College Student Affairs Leadership Faculty

Karyn Rabourn

Karyn E. Rabourn

Director of the M.Ed. in Higher Education Program, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Counseling

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B.A., M.A., Michigan State University; Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington

Dr. Rabourn joined the faculty in August 2015 and earned her B.A. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University. Dr. Rabourn completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University (IU) in 2016. At IU, Dr. Rabourn worked for the Center of Postsecondary Research with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Project for Academic Success and served as an assessment consultant to the Division of Student Affairs. Dr. Rabourn worked at the University of Pittsburgh and Michigan State University within residential life, with a focus on recruitment, selection, and training of professional, graduate, and undergraduate staff members. Dr. Rabourn’s research interests include higher education finance, assessment of student affairs practice, and access, persistence and retention of non- or post-traditional and historically underrepresented students. Her current research examines college student attitudes towards student loan borrowing and debt and she hopes to uncover valuable information that will assist to improve practices and policies related to student borrowing.

Dr. Rabourn currently serves as the Program Director of the M.Ed. in Higher Education program and has taught Theories of College Student Development (EDH 647), Higher Education and Student Affairs Functions (EDH 651), The American College Student (EDH 652), Administration of Student Affairs Programs (EDH 653), Critical Issues in Higher Education (EDH 658), and advises master’s projects and theses (EDH 693/695). 



Headshot of Laila McCloud

Laila McCloud

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Counseling

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B.A., M.Ed., DePaul University; Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Dr. Laila McCloud joined the faculty in August 2021. Prior to coming to GVSU she was an Assistant Professor of College Student Personnel at Western Illinois University. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (Higher Education and Student Affairs) from the University of Iowa. Prior to pursuing a faculty career, she served as a student affairs educator focused on issues of equity and access at several institutions in the Chicagoland area.  Dr. McCloud's research uses critical theories and methods to explore: (1) the professional and academic socialization of Black college students; (2) the professionalization of multicultural student affairs work; and (3) teaching and learning practices in higher education and student affairs graduate preparation programs.

She serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of College Student Development. Dr. McCloud is an active member and has held leadership positions in higher education and student affairs associations such as ACPA, ASHE, and NASPA. Her research has been published in the Journal of College Student Development, the Journal of Higher Education, and the Journal of the Professoriate. Dr. McCloud is a Research Associate with the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL). In 2022, she was recognized as the NASPA Region IV-E Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member.

Dr. McCloud teaches courses in the Adult & Higher Education (AHE) and College Student Affairs Leadership (CSAL) programs, including The Adult Learner (EDH 648), Higher Education & Student Affairs Functions (EDH 651), Administration of Student Affairs Programs (EDH 653), and advises master’s theses and projects (EDH 693/695). 

Paul Bylsma

Paul Bylsma

Visiting Faculty

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B.A. Calvin College; M.Ed., Grand Valley State; Ph.D. in progress, Michigan State University.

Paul began teaching in an adjunct capacity in 2019. Prior to that, he worked in alumni relations, development, and admissions at a liberal arts college. Paul is currently working on his PhD in the higher, adult, and lifelong education (HALE) program at Michigan State. He is also serving as an instructor in the Teacher Education department there. Paul's research interests include affect theory, teaching and learning, and the philosophy and sociology of higher education. He is currently working on his dissertation that analyzes the hidden curriculum in a pre-professional program as an affective phenomenon. 

Paul studied history and secondary education as an undergraduate student and has experience teaching at the secondary level. His master's project dealt with justice-oriented service-learning at the collegiate level. Paul is married and has two beautiful daughters, and enjoys doing yard work and brewing beer in his free time.

Liz Chase

Liz Chase

Senior Student Success Coach

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B.A. Michigan State University; M.Ed. Grand Valley State University

Liz Chase has been working with students at Grand Valley State University since 2015. She spent her first two years in the Disability Support Resources Office assisting students with academic accommodations and coordinating the Campus Links program designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She then went on to serve as the Student Retention and Special Projects Coordinator working with both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs (2017-2022) and spent time outside of this role as a co-director of the anti-violence peer education group, ReACT!. Liz now serves as a Senior Student Success Coach in the Student Academic Success Center where she partners with students on their academic journey. She is also a Co-Advocate providing students with victim/survivor advocacy support. Prior to coming to GVSU, Liz worked as a Program Manager for Design Dance, LLC. and acted with the Chicago Mammals.


Beth Thimmesch-Harpold

Beth Thimmesch-Harpold

Adjunct Faculty

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B.S. Grand Valley State University; M.Ed. Grand Valley State University

A true Laker for a Lifetime, Beth has been working with students at Grand Valley State University since completing her undergraduate degree in 2007. She has served in many roles in the office of Housing and Residence Life including supervising staff and building residential co-curricular programs. In addition to her work in Student Affairs, Beth started teaching adjunct at Grand Valley State University in 2012 for the Department of Liberal Studies; and more recently serving as adjunct faculty in the College of Education. In addition to her work, she has always been passionate about graduate professional development and has been working with the continued education and co-curricular experiences of CSAL graduate students since 2014. Other fieldwork that informs her teaching practice has included leading and participating in numerous recruitment and selection teams, oversight of staff professional development, and serving 6 years on the ACPA-Michigan Board


Page last modified January 26, 2023