Dr. Ryan Wilson, a Clay County native and three-time graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, has been named Director of Regional Programming at EKU.
Most recently, Wilson served as Program Director of Student Success for the University’s College of Education, leading the College’s undergraduate advising, retention, recruitment and marketing efforts. Under his leadership, the freshman fall-to-fall retention rate increased 5.2 percent in two years.
“EKU’s Engagement and Regional Stewardship team is excited to welcome Dr. Wilson as our Director of Regional Programming,” said David McFaddin, Executive Director for Engagement and Regional Stewardship. “He is a leader with great integrity, intelligence and energy. Ryan brings a commitment to our region and a passion for students that is unmatched. His leadership within the institution and throughout the region will be critical in helping Eastern continue to be a premier university, dedicated to student engagement and success."
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in public relations and master’s degree in sports administration, Wilson completed a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies from EKU in 2013. His doctoral dissertation, “The Effect of a Student Support Services Program on Academic Success at an Appalachian Comprehensive University,” examined the effect of the NOVA program, a support program at EKU, on academic success for first-generation and low-income college students.
“I have a vested interest in EKU’s service region,” Wilson said. “I grew up in Manchester, and my family and many friends live there. I completed my freshman year at the EKU Manchester campus so I know what it is like to be a student at a regional campus. My experience working with the academic colleges on campus and our partners at the KCTCS campuses helps me to understand the challenges and opportunities. My ability to build and maintain relationships will be beneficial as we work to increase academic programming and build upon student success at our regional campuses.”
In his new position, Wilson will serve as the Richmond campus liaison for the regional campuses and collaborate with academic and student success departments to manage and coordinate all educational programming for the regional campuses. He will also work to develop and implement student success and retention programs for regional campus students.
“I worked extensively with faculty in my previous position and I love working with faculty and administration,” he said. “The opportunity to work with the deans, department chairs and faculty is one of my roles that excites me the most. I’m also excited to develop systems and processes that will positively impact academic and student success at our regional campuses.”
Wilson looks back to his own days as an EKU student for inspiration.
“When I was a student at EKU, I had faculty and staff who truly cared about me and my success,” Wilson said. “That is who EKU is. We care about students. I always tell parents that I will extend the same level of care to their son or daughter that I would to my own child, and I sincerely mean that when I make that promise. Our team will do a lot of listening as we work with communities in our region to determine what EKU can do to have a positive impact on their community. Change will not happen immediately, but we will strive to be the best at serving students, communities and our region.”
Wilson’s wife, Stephanie, also an EKU graduate, teaches art at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester. They reside in Richmond with their two-year-old daughter, Scarlett.