The University of Georgia has named Alton M. Standifer as its vice provost for inclusive excellence and chief of staff to the provost effective Oct. 1. Standifer presently serves as deputy chief of staff to President Jere W. Morehead.
“Throughout his career at the University of Georgia, Dr. Alton Standifer has made a positive impact on our campus while serving in several vital positions,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “He will be a tremendous asset to the Provost’s Office, and I look forward to working with him to advance some of our university’s most important initiatives.”
As vice provost for inclusive excellence, Standifer will direct the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity. In this role, he will lead a focused effort to develop and implement strategies and initiatives designed to create a welcoming environment for all faculty, staff and students and to advance academic excellence goals. He will support UGA’s particular focus on rural, economically disadvantaged, first-generation, underserved, military and transfer students.
As chief of staff to the provost, Standifer will lead strategic university initiatives, manage special projects and provide oversight for operations and staff in the Office of the Provost. The Office of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness will report directly to Standifer. Among other duties, he will consider academic honesty appeals and will review appeals for scheduling of classrooms in collaboration with the vice president for student affairs and the vice president for instruction.
“I am honored to take on this new role and follow in the footsteps of those who have worked to create the world-class learning environment that we have at the University of Georgia today, specifically President Morehead and Dr. Michelle Cook,” said Standifer. “Throughout my career at this institution, the success of our students and the fulfillment of our tripartite mission have guided my work, and I look forward to continuing that focus in this new position working with Provost Hu. I would like to thank the president and the provost for their confidence in me to fulfill the duties of this critical role on our campus.”
Standifer joined the University of Georgia in 2014 as assistant director of new student orientation, advancing to associate director of undergraduate admissions and director of new student orientation in 2015. He joined the staff of the Office of the President in 2019 as assistant to the president. He was named as deputy chief of staff to the president in 2022. In that role he managed the day-to-day operations of the President’s Office and advised the president on matters involving community engagement, inclusive excellence, and faculty, staff and student affairs. He was the office’s primary liaison with the university’s development and alumni relations team, its student affairs division and several advisory groups.
At the request of the University System of Georgia, Standifer served as interim chief of staff during a presidential transition at Savannah State University in the summer of 2023.
“Dr. Standifer has provided exemplary service to the university as a member of our President’s Office team for the past four years, and he will be missed,” noted President Jere W. Morehead. “However, I am excited for Alton as he begins this new role and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him in the future.”
Prior to joining UGA, Standifer served in a variety of student-centered roles at Georgia Southern University. He was an assistant to the dean of students, coordinator of the Panhellenic Association and coordinator of Georgia Southern’s Pathways to Success program. He also has taught middle school math and coached basketball in his hometown of Monticello, Georgia.
“Having grown up in rural, middle Georgia, I have been able to experience the transformative power of higher education,” said Standifer. “In my new role, I want to work with campus and community partners to ensure prospective members of our community see the University of Georgia as a place where they can learn, grow and thrive.”
Standifer earned his doctorate in public administration and policy from UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, where he now serves as an adjunct faculty member. He received a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Georgia Southern University.
Standifer was selected by the University System of Georgia to participate in its 2022-2023 Executive Leadership Institute. He was a member of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2022 and the Georgia Southern University 40 Under 40 Class of 2023. He is a member of the 2022 class of Leadership Georgia and a 2020 graduate of LEAD Athens. Standifer served as the state coordinator of the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education in 2017, and he was president of the Georgia Southern University Alumni Association from 2020 to 2022. Standifer and his wife, Brittany, live in Athens and are expecting their first child in December.