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LBC welcomes M. Paola León as inaugural Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Academic Innovation

March 31, 2024

We are honored to welcome M. Paola León, LMSW, Ph.D., as Lyman Briggs College's inaugural associate dean for inclusive excellence and academic innovation.

M. Paola León

The associate dean of inclusive excellence and academic innovation will play a key role in implementing the LBC 2032 Strategic Plan, especially in the areas of Strengthening Community and Advancing Inclusive, Interdisciplinary, and Experiential Teaching, Advising & Learning, in alignment with the MSU Strategic Plan and MSU DEI Strategic Plan and Report.

“This is a new position for LBC, and one that is truly exciting. It centers DEIB throughout the core mission of the college: teaching and learning,” said LBC Dean Kendra Spence Cheruvelil.

The associate dean’s portfolio will focus on advancing inclusive excellence across all key functional areas of college, with particular attention to the core area of teaching and learning. They will build positive relationships with the vibrant LBC communities of faculty, advisors, students, staff, and alums, as well as with those advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at MSU, notably the Council of Diversity Deans, Faculty Excellence Advocates, the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and the LBC Inclusivity Committee. 

León most recently served as the Director of the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University. She served as the program director of the Master of Social Work Program from August 2020 – June 2023. She has experience teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as both in and out of formal classrooms locally and internationally.  In addition, Leon founded the Social Justice Begins with ME! reading program for children ages 4-11 and co-directed the El Salvador & Guatemala study abroad program at GVSU.

León’s teaching and research are influenced by a human rights-based approach to social work education and practice. Recently, she has explored the construct of feminist solidarity economies, examining how they organize economic activities with a focus on values such as care, equity, and cooperation. This exploration is framed through the lens of the lived experiences of women participating in women-led cooperatives in the Peruvian Amazon.

Welcome to LBC, Paola!