ALBANY — Officials at Albany Technical College announced Monday that the school is set to welcome Dr. Tanjula Petty as its new vice president of academic affairs on Tuesday.

According to ATC President Anthony Parker, Petty will assume the role previously held by Shirley Armstrong, who recently announced her retirement.

“This was an opportunity that was unexpected,” Parker said of having to fill the role after Armstrong announced her decision to leave.

As the school’s chief academic officer, Petty will be responsible for the overall quality of the college’s instructional programs and for coordinating the school’s administrative and support functions central to its academic mission.

“We interviewed eight individuals and they were all strong candidates,” said Parker. “Three of them had (Petty’s) level of experience and we felt all of them would have been able to perform the job, so we had a tough decision to make. It was a difficult choice, but it was a good, difficult choice.

“We really felt she was a very strong candidate and we felt that she was the right person for the position. We’re very excited about her being here.”

Parker said that certain things in Parker’s background were of utmost importance to the search committee, including her experience administering a highly successful workforce development program in Alabama.

“She was involved with a program that supported workforce development in that community due to a Hyundai plant in the area,” explained Parker. “She’s had the opportunity to work in an environment where workforce development was critical to expanding industry, which is something that is important to us as well.

“She was also involved with a program to bring high school students in prior to graduation where they could also earn a degree or a certificate from the technical college. Naturally, that is something we’re interested in developing in this community as well.”

Parker also cited Petty’s experience in the area of institutional quality as being a deciding factor in naming her to the position.

“At another institution, she worked in institutional effectiveness, so she has a solid background in accreditation,” Parker said. “At Albany Tech, we are about halfway through the process of renewing our accreditation, so she will no doubt be an important resource in that process. I think she brings a lot of valuable experience with her.”

For her part, Petty said an important aspect she’ll be bringing to Albany Tech is her experience as the first person in her family to go to college, which is something that she said informs everything she has done professionally.

“In my family, I’m a first-generation student,” said Petty. “I didn’t have a privileged upbringing, but I was able to get an education and it’s important to me to make sure others have that opportunity.

“Most of the students that are served at Albany Tech are first-generation students, which means a lot to me. It’s really an honor that I can give back and make sure other first generation students are getting a quality education.”

Petty added that she takes pride in her overall passion for education, which is something she feels she shares with Parker and the rest of the administration at Albany Tech.

“Education is definitely one of the things I’m very passionate about,” said Petty. “I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to help provide a quality education to students. I have had heard such wonderful things about Albany Tech and I already knew about Dr. Parker from my colleagues in the Georgia system and had heard good things. I had heard about his passion for education and about his commitment to workforce development programs.”

Administering workforce development programs is something Petty feels is crucial to Albany Tech and its students.

“I think those programs are critical,” said Petty. “Students need to not only get an education, they need to get an education they can take into the workforce. I’m really excited about this opportunity and all the possibilities at Albany Tech. It’s already an excellent school, but I think it can be even better.”

Before coming to Albany Technical College, Petty served in a variety of administrative positions at different institutions, including serving as Title II director and an instructor at Vernon College in Texas, and serving as director of Institutional Quality Enhancement at both Pensacola Junior College in Florida and Alabama State University in Montgomery.

Most recently, Petty served as dean of instruction at Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery and as an adjunct instructor of leadership studies at Troy State University.

Originally from Alabama, Petty has a bachelor’s degree in resource management and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State. She completed her doctoral studies at Alabama State in Leadership, Policy and Law.

Petty is married to retired Col. William H. Petty. The couple have three daughters and one son.

“I’m excited about this opportunity and I’m excited about transitioning to Albany,” Petty said. “So far, it seems to live up to its nickname, the Good Life City. I’m hoping to come here and not only have a good life, but also make contributions to both Albany Tech and the community as a whole.”

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