Scott Ralls

President, Northern Virginia Community College


Scott Ralls is the President of Northern Virginia Community College, or NOVA as it is commonly called. With over 70,000 degree students and 20,000 workforce students, NOVA is ranked the 14th largest and the 9th most diverse college or university in the United States. NOVA is nationally recognized for its efforts to foster socio-economic mobility, a focus that Dr. Ralls has attempted to accelerate through the college’s strategic plan, Pathway to the American Dream. Recently NOVA partnered with George Mason University to initiate ADVANCE, a seamless transfer/joint admissions model that the Washington Post has said could “revolutionize the transfer process.”
Today NOVA awards more IT associates degrees than any community college in the nation, and has been ranked the most digital community college in the United States. Under Dr. Ralls’ leadership, NOVA is taking significant steps to further its impact in technology-focused workforce development including developing one of the largest and fastest growing cybersecurity programs in the nation and supporting the first apprenticeship program for Amazon Web Services on the East Coast. In 2017, Dr. Ralls was named one of the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 regional leaders, and was one of three speakers to testify on cybersecurity workforce development before a special joint hearing of the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Education and Workforce Development and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection.
In May 2016, Dr. Ralls was named President Emeritus of the North Carolina Community College System after a previous 20-year career that included roles as State System President, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development, and President of Craven Community College. During his leadership tenure, North Carolina gained national recognition for innovating student success efforts at a statewide scale, and Dr. Ralls was a pioneering leader in the state’s efforts to revamp statewide university articulation agreements and high school dual enrollment models, implement Early College High Schools, and change  funding and curriculum structures to advance STEM and technical education. Today, North Carolina hosts approximately one-third of the early colleges in the U.S. and is seen as a national leader in technical education.
Dr. Ralls currently serves as the Co-chair for the Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success, a national effort sponsored by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to advance state policy improvements that promote program completion for community college students.