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Dr. Tierney J. Bates is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina Upstate. 


An award-winning student affairs professional with more than two decades of progressive leadership experience in higher education administration, Tierney leads our Division of Student Affairs and works across our institution to provide robust and effective management of initiatives that will affect the quality of life for our students.


Tierney most recently served as assistant vice chancellor for special projects and interim executive director for university career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since January 2020. He provided leadership and vision for the University Career Services department and staff responsible for assisting undergraduate and graduate students when they select a major and career direction.


In 2019, Tierney was vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Virginia Union University. Prior to that, he served for two years as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at North Carolina Central University. From 2013 through 2016, he was director of The Cultural Center at the University of Louisville. 


Tierney has also served as vice president of programs and services with the National Urban League and held various positions at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Bowling Green State University, and Baldwin-Wallace University.


A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Tierney has earned a reputation as a focused leader, innovator, speaker, and fundraiser and a leading voice on diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is active with the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and received the 2020 NASPA Region III HBCU/MSI Outstanding Professional award. Tierney was a two-time faculty favorite at the University of Louisville and was recognized by the Knoxville News Sentinel as one of the city’s “40 under 40.” He serves on the board of the Melvin C. Terrell Foundation, McKinney Diversity Board Advisors, and the University of Akron National Alumni Association.


Tierney earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Communications with a minor in African American History from the University of Akron. He received his Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron, his Master of Business Administration from Bryan College, and his Ph.D. from Spalding University.  

Additionally, Tierney is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the American College Personnel Association, the National Black MBA Association, Southern Association of College Student Affairs, National Association of Colleges and Employers, and 100 Black Men of Triangle East.

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