DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga appointed vice provost and dean of the UTSA Graduate School

DeBrenna LaFa Agbenyiga

DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga

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(Feb. 10, 2015) -- DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga has been named vice provost and dean of the UTSA Graduate School. Agbényiga serves as associate dean for graduate studies and inclusion in the College of Social Science at Michigan State University, where she earned her Ph.D. and has worked since 1999.

She will begin her duties at UTSA March 1, 2015.

In addition to her administrative role at Michigan State, she is associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the School of Social Work. She also is creator and director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Academic Affairs in the College of Social Science.

"I am delighted that DeBrenna Agbényiga is joining our team," said John H. Frederick, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Her comprehensive experience in graduate studies as well as diversity issues make her especially well-suited to leading UTSA’s graduate programs and students."

"I also want to extend thanks to Gerry Sanders and the search committee for an excellent job in recruiting DeBrenna to join us."

Agbényiga’s research focuses on 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. Her research has been published in leading social work journals including the Journal of Social Work Education, Children and Youth Services Review, Administration in Social Work and Advances in Social Work. She currently serves the Council on Social Work Education as a member of the Global Commission and has chaired the Council on External Relations since June 2011.

In addition to her Ph.D. in social work, Agbényiga earned an MSW in social work–urban studies and an MBA in strategic management from Michigan State. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

"I am so impressed with the commitment I have seen at UTSA to move the university forward with respect to the Graduate School," Agbényiga said. "Across the university, the president, administrators, faculty, staff and students all have that commitment, as well as a strong understanding of the role graduate education plays at a university."

In the Graduate School, Agbényiga replaces Dorothy Flannagan, who retired Dec. 31, 2014. Flannagan joined the university faculty in 1990 and had led the Graduate School since 2001, overseeing the implementation of more than 40 new doctoral and master’s degree programs.

"Dorothy’s contributions to the university’s progress toward Tier One in building our graduate program cannot be overstated; I thank her for her years of service to UTSA," Frederick said. "I must also express my gratitude to associate dean and professor Page Smith for his staunch leadership as interim dean during this transition."

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