C. Nelms
“Instead of teaching content, we need to teach people. There’s a difference”

Dr. Charlie Nelms’ resume:
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Charlie Nelms, Ed.D, is a transformational servant-leader, a motivational speaker, and a consultant with expertise in higher education. He has more than 40 years of experience and leadership in student access, retention, and graduation; institutional effectiveness; and strategic planning. The former chancellor of universities in North Carolina, Indiana, and Michigan, Dr. Nelms serves as a board member for leading educational associations and foundations across the U.S. He is currently a senior scholar at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, providing leadership in assisting minority-serving institutions. Dr. Nelms has also been a consultant for a wide range of higher education organizations.

Dr. Nelms is the recipient of numerous awards for his accomplishments in higher education, including two honorary doctorates and fellowships from the American Council on Education and the Ford Foundation. In 2012, President Obama honored Dr. Nelms with the MLK Drum Major for Service Award for helping to address the most pressing needs in our communities and our nation. Dr. Nelms is a founding member of the Millennium Leadership Initiative and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. During his tenure as chancellor of North Carolina Central University, U.S. News & World Report ranked NCCU as one of the best public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation for three consecutive years. Dr. Nelms is the founder and director of the Destination Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase retention and graduation rates at HBCUs. In 2011, Dr. Nelms published, A Call to Action, a policy directive intended to spur a national dialogue concerning the revitalization of HBCUs as an important sector of American higher education. Upon retiring as the tenth chancellor of North Carolina Central University in August 2012, Dr. Nelms established the Destination Graduation Initiative (DGI) to assist Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with increasing retention and graduation rates. The central dimension of DGI entailed utilizing the expertise of senior higher education officials, policy experts, and faculty to identify impediments to student academic success and to design strategies for improvement. DGI associates served as coaches to ensure implementation of recommended strategies. In 2013, Dr. Nelms and a colleague received a grant, Leading to Completion (L2C), to design protocols, processes, and procedures to assist Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with increasing retention and graduation rates.

Charlie Nelms

Nelms & Associates

Nelms & Associates was established by Dr. Nelms in May 2015. It is a comprehensive higher education firm providing consulting services in:

  • Leadership & Institutional Effectiveness
  • Strategic Planning & Academic Program Review
  • Enrollment Management & Student Success
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Strategic Communications

For more information, please email Nelms & Associates.



NCCU Chancellor Highlights of Accomplishments

  • Raised the standards for undergraduate admissions and progression. The average GPA of freshmen in 2007 was 2.7. By 2012, it was 3.2.
  • Established the Centennial Scholars program to enhance the retention and graduation of black male students.
  • Guided the establishment of the first and only Ph.D. program to be offered on campus in 50 years.
  • Achieved specialized accreditation in six programs including membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). NCCU was only the third law school at a historically black university to join the association.