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New ACTC Dean Remembers Ashland

Steven Woodburn, the new Dean of Student Services at Ashland Community and Technical College, has experienced community colleges as a student, an instructor and an administrator.

“I am honored to be selected as the next Dean of Student Services at ACTC,” Woodburn said. “It will be a challenge that I will embrace every morning.  I am excited to follow in the steps of Dean Willie McCullough and to work with President Kay Adkins and the entire team and community at ACTC.”

A West Virginia native, he attended West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) for a year before transferring to Marshall University for a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education and a Master’s in Communication Studies.  He is now working on an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at West Virginia University.

As a student at WVNCC, he was like the many ACTC students who see a community college as their stepping stone to the future. As Dean of Student Services, he sees his role as important in helping students start at the college and accomplish their academic goals.

“In a way, student service is the foundation for student success,” Woodburn said. “How we work with potential students, how we treat them, and most importantly how we engage and empower them, will have great impact on the likelihood of their completion of a college program.

As a faculty member at Ashland Community College (ACC), an ACTC predecessor, in 1996-1997 and later at WVNCC, he experienced a community college from a teaching point of view.

“ACC was my introduction to how the culture and environment at a community college are different from a four year institution,” he said.  “I saw how the faculty went out of their way to help students.  I heard the stories from the students about how flexible their instructors were.” 

“Also, everyone at the college was so nice and welcoming.  It was an environment that I knew I wanted to work full time in.  It was that year at Ashland that I decided I wanted to work in higher education as a full time career and preferably at a community college.”

As an Administrator, Woodburn has been involved with supervising admissions, financial aid, records and registration, recruitment, enrollment, counseling, orientation, student activities, testing, and transfer and career services.

“In my previous administrative positions, I was involved in formulating policy and processes, he said.  “It helps me to remember how those procedures affected me as a student and as a faculty member.  I would like to be able to coordinate student services in a way that improves the college experience for students as well as for faculty and staff.”

Woodburn has 13 years of experience in higher education administration and nearly that many years of experience in teaching college speech and communications as an adjunct instructor.

 “I continued to teach because I love teaching and because it helps me understand the faculty perspective,” he said. “Sometimes we are asking faculty to do something different, and this can take up precious teaching time.  Teaching gave me the opportunity to see how a new process affects faculty members.” 

While teaching part time, Woodburn continued to build his administrative career as Assistant Provost and Associate Director of Admissions, Director of Academic Support Services, Associate Dean of Curriculum and Student Development and  Campus Dean. 

His latest position was Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management at College of The Albemarle in Elizabeth City, NC. At that college, he created and implemented a Strategic Enrollment Plan, wrote and implemented a new Student Code of Conduct, implemented group advising and mandatory orientation, and streamlined admissions registration and financial aid.

In his new position at ACTC, Woodburn will focus on outreach, recruitment, retention, transfer and graduation.  His responsibilities include management of admissions and records, recruiting, advising, diversity, disability services, career planning, student activities, veteran’s services, and student related grant programs

In addition to the excitement of working in his new position, Woodburn is pleased to be returning to an area close to his roots.

“I grew up in the Northern Panhandle of WV near Wheeling,” he said. “My parents, brother, and most of my other relatives still reside in that area. I also lived in Huntington, which I loved greatly, and in Parkersburg, where my children still live. I’m happy to be close to West Virginia and back in Ashland where my life goal took shape.”

Woodburn started in his new position August 1, and he has offices at both the College Drive and Technology Drive Campuses. He replaces Dean Willie McCullough who has moved into a new position as Dean of Resource Development & External Affairs.