Originally from Oklahoma, Erica Woodley was recruited to join Tulane University in 2003, where she first made New Orleans her city of residence. Initially, she wasn’t sure she would connect with this new and eccentric city, but then she truly fell in love with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina—she recognized a kindred spirit of resilience. An active volunteer across many organizations, Erica connected deeply with the mission of the YLC, and especially enjoyed serving as one of the founding project leaders for “Wednesdays at the Square.” Erica continued to be involved with the YLC, culminating with serving two terms on the Board of Directors.
In parallel with her YLC career, she was also progressing through different roles in her professional life. As time went on, Erica found her professional niche—she encourages and challenges the students of Tulane as they grow into engaged global citizens who contribute to the world. At times this has included supporting students and their families through the unimaginable and heartbreaking things that life throws at us, with her most recent focus being the COVID-19 pandemic. During this crisis, Tulane was one of the only universities in the country to successfully conduct an in-person learning experience. Erica’s innovative spirit and endurance were tested like never before, but in the process, she’s gained professional satisfaction by tapping into the uniquely New Orleans spirit of community resilience.
Currently, Erica serves as the Dean of Students. During her tenure, Erica has not only led efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but has taken leadership roles in crafting the university’s response to Hurricane Katrina, developing and expanding the Office of Case Management & Victim Support Services, and working on the creation of the Higher Education Case Manager Association (the national organization for the development of Case Management programs on college campuses.) On a personal note, she is passionate about access to quality mental health services and education for all citizens, and she lives with her little dog, Lulu, in Gentilly.