Dr. Elwood Robinson, WSSU Chancellor
Elwood L. Robinson, Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Cambridge College in Massachusetts since 2012, has been elected Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina. UNC President Tom Ross placed Robinson's name in nomination September 26 during a special meeting of the board, held on the campus of WSSU. Robinson, 58, assumed his new duties January 1, 2015, succeeding Donald J. Reaves, who announced last spring that he would step down as Chancellor on December 31 after eight years in the post.
In recommending Robinson to the Board of Governors, Ross said: "I am thrilled at the opportunity to bring a talented North Carolinian back home. Elwood Robinson is going to be a phenomenal leader for Winston-Salem State University. He brings to the job a real passion for higher education and three decades of progressive leadership experience as a faculty mentor, department chair, dean, and provost. Much of that experience was gained at North Carolina Central University, his alma mater. He is a proven leader who promotes innovation, collaboration and an unwavering commitment to academic excellence and student success. He also understands WSSU's proud history and its potential to play an even larger role in the life of this city and this state, so I am delighted he has agreed to join our leadership team."
Cambridge College is a private, not-for-profit institution offering undergraduate, graduate, professional degree and certificate programs through schools of Undergraduate Studies, Education, Management and Psychology & Counseling. Geared toward working adults, most courses are taught evenings and weekends, with many blending onsite and online components. It enrolls more than 5,000 students across its main Cambridge campus and seven regional academic centers in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, California and Puerto Rico.
Robinson said he was excited about his opportunity to lead WSSU. He added "I did not come here to relax, and I did not come here to survive. I came here to thrive," Robinson said. "I am ready to get to work. Where is my office?" Learn more.
As Cambridge College's chief academic officer, Robinson has advised the president on matters of educational policy and the development of teaching and academic programs. He also has managed the school’s academic planning and program reviews and overseen its regional academic centers. Under his watch, the teacher education program has achieved national accreditation and the College has forged an innovative partnership with Granite State College in New Hampshire to offer online programs — the first private/state partnership of its kind in New England. In addition, the American Council on Education has awarded Cambridge a grant to establish an Innovation and Change Lab designed to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students earning college degrees.
A native of Ivanhoe, NC, Robinson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University in 1978 with a degree in psychology and then earned a master’s degree in the field from Fisk University in Tennessee (1980). After completing a pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center, performing rotations in neuropsychology, psychiatric inpatient and behavioral medicine and health psychology, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University (1986). He later completed his clinical training as a research associate at Duke University Medical Center (1990-1993).
Robinson joined the faculty of NCCU in 1984. In 1993, he was named Director of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program, which provides research training opportunities for students and faculty from minority groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. He directed the federally funded program for the next 11 years, establishing collaborations with several major research universities, expanding course offerings, and mentoring more than 100 MARC Scholars. Remarkably, 80 percent of those scholars entered graduate school and 40 percent have achieved doctoral degrees.
From 1993-1996, Robinson also served as chair of NCCU's Psychology Department. During his three-year term, he instituted a new clinical master’s program, developed a faculty development program, increased external funding, and improved graduation rates by 25 percent. Concurrently, Robinson directed NCCU’s Alcohol Research Center, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. A collaboration with predominantly minority and research-intensive institutions, the center provided support to faculty interested in alcohol-related research.
In 2006, Robinson was named founding Dean of the NCCU College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, where he oversaw nine departments, five centers and over 200 faculty and staff. Over the next six years, he generated over $15 million in federal grants and other external funding, achieved accreditation for 16 programs, established a Department of Social Work, secured funding for a $1-million endowed professorship, and developed a national partnership with the Institute for Homeland Security and the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. He remained in the post until he left North Carolina for Cambridge College in 2012.
Active in professional and civic organizations, Robinson has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career. A former National Institutes of Health Fellow, he has received the Sigma Xi Award (1995), the Omega Psi Phi Founder's Award (2007), an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2003), and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2012). He has served on the boards of the YMCA of the Greater Triangle, the Center for Child and Family Health, and the Uplift Foundation, and has served as a delegate for the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program to China, Egypt and South Africa.
Robinson is married to Denise Robinson, a 1978 NCCU graduate and former elementary school teacher. Together, they have two children: Chanita Robinson Coulter, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and school teacher living in Charleston, SC; and Devin, a student at NCCU.