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Jamillya Hardley joins GRCC’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as Assistant Director

Jamillya Hardley

Jamillya Hardley (pronounced Jah-meal-yah) will begin her tenure as Assistant Director on October 4, 2021.

Hardley (she/her/hers), a first-generation college graduate, is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has served in student affairs for nearly a decade with professional experience in student conduct, academic advising, career development, and athletics. She served as a residence life administrator and adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in her most recent role.

Jamillya has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the U of M Women’s basketball team. In the years following, Jamillya earned a Master of Education in Higher Education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. 

Jamillya has experience facilitating intergroup dialogue, developing staff diversity training, and teaching first-year experience courses.

Jamillya is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated. In this capacity, she has mentored young women of color, athletes, and affinity-based student organizations.

Joining Hardley in this work is Erika Howard

Ericka Howard

Howard (she/her/hers) is a second year graduate student pursuing a Master of Education in Higher Education degree with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Leadership at Grand Valley State University. Before this, Erika earned a B.A. in Education Studies and German Languages from Berea College.

Erika, who joined GRCC on September 2, is currently fulfilling the role of Equity Fellow in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, where she is responsible for assisting with program logistics, assessment initiatives, student engagement, and content development for #GRCCequity social media platforms.

In addition to her role at GRCC, she is also a Graduate Assistant in the College of Education and Community Innovation Office of Certification and Accreditation at GVSU. In this role, Howard hosts information sessions for prospective students interested in teacher certification, assists with social media and website management, and supports student employee supervision.

“The programs and services facilitated by ODEI are rooted in a theory-to-practice framework,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “I am excited about the level of expertise and synergy Jamillya and Erika bring to GRCC. During the staff retreat, it was clear they understood how nuanced principles of inclusion and social justice connect to higher education.”

Erika's areas of interest include accessibility, social justice, academic advising, and resource development. Her career goals include developing lenses in accessibility practices, cultural competency, and trauma-informed practice through which she can view and engage her academic and professional work.

Jamillya prides herself on providing opportunities for student engagement through fostering relationships, creating inclusive spaces, and building connections. As she embarks on her tenure at GRCC, she looks forward to championing DEI work and remaining active in the greater Grand Rapids community.

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