|Dr. Ontario Wooden, Dean|
Ontario S. Wooden has been named dean of University College at North Carolina Central University. The College is the campus unit that guides students through their first two years at NCCU, providing academic advising and other support aimed at improving retention, graduation rates and overall student success.
Wooden, 33, succeeds Bernice Duffy Johnson, who is now associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. He has been associate dean of University College since 2008. In that role, he managed NCCU’s academic advising program.
A native of Albany, Ga., Wooden received his Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Albany State University in his hometown. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in higher education administration from Indiana University.
About 3,000 students are typically enrolled in University College at any given time. The College employs a team of 40 faculty and staff, including 13 full-time advisers. In addition to academic advising, mentoring and coaching, it operates a testing center to aid in course placement.
“We are the foundation of everything this university is to become,” Wooden said. An essential part of the College’s mission, he said, is to build partnerships with academic departments throughout the university, and to provide freshmen and sophomores with access and exposure to the departments of their majors. “We want the
m to develop connections and relationships,” he said, “and we serve as a bridge to do this.”
Before coming to NCCU, Wooden served from 2004 to 2008 as director of an honors program and academic success initiatives at Albany State, his alma mater. Now, he said, students he advised and mentored are beginning their professional lives and earning advanced degrees.
“I see my own story in many of the students who come through here now,” he said. “At University College, we see service as central to who we are — and in turn, it’s what we do.”