President's Message - VP Academic Affairs - 2018-05-18

A Message from the President

A Message from the President

May 18, 2018

Appointment of Dr. DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga to the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowie State University. Dr. Agbenyiga brings 19 years of experience in higher education as a professor, researcher and administrator. She will assume her new role on July 9, 2018.

As provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Agbenyiga will serve as the chief academic officer responsible for overseeing the academic and research enterprise of the university, ensuring the quality of the faculty and student body, and maintaining educational excellence. She has the experience, proven ability and commitment to strategically develop and improve programs to enhance students’ academic experience and personal development.

“I am extremely excited to join Bowie State University in the Race to Excellence that serves as a model for building a strong academic community inclusive of faculty, staff, students and administrators. Bowie State’s strong vision builds on its solid historical foundation and clearly demonstrates its past, present and future,” said Dr. Agbenyiga. “This is a great time to join Dr. Aminta Breaux and her superb leadership team to help advance the well-planned efforts to further propel the institution toward providing innovative opportunities and support for students, faculty and staff. Together, I look forward to building and sustaining exceptional partnerships within and beyond the institution and to being a part of achieving the next level of the institution’s historical legacy of excellence.”

Currently vice provost and dean of the Graduate School and professor of social work at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Agbenyiga is noted for establishing a sustainable foundation to support academic excellence in graduate education. Since her arrival in 2015, she has created a new organizational structure for the Graduate School, streamlined the admission process, improved recruitment efforts and expanded the number of graduate programs. Under her leadership, UTSA established a state-of-the-art Graduate Student Professional Development Center that is the first of its kind in the UT System and a national model for supporting the 21st century graduate student.

Prior to UTSA, Dr. Agbenyiga was associate dean for graduate studies and inclusion in the College of Social Science at Michigan State University from 2012 – 2015. In addition to providing significant administrative oversight for graduate programs, she was the founding director of the college’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Academic Affairs. Additionally, she held positions as associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and in the School of Social Work. Earlier positions at Michigan State included assistant dean and assistant to the dean for multi-cultural programs in the College of Social Science where she began her career as a social work specialist.

An accomplished scholar, Dr. Agbenyiga has extensive experience working globally, particularly in Africa, as a researcher and consultant to numerous ministries, non-governmental organizations and universities. Her research spans organizational culture, international social and economic development, community development and sustainability, women’s rights, children’s rights, gender-based violence, cross-cultural learning, and diversity.

Dr. Agbenyiga earned her doctoral degree in social work, MBA in strategic management and an MSW in Social Work-Urban Studies all from Michigan State University. Her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Dr. Agbenyiga’s appointment follows nearly five months of work by the search and screening committee, which included representatives from our faculty, staff and student body. I want to thank the committee for their service to identify the best candidates for this critical leadership role that will be key in advancing our race to excellence. I would also like to thank Dr. Guy-Alain Amoussou for his leadership as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. His efforts have ensured a successful transition for Academic Affairs.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Agbenyiga to the Bowie State University community.