SMU Provost Steve Currall has named Ebonii Nelson as Interim Assistant Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention effective July 1, 2016. Nelson previously served as Assistant Director of Student Success at SMU.
In her duties as interim assistant provost, Nelson will further propel SMU’s initiatives focused on student success, retention and outreach to at-risk students.
“Ebonii Nelson’s skills and experience are ideally suited to continue advancing SMU’s commitment to students’ academic success,” said Dr. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As an SMU alumna, and former Assistant Director of Student Success at SMU, Ebonii has deep knowledge of the innovative programs that the University has developed to ensure that our students flourish in the classroom and make timely progress toward completion of their degrees. I have every confidence that Ebonii will be an outstanding steward of SMU’s commitment to academic achievement of our students.”
The Assistant Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention oversees one of SMU’s signature programs to support and retain students, the Rotunda Academic Scholars Program. The office provides targeted academic advising, weekly review sessions in key gateway courses, peer counseling and mentoring, collaborative learning workshops and extracurricular learning enhancement experiences involving service and civic engagement to enhance Scholars’ overall marketability for “world-changing” careers.
“As SMU continues to prioritize student retention and overall success, I am enthusiastic and privileged to join Provost Currall and his team to further strengthen this important work,” said Nelson. “I believe my knowledge of SMU culture as an alumna, and previous experience as a professional in both student affairs and academic affairs, will equip me to maintain and enhance the campus relationships, policies and practices that support our amazing students.”
Nelson previously served as an academic adviser with the University Advising Center, where she developed the Peer Academic Leader Program and supported the men’s and women’s basketball and swimming and diving teams. She has held previous positions at the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Gainesville State College, Texas Woman’s University and the University of Georgia.
Nelson graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in Spanish, sociology and women’s studies. She earned a master’s degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia and is currently earning a master’s in counseling at SMU.