Woody Pelton

Dean of Global Studies and Assistant Professor
Global Commons 304
2375 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
wpelton@elon.edu (336) 278-6700

Brief Biography

Woody Pelton has been the Dean of Global Studies at Elon University in North Carolina, since 2009.   In that capacity he directs the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, which supervises the inbound International students, faculty & scholars, outbound education abroad, Study USA and international programming on campus.   Prior to working at Elon Woody was the Director of the International Center at Winthrop University (2006-09) and Special Assistant to the President for International Programs at Saginaw Valley State University from 1992- 2006.


Before moving into Higher Education, Woody worked as an attorney in Washington, DC from 1984 – 1992, practicing in international trade, immigration, antitrust & litigation.


With his wife, Chris, Woody worked as an education advisor for the UN High Commission for Refugees serving the Vietnamese Boat People in a refugee camp off the cost of Malaysia.   Prior to that they had served as Peace Corps Volunteers (ESL instructors) in Morocco.  


George Washington University’s National Law Center (1981-84)

Juris Doctorate, with honors, May 1984

Articles Editor, Journal of International Law & Economics


University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (1971-77)

Master of Arts, Student Personnel Services in Higher Education, May 1977

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, May 1975

Employment History

2009 – present Dean of Global Studies, Elon University.   At Elon University I am responsible for the activities of the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, which handles inbound international students, faculty and scholars, opportunities abroad for students, faculty and staff, Study USA, the El Centro program, and all international exchange activity.

2006 – 2009    Director of The International Center of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina.  In this capacity I was responsible for all international activity on campus and had a leadership role in expanding the global competency and awareness of the University faculty, staff and students.   

1992-2006       Special Assistant to the President for International Programs, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, Michigan.  Responsible for all international activities on campus. 

1986-1992       Attorney for Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan in Washington, DC, 130+ office of a 250-person firm.  I practiced international trade, immigration, antitrust & litigation.

1984-1986       Attorney practicing international trade for Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, Washington, DC

1980-1981       U.N High Commission for Refugees Volunteer in Malaysia; Education Advisor developing an education program in a refugee camp for Vietnamese Boat People.

1978-1980       Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco; teacher in local high school

Professional Activities

Member, Academic Consortium Board, Council for International Education and Exchange (CIEE)

Member of NAFSA - Association of International Educators since 1992

            NAFSA’s Paul Simon Award Selection Committee – 2012 and 2013

            Local Arrangements co-chair – NAFSA Region V,  2008

External Evaluator of International Programs at St. Olaf College, 2012

Member, AIEA – Association of International Education Administrators

Past-Chair, Midwest Consortium for Study Abroad (1996-97)

Elon faculty and staff may log in to add more detail to their profile.