it fulfills its mission to develop productive members of a global society.”
Since taking charge as interim president, Dozier has launched a number of programs dealing with improving graduation and retention rates, customer service, and strengthening external relationships.
For example, Dozier launched the “Closing the Gap” initiative, which provides one-time financial assistance to graduating seniors who have an outstanding balance of $1,500 or less and exhausted all other financial aid options. The program aims to ensure deserving students are able to successfully complete their Savannah State University education despite any last-minute financial crises or hardships that may threaten their graduation.
Prior to being named interim president at Savannah State, Dozier served as associate provost for Institutional Diversity at the University of Georgia from 2006-2011 and assistant vice president of Academic Affairs at the Gwinnett University Center from 2002-2006. She is a tenured Professor in the School of Social Work.
She is the co-principal investigator for the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a $10 million National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program at UGA that broadens the participation of minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at SSU and six other USG institutions. Dozier is an active member of numerous professional and civic organizations, including President of the Georgia Association for Women in Higher Education, the board of the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Savannah Economic Development Authority Advisory Council (newly elected), CEO Council of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and NCAA Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Council of Presidents.
She earned a Doctorate in Social Welfare from Hunter College, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and received a Masters in Social Work from Atlanta University (now Clark- Atlanta), School of Social Work and a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J.