Misty Levingston, a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership in educational studies, has been appointed Chapman University’s new Director of Black Excellence and Achievement.
Levingston, who most recently served as Associate Director for Multicultural and Black Student Services at the University of La Verne, has worked in education for more than 20 years.
“I started working in events at California State University, San Bernardino,” she says.
She enjoyed the work, which included providing leadership and personal and professional development training for student workers. While there, she took advantage of opportunities for her own professional development, in areas such as diversity, Title IX and bystander intervention.
“While I was there, I became the ‘go-to’ person for black students,” Levingston says. “I don’t know how that came about, but apparently there was no one doing it, so I stepped up. If there was a new Black student on campus it was like, ‘go see Misty.’ That’s how I became very involved in Black student development and helping to increase the retention and graduation rates for Black students.”
Since then, Levingston has focused her career path on positions that allow her to engage with diversity and inclusion initiatives in higher education.
“I love it. It has given me the opportunity to make positive institutional change at different institutions. I’m hoping I can bring some of that with me to Chapman,” she says.
She is eager to be a part of the growth that Chapman is experiencing, she says. One her first efforts will be to connect individually with Black students at Chapman.
“Because the population of Black students is small, I can have a touchpoint with every Black student on campus. That’s my goal. I can’t say I serve all Black students if they don’t know who I am,” she says.
“We made a commitment to our students to have a director in place to welcome them back in the fall. We could not have accomplished this without the work of the dedicated members of the search committee,” says Reg Chhen Stewart, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Chapman.
“When we posted this position, it was my hope that we would find an experienced person leading in a similar capacity at a quality university and that is exactly what we did. Misty makes for the perfect complement to our growing team and it’s a testament to Chapman’s ability to recruit the best,” he says.
Levingston is looking forward to building on what is already happening at Chapman.
“I’m here to affect positive change, working with recruitment, working to make students feel seen and heard, listening to the students to see what I need to do to help with Black excellence,” she says. “I’m going to be that go-to person at Chapman.”