Ontario Wooden


Ontario S. Wooden serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Academic Outreach the Division of Academic Affairs at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).  His responsibilities include the University Honors Program, the Office of Community Engagement and Service, the Center for Science, Math & Technology Education, and the Office of International Affairs.  Dr. Wooden also provides leadership for student grievances and appeals, parent relations, Memoranda of Understanding, University Conference, and other academic success initiatives.

Prior to this role, he served as Dean of University College at NCCU, where he was responsible for the retention and progression of 3000 first-year, second year, and transfer students. He ensured that students were provided a quality, comprehensive experience that promoted student learning and academic success. Under his leadership, first-to-second year student retention increased over 12%.  Before being named Dean, he served as Associate Dean. Prior to joining NCCU, University, Dr. Wooden served at Albany State University (GA) and Indiana University Bloomington in a number of faculty, staff, and research roles.


With research interests in urban schooling, teacher preparation, college access and choice, higher education policy and finance, and multiculturalism and diversity in higher education, Dr. Wooden finds time to remain active in academic and scholarly endeavors. He has published over 20 papers and book chapters, has presented at dozens of national conferences and meetings, and has secured over $4 million dollars in extramural funding to support student success initiatives.


Dr. Wooden is currently co-principal investigator on grants from both the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. The grants are directed at increasing the level of self-regulated learning amongst first and second year STEM majors with an expected outcome of increased degree production in these areas. Wooden is also a member of a two-year Technical Working Group with the U.S. Department of Education focused on advancing equity in career and technical education. Wooden is an affiliate of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the editorial boards for the Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education and the Journal of Access, Retention and Inclusion in Higher Education, the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Durham, NC, and the Board of Directors for AMIKids NC. 

Dr. Wooden was selected by the National Conference on The First-Year Experience as one of five national semifinalists for the Outstanding Student Advocate Award. He was also selected by The Albany Herald as one of the Top 40 Under Forty in Southwest Georgia and was named in Georgia Trend Magazine as one of Georgia’s 40 Under 40.  In 2012, he was named an Outstanding Student Advocate on the campus of North Carolina Central University.


Dr. Wooden graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Albany State University (GA). He earned a M.S. in Higher Education, a post-master’s certificate in Institutional Research, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education with a minor in African American and African Diaspora studies from Indiana University Bloomington.