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May 18, 2021

Ben Coulter Named State Director of WGU North Carolina and Southeast Regional Director

Education leader and military veteran to oversee operations in North Carolina and the Southeast

Ben Coulter, State Director of WGU North Carolina and Southeast Regional Director

DURHAM, N.C.— Western Governors University, an accredited online university, has announced that Ben Coulter, Ed.D., has been named State Director of WGU North Carolina, the university’s local affiliate, and Regional Director for the Southeast. Coulter has more than 27 years of experience in higher education and also served as an officer in the United States Army for 20 years. 

In leading WGU North Carolina, Coulter succeeds former Chancellor Catherine Truitt (currently the State Superintendent of Public Instruction) and will oversee WGU’s operations in the state, focusing on establishing and maintaining relationships with major partners in the corporate, economic development, and higher education sectors. 

He will also work to grow enrollment and advocate for policies that benefit WGU students, including underserved/underrepresented communities. Coulter resides in Western North Carolina but will be co-located in WGU North Carolina’s Durham office and represent the university at events and activities statewide. 

As Regional Director, Coulter will work in partnership with Kim Estep, Vice President, Southeast Region, to execute initiatives that optimize student success, increase alumni engagement, and develop and sustain partnerships that expand higher education access and affordability throughout the region, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Prior to joining WGU, Coulter served as Vice President, Global Initiatives for a U.K.-based higher education firm that provides professional development opportunities for postsecondary faculty and professional staff. His extensive education experience also includes serving as Senior Director, Higher Education for Watermark, an education software company focused on outcomes assessment, accreditation management, and continuous-improvement initiatives. Additionally, he served in various capacities at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, including Director of Instructional Technology, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Leadership and Foundations.

“Ben’s impressive credentials not only include academic experience but operational and technical expertise as well,” said Estep. “He will do a wonderful job expanding WGU’s presence throughout the region and positioning our university as a flexible and affordable option for working adults who wish to further their education.” 

Originally from Idaho prior to embarking on his career in military intelligence, Coulter earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science/international law from Idaho State University, a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership/development from Western Carolina University, and his Doctor of Education degree in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. 

Designed for working adults, WGU offers an asynchronous, competency-based model that allows students to log in and access coursework at a time convenient for them, and to accelerate at their own pace. WGU offers more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. Tuition is around $3,750 per six-month term for most undergraduate degree programs, and students can take as many courses as they and their assigned mentors are comfortable with during the term.

Established in 2017, WGU North Carolina has granted degrees to more than 5,000 North Carolinians and currently has about 3,900 active students enrolled in-state. For more information about WGU North Carolina, visit

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