Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
College Distinguished Service Award
Michelle W. Woodhouse
Michelle W. Woodhouse, provost of Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus, is known for her student-centered approach to higher education and for her willingness to guide and mentor not only TCC students, but also young people in the wider community. As provost, she constantly roams the hallways and classrooms, making sure the students know who she is and that she has an open door. “I’m all over the campus,” she says. “I have high expectations of myself, and I have the same expectations of the students.”
Through her leadership and support of faculty and staff, the campus is thriving with innovation. In 2012, Dr. Woodhouse established “Call to Action,” an initiative embracing faculty, students and staff that is aimed at student success, engagement and service. “We have a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line campus,” she tells students at rallies. “You’re going to love it and respect it and be a leader here, and we’re going to do it together.” As you walk through the buildings, it is apparent the faculty care about students and embrace the “Call to Action” philosophy. The Portsmouth Campus also boasts a successful Student Ambassador program and First Year Success Office, which immediately connects new students to faculty and staff who support them academically.
Dr. Woodhouse became provost of the Portsmouth Campus in 2011 after serving in an interim capacity. Her education career – encouraged by her parents, who are also educators – began when she returned to her alma mater, Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, as a teacher under the mentorship of Principal Harry Blevins.
She rose through K-12 teaching and administrative ranks, and shifted to higher education thanks to another mentor, Dr. Marie V. McDemmond, who at the time was president of Norfolk State University (NSU). Just two months into a new position at NSU, she was tapped by Dr. McDemmond to become director of continuing education and professional studies and director of NSU at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center. One of her proudest achievements at NSU was the creation of the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, an annual event that encourages and motivates women to achieve not only success in education and career, but also mental and physical well-being. The event continues today.
Dr. Woodhouse joined TCC in 2006 as dean of Social Sciences and Public Services at the Portsmouth Campus. She holds a bachelor of science from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master’s in urban education from NSU, and a doctor of education in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. She gives time, talent and energy in numerous civic activities, such as chairing the education committee for the Portsmouth Partnership and serving on the YWCA Executive Board and Portsmouth Public Schools Foundation Board. She teaches in the counseling and education leadership program at NSU.