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WVNCC Names New President

Posted 12/18/14


Dr. Vicki L. Riley, of Wheeling, has been named the new president of West Virginia Northern Community College.

Currently the vice president of academic affairs at WVNCC, Riley was confirmed as the institution’s president today by the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, meeting in Charleston. She replaces the retiring Dr. Martin J. Olshinsky who has been president of Northern since August of 2005. Her presidency begins Jan. 6.

The announcement was made by Dr. Darrell Cummings, chairman of the WVNCC Board of Governors, who said, “We are pleased that Dr. Riley, with her more than 30 years of experience in community college education, will become Northern’s new leader. The depth of her knowledge and strength of her commitment to community colleges is truly outstanding.”

Cummings had further praise for the presidential search committee, which began its work after a nationwide effort was launched in June of this year to identify candidates for the position. Representatives of all components of the college community were named to the 14-member committee, and Cummings said, “The presidential search was thorough, enlightening and comprehensive. Committee members were conscientious and meticulous and deserve thanks for their contributions.”

Riley joined West Virginia Northern in January of 2008 as its chief academic officer. In that position at WVNCC, Riley expanded allied health programs and enrollment and expanded online course offerings, coordinating the implementation of five degree programs that can be earned totally online. Also, she created an online high school dual credit option. She has taught online courses for Northern as well.

In addition, Riley worked to expand articulation agreements with four-year institutions in the region, implemented a “Developmental Fast Track” program to reduce the number of students requiring developmental education and to increase retention and revised developmental education and math curricula to enhance student degree completion. She developed and revised academic and faculty policies and also managed more than $3.7 million in external project funding.

Prior to joining Northern, in 2006-07 Riley was special assistant to the chancellor for the community and technical college council in Charleston where she developed a statewide leadership and professional development model for the community college system.

From 2000-06, Riley resided in Huntington when she served as provost/CEO, and later as president of the Marshall Community and Technical College (now Mountwest) where she successfully implemented the charge of West Virginia legislation requiring all component community colleges to become separately accredited institutions in the state. From 1995-2000, Riley worked at Fairmont, W.Va., State Community and Technical College (now Pierpont) where she was assistant provost, interim provost and provost.

The native of Virginia worked at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va., where she was director of student services, interim dean of instruction and student services and counselor/special needs assistant, from 1989-95. She began her long history with two-year colleges as a counselor/tutor coordinator at Dabney Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, Va., from 1984-88.

Riley has to her credit dozens of academic/institutional presentations throughout her career, appeared in print in numerous publications and oversaw implementation of millions of dollars’ worth of internal and external grants as well as many teaching assignments.

She received her doctor of education degree in higher education administration from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1994. She graduated magna cum laude in 1986 from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., with an education specialist degree in counseling psychology; graduated magna cum laude with a master’s degree in counseling psychology from James Madison in 1984; received her bachelor of science degree in psychology with a public administration minor from James Madison (magna cum laude) in 1983 and attended Berea, Ky., College from 1979-81.

The new president resides on Oak Park Avenue in Wheeling with her husband, Richard McCray, a retired college administrator.