Samantha Armstrong Ash as the Interim Dean of Students

Revisioning student support and success

The Easterner

By Elizabeth Price, Arts and Features Editor

After working in higher education for more than 13 years and specializing in student success and support, Samantha Armstrong Ash now serves as the interim associate vice president for student life and the dean of students for EWU.

Armstrong Ash has played many leadership roles including college administrator, instructor and trainer. Through her strengths of communication, input and connectedness, she specializes in leadership development and strives to support and lead students to success. 

She said EWU has been going through a process of deciding how to better serve the students on campus. By grouping together services and programs, it may be easier to focus on the students. 

As the Interim Dean of Students, her departments include: student care, counseling and psychological services, students conduct and health wellness and prevention services. Interim Associate Vice President for Campus Life, Josh Ashcroft, also shares the roles of the housing and residential life, campus recreation, new student and parent programs and the Pence Union Building. 

“To really do my work, it takes a team and it takes an entire campus being ready to invest and work together,” – Samantha Armstrong Ash, Dean of Students

Armstrong Ash has experienced firsthand how support and engagement outside of the classroom can enhance a college student’s cognitive development. She said she understands the pressures that students are put under whether it be homework, family obligations or a full time job. 

“There is this whole piece to preparing yourself for the career that you want that may not necessarily come from just classroom experience,” said Armstrong Ash. “Now is the time for students to be communicating with faculty and staff.”

Armstrong Ash received a Ph.D. in higher education and leadership from Washington State University, an M.Ed. in student affairs administration from Western Washington University, a B.A. in business administration from Idaho State University, and a B.A. in secondary, history emphasis, from Idaho State University. 

She has worked for EWU for nine years and during her time she has played the role of an administrator, adviser, teacher and mentor. She said she began her career in higher education in sorority and fraternity rights then started in leadership and advising. 

“My door is always open to students.” – Samantha Armstrong Ash, Dean of Students

Armstrong Ash has been the director of the Student Affairs Budget & Administrative Services, Associate Director of Student Activities and Involvement and Leadership and the instructor of Career Development. Armstrong Ash has also taught at Washington State University and at Gonzaga University. 

 Her areas of interest include women in leadership, organizational development and communication. Armstrong Ash has developed skills in leading teams, strategic planning and crisis and risk management. She is always looking for new ways to support people and is dedicated to making a difference through leadership in the world. 

As an undergraduate, her engagement both inside and outside of the classroom has shaped her into a life-long learner.

“Everyday we have the chance to show up for our community on campus.” – Samantha Armstrong Ash, Dean of Students

“My door is always open to students and I will do my best to show up where I can, but I also really want students to be engaged, be active and communicate with the student government where you can,” said Armstrong Ash. 

Armstrong Ash’s passion for supporting learners comes from her own experience as a college student. Because of this, she values the opportunities to work with individuals while helping them grow in a professional and personal way. 

“Allow yourself to create networks for yourself with faculty and other students,” said Armstrong Ash. “Everyday we have the chance to show up for our community on campus.”