Young Professionals in Higher Education strives to provide seminars each academic year that encourage learning, development and networking with other young professionals within the collegiate community. Whether you are a faculty or staff member, we extend an open invitation to join us for programming that will help you make the most of your career. Questions, comments, concerns? Contact us at [email protected].

Women in Leadership Breakfast Panel - April 8, 2021

Keri Becker, Director of Athletics

Keri Becker

Director of Athletics
Grand Valley Sate University

Keri Becker has spent her entire career in intercollegiate athletics spanning 25+ years. She is currently in her fourth year as the Director of Athletics at Grand Valley State. 

Grand Valley State has continued its dominance at the Division II level Under Becker’s direction, claiming its 26th overall Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Presidents’ Cup title as the league all sports champion and winning the 2018-19 Division II All-sports Learfield/IMG College Directors’ Cup crown for the 13th time. 

Keri is also a military veteran, having served in the United States Army Reserve from 1992-2006, and was called to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom from January 2003-February 2004. She achieved the rank of staff sergeant and was honorably discharged in October 2006. 

Emily Gratson, Associate Dean

Emily Gratson

Associate Dean of Assessment and Student Success
Cornerstone University

Emily Gratson is the Associate Dean of Assessment and Student Success at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She holds a Master of Arts in Spanish Linguistics and Literature from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Spanish from Calvin University. Her commitment to lifelong learning has directed her to pursue a PhD in Education and Human Development at Western Michigan University with an emphasis in TESOL.

In her current role, she facilitates the assessment of student learning and institutional research efforts across campus. She believes, when done well, assessment offers the key to providing students with a clear pathway to success as well as an effective means by which faculty, staff and administrators can identify those who may need additional support along the way. Her passion to ensure just, equitable systems and inclusive environments for all students led her to become a certified Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) administrator and a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) certified professional. Prior to working in higher education, she worked with Spectrum Health, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and Hello West Michigan, an organization designed to attract and retain talent in the region.

Dr. Deveta Gardner

Deveta Gardner, Ph.D.

Acting Director for Career Development and Student Success
Western Michigan University

Deveta Gardner joined WMU as a career advisor in 1996. Since then, she has provided career education workshops, career advising services, and career event management for several colleges. She is the immediate past president of College of Education Alumni Board of Directors and School University Partnership Team. She currently serves on the University ONEWMU design and Compensation Teams, Black faculty and staff committee, and WMU Signature Advisory Board.  Dr. Gardner also serves as the WMU Institutional Representative, and a board member for MI-ACE Women’s Network.  

Dr. Gardner, a certified Gallup Strengths Coach, currently uses her knowledge and skills to lead two units as WMU. As the Acting Director for Career Development and Academic Success, Dr. Gardner, spends most of her time focusing on best practices for students that will yield opportunities for growth and development, while exploring career options. As a previous advisor for WMU’s NPHC, she is an advocate for several student organizations as well.

Prior to working at WMU, Dr. Gardner worked in the Office of Admissions at Kalamazoo College, and as an instructional/behavioral specialist for Kalamazoo Public Schools, where she still serves as a competitive cheer coach.

Dr. Gardner earned a Master of Arts and Doctorate of Philosophy with honors from WMU, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is active in numerous organizations within her community, regionally, and nationally, and has been the recipient of several leadership awards. When she is not working or serving, she enjoys spending time with her family.


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Page last modified February 25, 2021