The South Carolina Legislative Audit Council released a report last week that labeled Elon University incoming president Connie Ledoux Book unqualified to be hired for the position of provost at The Citadel.

According to the audit, Book was unqualified because of her educational degree. The audit said, "The candidate must have a Ph.D. or other terminal degree from a discipline currently offered at the college."

Book received a Ph.D. in mass communications from the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia in 1993. But that degree was not offered at The Citadel in 2015 when she was hired. After Book assumed her position in 2015, The Citadel's English department was renamed the Department of English, Fine Arts and Communications.

According to a statement released by The Citadel, "The report indicates the provost is unqualified because she has a Ph.D. in mass communications, which was not offered by the college at the time of her hiring, nor is it currently offered. At The Citadel, mass communications instruction occurs in the English department. This is a common practice at liberal arts universities. The Citadel has a long history of teaching mass communications courses as evidenced in the course catalog."

In an email, Dan Anderson, vice president of communications at Elon, said Book agreed with her current employer's explanation. 

Book will assume the position of president at Elon in March 2018. Elon 's presidential prospectus did not include educational degree requirements amongst the qualifications for the ninth president.

The Legislative Audit Counsel reported that Book's human resources file did not include a written explanation for why she was hired without meeting the requirements of the position descriptions.

"State Human Resources Regulation 19-703.01 for classified positions states that applicants for hiring must meet the minimum requirements unless equivalency approval has been given by state HR," the report said. "The Citadel should apply the same consideration of minimum requirements to unclassified positions." The position of provost is unclassified. 

"Elon’s next president will possess an exemplary record of leadership, a deep familiarity with higher education and a commitment to academic excellence," the prospectus said. "She/he will appreciate the collegiality of the Elon community, have a desire to be immersed in a culture of collaboration and transparency and will possess the highest integrity and ethical standards."

Additionally, the prospectus said the candidate should "possess significant senior-level management experience, preferably in higher education or a comparable environment, along with a record of enhancing institutional strength and recognition." In that regard, Book's time at The Citadel and Elon previously qualifies her for the role of president. 

A previous version of this story stated that Book earned her Ph.D. in 2013. Elon News Network regrets the error.


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