Elwood L. Robinson
A native of Ivanhoe, North Carolina, Dr. Elwood L. Robinson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in 1978 with a degree in psychology and then earned a master’s degree in the field from Fisk University in Tennessee. After completing a pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center – performing rotations in neuropsychology, psychiatric inpatient and behavioral medicine and health psychology – he began his doctoral work in clinical psychology at Penn State where he earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1986.
Dr. Robinson joined the faculty at 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. From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Robinson also served as chair of NCCU’s Psychology Department. In 2006, he was named founding dean of the NCCU College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. During his time at NCCU, Dr. Robinson mentored more than 100 MARC scholars with more than 80 percent attending graduate school and 40 percent achieving doctoral degrees. He also instituted a clinical psychology master’s degree program, developed a faculty development program, increased external funding, and improved graduation rates for psychology majors by 25 percent. As dean, he generated more than $15 million in external funding, oversaw the accreditation of 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.
In 2012, Dr. Robinson left North Carolina for the role of provost and vice president of Cambridge College in 2012. While there, he was responsible for forging the first private/state partnership in New England between Cambridge College and Granite State College in New Hampshire to offer online programs.
Dr. Robinson is currently the 13th Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University – a position he has held since Jan. 1, 2015. As the chief executive officer of WSSU, he has overseen the development of an ambitious strategic plan that sets a course for the university to be recognized as a leader in educating students who thrive in a dynamic society. During the 2017-2018 academic year, nearly half of the university’s undergraduate student population engaged in high-impact practices, such as internships, faculty-mentored research projects, or study abroad experiences.
Dr. Robinson’s thought-leadership in the area of social mobility has not gone unnoticed. WSSU has been one of only four universities in the nation to reach the Top 20 on CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index for four consecutive years. Additionally, in 2017 the university was named a Social Mobility Innovator by CollegeNet.
Further, during his time as Chancellor, WSSU has seen a nearly 17 percent increase in the number of applications received from first-time freshmen and improved graduation rates by 8.9%. Meanwhile, undergraduate degree efficiency increased by 5.8%, making WSSU one of the most efficient universities in the UNC System. Additionally, under his watch the university’s endowment exceeded $40 million for the first time in its history.
During Dr. Robinson’s tenure, Winston-Salem State University secured approval and funding for more than $75 million in capital projects, including a new freshman living-learning community, a sciences building, and a new commuter parking lot. His career at WSSU was also notable for securing a $3 million grant to launch the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility.
Active in professional and civic organizations, Dr. 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), the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2012), Penn State’s Most Outstanding Alumni (2018), and the L. Richardson Preyer Alumni Award (2018). 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.
Dr. 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 Agricultural and Technical State University and school teacher living in Charleston, South Carolina; and Devin, a student at North Carolina A&T State University.