Free comes to Elon from Kentucky State University where she has served as the 4-H State program leader, 4-H specialist and director of the Rosenwald 4-H Youth Development Center for the past five years.
Travella Free, a passionate professional devoted to the success of programs that lift up underrepresented communities, has been selected as the new executive director of Elon University’s Center for Access and Success. Free will begin at Elon on July 1 and brings with her extensive experience in developing and operating programs focused on student success.
Free comes to Elon after serving for the past five years as the 4-H State program leader, 4-H specialist and director of the Rosenwald 4-H Youth Development Center at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. In that role, she has provided leadership and direction for statewide K-12 4-H Youth Development programs for underserved youth.
“Dr. Free clearly has a passion for student success and for ensuring all students have access to the transformational power of higher education,” said Paul Miller, associate provost for academic excellence and operations, and professor of exercise science. “Her extensive experience in lifting up students from underserved populations will be a powerful asset for the Center for Access and Success.”
During her successful career, Free has demonstrated leadership within 4-H programs at the University of Kentucky, N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and Kentucky State University. At Kentucky State, she has managed extension agents and staff to achieve a comprehensive and collaborative statewide 4-H program that positively impacts students and their families, including after-school and summer programs for youth.
During her 14 years as 4-H extension associate at N.C. A&T, Free designed STEM activities supporting agricultural literacy, hosted Farm to School Days at the university’s 492-acre farm, provided instructional strategies and tools for K-12 teachers to implement experiential-based learning activities and collaborated with departments across campus.
“I look forward to building upon the established success of the center’s initiatives, inspiring youth, and supporting students success in college,” Free said.
Free is passionate about advocating for students and providing mentorship to both students and colleagues. She is excited about applying the experience and training she has gained in experiential learning for youth and adults to her work at Elon heading the Center for Access and Success.
The Center for Access and Success is devoted to helping students from all backgrounds gain access to higher education and find success academically, personally and professionally. The center’s initiatives — the It Takes a Village Project, Elon Academy, the Odyssey Program and First-Generation Student Support Services — serve individuals in the university community as well as the surrounding community, from kindergarten all the way into adulthood.
Free holds a doctorate of education in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master’s degree in adult education from N.C. A&T State University and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from the University of Kentucky.
Search Committeee, Executive Director for the Center for Access and Success
- Brandon Sheridan, Assistant Professor of Economics (chair)
- Shaunta Alvarez, Digital Collections and Systems Librarian and Assistant Librarian
- Owen Covington, Assistant Vice President for News and Information
- Marcus Elliott, Director of the Odyssey Scholars Program
- Heidi Hollingsworth, Associate Professor of Education
- Aneshia Jerralds, Associate Director of Residence Life for Operations and Facilities
- John Pickett, Director of the Elon Academy
- Kim Pyne, Associate Professor of English
- Kimberly Romero, Assistant Director of Admissions for Diversity and Access
- Kari Taylor, Deputy Chief of Staff