Melissa Burwell

Melissa Burwell

  • Assistant Dean of Students; Director of the Center for Student Success
Email Address:
Office location:
Todd Wehr Center 111


Melissa Burwell serves as assistant dean of student development and director of the Center for Student Success at Carthage. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in higher education and non-profit management, with an emphasis on student retention and success initiatives in K-12 and higher education settings. 

Melissa began her career in student affairs as a residence hall director and academic advisor before working in service-learning, student activities, and career development at colleges in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Prior to joining Carthage, Melissa worked for a college access and scholarship program based in Minnesota.

She currently serves as the NASPA Region IV-East Representative on the Success Coaching Knowledge Community and EAB’s Student Success Innovation Council.

Melissa’s research interests include examining the intersection of gender and women’s leadership in student affairs along with evaluating the effectiveness of retention initiatives on belonging, student persistence and college success.


  • Ed.D. — Educational Leadership and Learning, University of St Thomas, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • M.S. — Counseling & College Student Personnel, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Penn.
  • B.A. — Sociology, Gordon College, Wenham, Mass.

Main responsibilities at Carthage

Melissa Burwell works with a variety of campus partners to ensure students have what they need to thrive both inside and outside the classroom. Melissa leads the development, planning, and evaluation of the center’s retention and student success programming and supervises a team of Student Success Advisors. She oversees College Success Seminar and manages Navigate, our student success management system. In her role as assistant dean of student development, Melissa acts as the point person for faculty with student concerns along with convening the student success team.