Office Hours with John Gardner featuring Farrah Ward

Episode 88- The Heart of Innovation

Office Hours with John Gardner

Farrah Ward discusses her work on an NC Promise Campus and how administration becomes a part of campus life. She shares the achievement that sparked the innovator within and essential advice for becoming an authentic, mission-driven innovator. Listen to how her perspective on skills such as storytelling has evolved to address changes and challenges at her institution.

Farrah Jackson Ward, Ph.D. is the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU).  She received her B.S. in mathematics education from North Carolina A&T State University and MS and PhD degrees in mathematics from North Carolina State University.  Dr. Ward holds a post graduate Certificate in Academic Leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is a graduate of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Initiative. She taught at the University of North Carolina Wilmington before joining the faculty at ECSU in 2007.  Dr. Ward was appointed Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and served in that role for 6 years before being named Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in 2016. She served as interim Provost from 2018 – 2019 and was appointed Provost in 2019. 

Under the leadership of Dr. Ward, ECSU ranked in the top ten nationally for graduating the largest number of African Americans with undergraduate degrees in mathematics.  ECSU was also ranked under her leadership as the #1 institution in the nation for graduating the largest number of African Americans with master’s degrees in mathematics.  Her expertise in addressing educational barriers for STEM undergraduate and graduate students led to the successful acquisition of more than $5 million in external funding from the National Science Foundation and Department of Education.  She has created several initiatives aimed at improving student success including the implementation of EAB’s Navigate, a restructuring of ECSU’s academic advising services, and a campus-wide reduction in the number of credits required for graduation from an average of 128 credits to 120 credits.  In partnership with the John Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Ward led the Foundations of Excellence (FoE) project which created a comprehensive plan targeting improvements to the first-year experience. She is strategic in developing programs to enhance student success and because of her leadership as Provost, ECSU has experienced a 5.6% increase in freshman retention and a 21% increase in enrollment.

Dr. Ward is widely recognized for her work in student success and higher education administration and has been invited as a featured speaker by a variety of organizations such as the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), AASCU, Interfolio, and EAB.

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