Griffin is an Associate Professor in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program. She also serves as the editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Her research interests are primarily focused in three areas: diversity in graduate education, and the professoriate; diversity within the Black higher education community; and mentoring and career development. These interests have led her to conduct work on a variety of topics, including: career development of Ph.D. completers in science, Black professors and their engagement in student interaction, the experiences of Black immigrant college students, diversity recruitment in graduate education, and campus racial climate.
For those who know Griffin, this award does not come as a surprise - she practices what she encourages other to do. She has published extensively on the topic of mentorship, and is widely reputed as an accessible and genuine support to students on their scholarly paths. Griffin has long advocated for faculty/student relationships that are predicated on mutual respect, empathy, and trust. She is authentically and consciously interested in each student's professional and personal development by providing a healthy balance of supports and challenges at the right moments. And most of all, Griffin makes the time to be a resource - when students are with her, she is fully present and available to them.
"She partners with her students. One of her common phrases is: 'Ok, so how can I support you in doing that?' Also, she will ask students for their 'must haves' and 'don’t dos' in a faculty-student working relationship. Dr. Griffin works with students to develop strategies that allow them to craft and execute research goals, professional skills, and personal desires. In this same strategy, when she is aware of students’ interest, she invites them to write, present, or conduct research with her in order for that student or group of students to cultivate the skills necessary to grow," say Gudrun Nyunt and Shelvia English, graduate students and ACPA award nominators.
"Through her scholarship, presence, energy, and drive, Dr. Griffin works tirelessly to ensure that graduate students have a quality experience. It is one thing to simply do research on a topic, it is another thing to live out your research. Dr. Griffin does exactly that. I do not believe her investment in her students compares to any other faculty member I have met. She took on additional advisees when a faculty member left the department, she frequently meets with students who are not her advisees when they just want to talk, and she offers herself as a resource to graduate students at conferences who are interested in her work or want to learn more about the HESI program," add Gudrun and English.
Dr. Melissa Rocco, one of Griffin’s former doctoral students puts it like this. “I have most appreciated Kimberly Griffin’s wholehearted investment in my research and professional interests, even though they do not directly align with her own. She has not only provided me with incredible mentorship in how to develop my research agenda and scholarly voice, but has spent time learning more about my topic area, and has engaged with scholars, and practitioners about the topic even without my prompting or involvement. From what I understand, this is rare to find in a faculty advisor. I will forever be grateful to Kimberly Griffin for taking that kind of interest in me and my work, and respecting my interests as valid and valuable to our field.”