Dr. Erika Goodwin will bring years of experience as a member of Wilmington College’s faculty and senior administration when she assumes the role of interim president this summer. She will be the college’s first female president.
The WC Board of Trustees this week named Goodwin president on an interim basis upon the June 30 departure of current President Jim Reynolds, who has served in the top administrative role for the past eight and a half years. Reynolds announced his decision earlier this month to become the next president at Millikin University in his hometown of Decatur, Ill.
Peggy Sturdivant, chair of the board of trustees, made the announcement, noting Goodwin, a highly respected member of the college community for many years, has been closely involved with the college’s day-to-day operation while also leading the academics area and heading a number of strategic initiatives.
“We are pleased that Erika has agreed to step into this role for her alma mater and all of us look forward to working with her to continue the good work that is taking place at WC,” Sturdivant said.
Goodwin currently is serving as interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, vice president for strategic initiatives and a tenured professor of athletic training/sport sciences. She is a 1995 graduate of Wilmington College in athletic training who went on to earn a master of arts degree from Wright State University in physical education with a focus in athletic training and anatomy. She also has a Ph.D. from Union Institute and University in higher education administration with an interdisciplinary component in athletic training.
She is determined that the college, which has gained great momentum in recent years, will continue to move forward — rather than hitting the “pause” button — during this period in which the institution searches for its permanent president.
“My close working relationship with President Jim Reynolds over the last 12 years will make this presidency an easy transition,” she said, noting her 25-year history with the college, which includes being an alumna with a local upbringing, also helps “continue the continuity and build on the momentum” experienced under Reynolds’ leadership.
“Our focus will continue to be the goals of current strategic plan,” Goodwin said in listing those priorities of: developing new academic and co-curricular programs that are consistent with WC’s mission and values as a Quaker institution; enrollment, retention and marketing strategies; fundraising; fiscal stability; implementing the new campus master plan; growing the external programs in Cincinnati; continuing the work of the Title III grant for student retention; and to cultivate, retain, reward and develop professional faculty and staff committed to student learning and educational quality.
Goodwin’s diverse educational and experiential background has allowed her to teach a variety of courses since 1995 in the athletic training, agriculture and biology departments. She was the college’s first female head athletic trainer. Goodwin entered WC’s academic administration in 2008 as the associate vice president for academic affairs and, upon Reynolds’ move to the presidency, she became the interim VP for academic affairs in 2011 and was named the vice president and dean of faculty in 2013.
In recent years, Goodwin has managed the development and tracking of the college’s current strategic plan and its successful Higher Learning Commission (HLC) re-accreditation. She serves as the college’s liaison officer with the HLC and is a peer reviewer engaged in consulting and evaluation visits to other campuses in the 19-state, Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission region.
Goodwin is a native of the Wilmington area with numerous local connections. She served for 25 years as 4-H club adviser to the Clinton County 4-H Horse program and is a current member of the Laurel Oaks Business and Industry Advisory Council for its Equine Science and Management Program. A 2010 member of the Leadership Clinton graduation class, she also served on the board of directors of the Clinton County Free Clinic from 2010 through 2015. In addition, Goodwin is a 2015 inductee into Outstanding Women of Clinton County.
Goodwin will be not only the college’s first female president but the first Wilmington College graduate to serve as president since Robert Lucas, a member of the class of 1937, who was president from 1975 to 1982. She and her husband, Bradley, are the parents of two daughters, Grace and Emily. They are members of St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Wilmington.
Goodwin spoke of the “honor and privilege” of working under Reynolds, both when he was vice president for academic affairs from 2007 through 2011 and during his presidency.
“He has not only been a great mentor but become a good friend,” Goodwin said, noting how she will miss him and his wife, Sue, after their summer departure.
“I am very happy he is going back to his hometown of Decatur to assume the presidency at Millikin University. There is something to be said about going back to your roots and remembering where you came from,” she added. “That’s what makes me so passionate about being here at Wilmington College – these are my roots.
“It’s always been more than just a job, it’s a calling — and it’s profoundly meaningful to work here at WC and in the higher education setting.”
Submitted by Randall Sarvis, senior director of public relations, Wilmington College.