East Mississippi Community College is pleased to announce that Dr. Nikita L. Ashford-Ashworth is joining the college as the district director of advising, retention and student success.
Ashford-Ashworth’s primary responsibilities will be to direct and coordinate academic advising for students across all campuses while promoting student success and enhancing institutional retention efforts. She will work with the enrollment management, student affairs and instructional departments to review and grow retention and student success initiatives with the goal of improving student experiences and outcomes.
“I am excited about the transition,” Ashford-Ashworth said. “My first priority will be to get an understanding of how everything works at EMCC and see where we can make improvements. We want to go from being transactional to relational and proactive in our advising. We also want to develop a college-wide retention strategy that promotes student success.”
Her first day of work on campus will be April 6. She will divide her time between the college’s Golden Triangle and Scooba campuses.
“We are excited to have someone of Dr. Ashford-Ashworth’s caliber join our EMCC family,” Vice President of Instruction Dr. James Rush said. “We believe her experience and active involvement with national academic advising and retention associations is invaluable and she will be transformational in leading EMCC in approving academic advising practices, cultivating student success and growing retention efforts.”
Among other things, Ashford-Ashworth is a member of the Global Community for Academic Advising, the National Academic Advising Association and the Association for Student Conduct Administration.
She has a long history in higher education, most recently serving as the director of advising and academic support at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, where she has worked in various roles, including that of interim vice president of student affairs and enrollment management and director of student activities, to name a couple.
She began working at Southwest Tennessee Community College in 1992, which was known at that time as State Technical Institute. She was first hired as a statistical analyst and segued into other positions, including that of job developer, financial aid counselor and director of student activities and alumni affairs. She has also taught classes at the college and served on numerous committees as both a member and a chairperson.
She worked there until 2001, when she accepted a position in the admissions office at Antonelli College, where she also worked as the director of student services/registrar.
In 2008, Ashford-Ashworth returned to Southwest Tennessee Community College.
She was twice named the college’s Vice President’s Award of Excellence recipient. Other awards and honors she garnered include the 2015 Annual International Women’s Leadership Award and the Antonelli College Employee of the Year, to name a couple.
Ashford-Ashworth earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State University; a Master of Business Administration from Belhaven College; and a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership at the University of Phoenix. She also completed 18 credit hours in education at the University of Memphis.
She and her husband, Edward M. Ashworth, enjoy traveling, sight-seeing and spending time with family.
Ashford-Ashworth, who is a graduate of Starkville High School, still has family in the area and her brother, nephews and uncle are graduates of EMCC.
“This will be like a homecoming for me,” she said.