Michelle Howard-Vital named Interim Chancellor at WSSU
Michelle Howard-Vital, associate vice president for academic affairs for the 16-campus University of North Carolina, has been named interim chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. The appointment, effective July 17, was made by UNC President Erskine Bowles. Howard-Vital, who is being introduced to the WSSU community by campus leaders and trustees this morning, will succeed Harold Martin, who is stepping down as WSSU chancellor to become UNC senior vice president for academic affairs.
“Given her extensive administrative experience, knowledge of our University and state, and demonstrated integrity, I am confident that Dr. Howard-Vital will do a fine job in leading WSSU during the search for a permanent chancellor.” President Bowles said in announcing the appointment. “I am grateful that she has accepted this important assignment.”
A native of Chicago, Howard-Vital holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English language and literature from the University of Chicago, as well as a doctorate in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As UNC associate vice president, she has worked on a team responsible for program planning and coordination across the 16 campuses and provided guidance to post-secondary institutions seeking state licensure for degree programs, among other duties. Prior to joining the staff of UNC General Administration in 2003, Howard-Vital served for nearly a decade as vice chancellor for public service and continuing studies and associate provost at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she created and delivered online professional development programs and initiated a new fund-raising system, among other accomplishments. Earlier in her career, she had served as associate vice president for academic programs and dean of the university college at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, and as dean of continuing education and non-traditional programs at Chicago State University.
“Michelle’s expertise is a perfect fit to lead our next chapter of growth, while advancing the goals set forth in our strategic plan,” said Kevin Myatt, chairman of the WSSU Board of Trustees. “Among other great qualities, her successful experience as dean of continuing education programs and dean of a ‘university college’—both critical initiatives at our institution—will bring valuable insights as we expand learning opportunities for nontraditional students and strengthen the foundational education for undergraduates.”
For the immediate future, Howard-Vital plans to continue executing WSSU’s strategic plan, under which enrollment has nearly doubled over the past six years, to more than 5,500; freshman SAT scores have climbed nearly 70 points; and the campus has been transformed through a $45-million building program made possible by the 2000 Higher Education Bond Program, as well as other investments in capital construction and renovation. Last month, the campus announced the formation of its University College, a program to provide individual assistance to first-year students, helping them make a smoother adjustment to campus life and their new learning environment.
“WSSU’s leadership, faculty, and staff have charted a clear path forward and made tremendous progress establishing the school as a premier national university with recognized centers of excellence in health services, science and technology, teacher education, and financial services,” said Howard-Vital. “I look forward to maintaining the momentum, while lending my talents to drive further advancements in academic quality, particularly in our University College, graduate studies and research, and non-traditional programs.”
The co-author of a text on educational leadership and the author and/or co-author of numerous articles, reviews, professional presentation, and grants, Howard-Vital has served on the NC State Board of Education since 2001. She also has participated in the development of North Carolina’s first virtual high school and is completing a three-year term on the Specialty Studies Board of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. She has received numerous awards from educational and public service organizations, including the Alumni of the Year Award from the School of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and recognition as one of the most notable alumni of the University of Chicago.
Howard-Vital and her husband, Geri R. Vital, have one daughter, Madelyn.