Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga joined Bowie State University as provost and vice president for academic affairs in July 2018. She serves 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.
Dr. Agbenyiga came to Bowie State from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was vice provost and dean of the Graduate School and professor of social work. She is noted for establishing a sustainable foundation to support academic excellence in graduate education. She 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.