Program Faculty

Headshot of Laila McCloud

Laila McCloud (she/her)

Director of the M.Ed. in Higher Education Program, 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 and the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and is an Associate Editor for About Campus. Dr. McCloud is an active member and has held leadership positions in higher education and student affairs associations such as ACPA, ASHE, and NASPA. In 2023, she was named an ACPA Emerging Scholar. 


Paul Bylsma

Paul E. Bylsma (he/him)

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Counseling

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

Dr. Paul Bylsma joined the faculty in August 2023. Prior to coming to GVSU Paul held roles in enrollment management, alumni relations, and supervising pre-service social studies student teachers. Paul holds a Doctorate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University. Paul's research utilizes sociomaterial theories to explore teaching, learning, knowledge, and practice in a higher education context as a complex encounter between people, space, and time. His recently-finished dissertation illuminates the hidden curriculum in undergraduate business education as a formative influence on students' embodied educational experiences.

Outside of academia, Paul's interests include reading, brewing, working and playing in the yard, and sustaining a household with his partner and two children.

Karyn Rabourn

Karyn E. Rabourn (she/her)

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.

Liz Chase

Liz Chase (she/her)

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.


Kate Harmon

Kate Harmon (she/her)

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

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B.S., Northern Michigan University; M.A., Central Michigan University; Ed.S., Grand Valley State University; Ed.D. University of Michigan-Flint

Dr. Kate Harmon joined the department as an adjunct faculty member in January 2024. Dr. Harmon currently serves as GVSU’s Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs with administrative oversight of the University Counseling Center, Alcohol and Other Drugs Services, the department of Recreation & Wellness, and Student Health Services.  She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from University of Michigan-Flint. Her main research interests are focused on student experiences and belonging.  Her doctoral research included a qualitative phenomenological study, using interpretative phenomenological analysis, which explored, described, and interpreted the way low-income African American students experience university recreation programs and services at a Predominantly White Institution.

Page last modified January 18, 2024