Create a free Diverse: Issues In Higher Education account to continue reading

Fierce Advocate for Community College Students

As her days as president of Mott Community College (MCC) in Flint, Michigan, wind down, Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea is pleased with the impact she and the college have made on the community. In the 10 years of her presidency, Walker-Griffea has had many proud moments, particularly the opening of the Lenore Croudy Family Life Center. The center provides services that students need, such as a childcare center, a food pantry, clothing distribution, and social workers on staff.

Dr. Beverly Walker-GriffeaDr. Beverly Walker-Griffea“Having a more open transformational culture where everyone feels as if they belong really was a 10-year process,” says Walker-Griffea, the first woman and first African American to lead MCC. “People have chosen to attend Mott, because they believe that they can succeed, because we have care and concern for everybody.”

Walker-Griffea’s career in academia began at age 21. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, she accepted a job there for which she was perfect because she was already helping friends graduate in four years as she had by sharing skills and practices.

“We went around the state and started teaching persons in non-traditional areas that college is a possibility and these are the things you need to do,” she says. “I’ve always had this love for trying to help people understand that they can attend college and help them break down the barriers to get there.”

Her undergraduate degree is in radio/television/film: news and public affairs. She earned a Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling and a doctorate in child development (the doctoral program defined child development as continuing until age 21). Each degree continues to be instrumental.

“The radio/television gives me the ability to speak, write, and communicate in a way so that people understand and feel what I believe,” says Walker-Griffea. “I’m a great facilitator. That’s one of my top leadership skills. With the counseling skills, I’m able to have empathy and understand where people are and get them where I need them to be.” 

The human development she studied in her doctoral program opened her eyes to what was needed on the college level to ensure student success. She focused on single parents who deal with many variables, developing a model program that helped these students succeed and graduate.

After building her reputation in student services, Walker-Griffea found a perfect fit in community colleges. Her insights into the needs of single parents led to significant increases in graduation ratesat Spokane Community College and continued at other institutions. Also of particular importance toheris helping cultivate a community’s economic stability through education.

“This is the work that matches who I am,” she says. “To take people, no matter who they are, and to help them get these degrees and higher education credentials that get them to make money so that they never have to look at poverty again. I got the community college world and what it was about, and that’s where I wanted to stand and do the work.”

At MCC, she has forged close connections in the Flint community and made the college a welcoming environment, whether people are coming to take credit courses, non-credit courses, or simply attend events. A diverse range of stakeholders is represented and respected in decision-making. A certificate is given upon completion of courses that teach the soft skills employers express the desire to see.

Walker-Griffea became president of MCC just two weeks prior to the Flint water crisis, a public health crisis caused by contaminated water. Enrollment had decreased, which meant decreased funding. She was intent MCC would not fail under her leadership, and she succeeded.

“I worked very hard to lead and to help this institution lead this community so that we, as a community, would get through all of these things,” she says. “We are the ones that, through the Flint water crisis and the pandemic, were working hard to ensure that our community members were always having the things that they needed.”

The trusted source for all job seekers
We have an extensive variety of listings for both academic and non-academic positions at postsecondary institutions.
Read More
The trusted source for all job seekers