tracy west headshot

Dr. Tracy West


Program Chair

Professor of Special Education, Division Dean

Spears | 109




Dr. Tracy West has been a member of the Columbia College community since 2000 and currently serves as the Dean of the Division of Education. After graduating with a BS in Special Education from East Carolina University, she began her career as a special education teacher in the public schools of North Carolina. She then moved to South Carolina to complete her PhD in Special Education Research. 

A passion for teaching is what has kept Dr. West in the profession for nearly 30 years. Her goal in educator preparation is to develop educators as advocates for all students, especially those with exceptionalities. This focus has led to her research interest in policy and regulations governing the provision of special education services. This is evident not only in the coursework that is provided to the teacher candidates of Columbia College and in her professional presentations and publications but also in her work as an IEP facilitator for the state of South Carolina Office of Special Education Services. 

Dr. West is an active member of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children at both the state and national level as well as the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association. Dr. West lives in Camden with her husband, Shannon, and their two children Hampton and Elizabeth.

Awards & Accomplishments

  • 2019-2021 SC State Board of Education Member-Fifth Circuit
  • 2018 Student Choice Award Recipient, Columbia College
  • 2014 Faculty Excellence Award Recipient, Columbia College
  • 2014 U.S. Professor of the Year Nominee, Council for Advancement and Support of Education


  • Sanders, M. S. & West, T. (2020) Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification: Promising Partnerships for Teacher Preparation [Roundtable Session]. AERA Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA
  • Sander, M. and West, T. (2019) Alternative Certification in Higher Education: New Initiatives in South Carolina. SC TEACHER University of South Carolina press.
  • West, Stefanski, et al (February, 2017). "Are You a First Year Too?" Presented at the Annual Conference of the SC Council for Exceptional Children. Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • West, T.N. (Summer 2016). "Every Child Is A Dancer: Skills and habits for teaching dancers along the Autism Spectrum." Presented with David Parson’s dance residency in conjunction with the SC Autism Society and Columbia College. Columbia, SC.
  • Hoyle, C., & West, T. (2016). "Connecting teacher preparation with district expectations: A framework for accreditation collaboration." Teacher Education Journal of South Carolina, (16,1), 63−72. Retrieved from
  • Hoyle, C., & West, T. (January, 2015). "Caution: Collaborative professionals at work!" Poster session presented at the 13th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • West, T.N. and Hoyle, C. (November, 2015). "Impact on Learners: What is your evidence?" Presented at the Annual Teacher Education Division Meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children, Tempe Arizona.

What do you love about working at Columbia College?

Coming to a place that I love to do the thing that I love should not be called work! Columbia College is a special place that allows me to teach and develop relationships with amazing students that will go into the profession of education and do amazing things!