Matt Wood Appointed WMCC President
Berlin – Matt Wood, who has been serving as interim president of White Mountains Community College (WMCC) since July 2014, was formally appointed the college’s president by the board of trustees at its meeting today.
“After a very successful year in the position as interim president, and following an evaluation that included input from a broad spectrum of the college community and stakeholders, I am very pleased to recommend the formal appointment of Matt Wood to the position of WMCC president,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of the community college system of NH.
The board unanimously confirmed Wood.
Under Wood’s leadership, WMCC has reversed a three-year enrollment decline and this fall is seeing a 15 percent growth in credits sold over the previous fall. He has worked with faculty to develop seven fully online programs including health and wellness, accounting, criminal justice and business administration and created new offerings in library technology and autism education, to join the college’s existing array of programs. He also worked with board and system leadership to retain the mobile equipment technology program at WMCC, after discussions to relocate it to a campus further south.
Wood also confronted challenges at WMCC, including staffing levels that the college could not sustain. Personnel reductions made in FY15 were very difficult for the college community, but were needed to bring expenditures in line with revenues. Wood worked to realign staffing to reflect program demand, and made changes to course scheduling to help students maximize their time on campus and bring greater efficiency to teaching schedules. He has worked to build partnership with regional employers, and has initiated “early college” programs at local high schools that help students transition to postsecondary education with college credits already completed.
Wood is a long-time educator who taught math and physics before becoming an associate vice president of academic affairs and associate vice president of non-traditional learning formats at NHTI, Concord’s Community College. Wood seized the opportunity to move to White Mountains Community College due to his love of the North Country and the opportunity to help strengthen the college amidst demographic and economic challenges.
Steve Ellis of Pittsburg, who serves on the CCSNH board of trustees, said he is pleased with what Wood has brought to the college and region. “Matt has been extremely proactive reaching out to high schools in the area and in developing pathways for local students,” said Ellis. “He is very forward-thinking and hands-on, and deeply committed to the success of north country students and the quality of life in the region.”
Chairman of the CCSNH board, Paul Holloway, praised Wood’s impact on WMCC. “I am very pleased to support the chancellor’s recommendation. Matt is a resourceful and strategic leader who brings strong experience and commitment to his role at WMCC.”
“I am honored to be confirmed in the position of president of White Mountains Community College,” said Wood. “Over the last year I have worked closely with a faculty and staff who are extremely dedicated, talented, and passionate about their work with and for students. WMCC is an essential resource for this region and I am absolutely committed to its success.” Wood said that looking forward, he plans to focus on connections with high schools, enrollment management strategies, transfer pathways to four-year colleges, and workforce development.
White Mountains Community College serves approximately 1,000 students annually from its main campus in Berlin, an academic center in Littleton, and through satellite and early college offerings in locations throughout the region. WMCC offers certificate and degree programs, dual enrollment programs with area high schools, workforce training and the WorkReadyNH program to prepare area residents with postsecondary education and career skills. The college was recently ranked in the top 5 community colleges nationally on measures related to access, affordability and student success.
About CCSNH: The Community College System of NH consists of seven colleges, offering associate degree and certificate programs, professional training, transfer pathways to four-year degrees, and dual-credit partnerships with NH high schools. The System’s colleges are Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth and Rochester; Lakes Region Community College in Laconia; Manchester Community College; Nashua Community College; NHTI – Concord’s Community College; River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene; and White Mountains Community College in Berlin and Littleton. Each college is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges-Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Matthew Wood - Bio
Matt Wood was appointed interim President of White Mountains Community College in June 2014.
Matthew Wood earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in environmental conservation from the University of New Hampshire. He then went on to study at the University of Colorado earning a master’s degree in environmental science with a concentration in atmospheric science. After working as a research scientist for the Center for Environmental Sciences in Denver and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Matt returned to his home state to pursue a career in air pollution control with the NH Department of Environmental Services. Matt founded and continues to maintain an ownership interest in NH Environmental Consultants, an environmental consulting firm that services municipalities and homeowners across the state of New Hampshire.
Inspired to educate, Matt began his teaching career at the New Hampton School, a private independent boarding school where he taught physics, coached basketball and golf, and discovered his love for teaching. Matt went on to become a professor of physics and mathematics at NHTI, Concord’s Community College. After just one year, he was elected by his peers to serve as Department Head; a position he held for ten years. Committed to student-centered initiatives, he participated in the establishment of the online mathematics curriculum, serving students who could not travel to campus due to work and family commitments.
In 2009, Matt was elected as the faculty representative to the Institute Leadership Team. The following year, along with several faculty members, he helped reestablish the NHTI Faculty Forum, of which he was elected president and served for a two-year term. In the fall of 2012, he was appointed NHTI’s Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, responsible for all non-traditional learning formats, including online, 8-week, summer, night, Running Start, and workplace training courses. Online learning has increased 36% at NHTI under Matt’s leadership. He is a past recipient of the NHTI Positive Influence Award, and was awarded the Chancellor’s Grant for Innovation in 2013 to develop a flexible hybrid learning approach to developmental math courses. Matt is currently enrolled in a doctorate of education program at New England College.
Believing that all students should have a chance to go to college, regardless of their economic background, Matt is driven to make access to higher education a reality. He understands that the community colleges are positioned perfectly to be the bridge for many students graduating from New Hampshire high schools and is interested in providing access to learning “anytime, anywhere.” He wants to create and provide affordable opportunities for students of all ages to engage in active learning experiences both in and outside of traditional classrooms, allowing the pursuit of higher education while successfully balancing family and work commitments.
Matt was born and raised in Meredith, NH and attended local public schools in the Inter-Lakes School District, where he was a three-sport athlete and still holds the school record in the 4x100m relay. He also attended the Advanced Studies Program majoring in advanced physics at St. Paul’s School. Matt is the third generational owner of a family farm in Meredith. Along with his wife Heather and his daughter Kate, he splits his time between there and his North Country home in Pittsburg, NH. “I didn’t find the North County, the North Country found me,” he says. Matt’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, and playing basketball. He attributes his love of the outdoors to his father, his values to his mother and his appreciation for the state of New Hampshire to his grandfather, former State Senator Carl Johnson of Meredith.