Branden Grimmett, associate provost for career and professional development at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, has been selected to lead Emory’s new Pathways Center, a new vision for career exploration and development. undergraduate professional through the university’s Student Flourishing initiative.
In this role, effective August 1, Grimmett will serve as associate dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences and vice provost for career and professional development.
“Branden is an extraordinary talent whose experience and aspirations align with our vision of the Pathways Center as the foundation for lifelong student journeys of transformation, impact and service,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost of Emory and executive vice president for academic affairs. “With inclusion and connection at the heart of its philosophy, Branden will work with our entire team of career professionals to engage not only our students, but also the ecosystem of employers, alumni, faculty, parents and others essential to their success.”
The road to student success
Launching in fall 2022 under Grimmett’s leadership, the Pathways Center will integrate existing resources and programs and create new initiatives to support professional development and career exploration across the undergraduate experience, from the first year. Experiential learning, intentional reflection and mentoring relationships will be integral to the Pathways Center as ways to prepare students for rewarding life and post-graduate opportunities.
“With the Pathways Center, we seek to provide an innovative and holistic approach that supports the personal and professional development of all Emory undergraduate students,” says Michael A. Elliott, Dean of Emory College. “Branden Grimmett is an outstanding and creative leader who will bring to this work both a wealth of experience and a clear vision of how we can achieve these goals. We are delighted to have him as a new partner to the many professionals on this campus who advance the work of student development.
Grimmett was appointed to the position after a highly competitive national search conducted by Heidrick & Struggles. The research process relied on the engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders, including faculty, staff, alumni, and students.
“I am delighted to welcome Branden to Emory. He stood out from the first interview in which his deep understanding of the field, his concern and respect for students, and his commitment to partnership and innovation were crystal clear,” said Enku Gelaye, Senior Vice President of Campus Life. “This new role under Branden’s leadership creates a tremendous ability for the university to bring together student services already committed to engaging students in the work of Pathways. The Pathways initiative is also reimagining the way we meet our students at a critical time – a time when exploring, reflecting and finding meaning matters most to them and can be truly transformative in their lives.
Grimmett’s experience ranges from career development positions at Tufts University and Harvard Divinity School to leadership positions at St. Olaf College and Loyola Marymount University (LMU). His expertise reflects the goals of the new Pathways Center: to establish student interactions with the center from their first year; develop external relationships with businesses and non-profit partners to develop opportunities for students; and ensure that professional development activities meet the needs of all students, including first-generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented groups.
The student point of view
According to an old and research advisory committee Joy Knowles, a graduate of Emory College this year, the Pathways Center “has the potential to provide incredible support to a diverse group of students, including those who may need additional resources and guidance. Branden is sensitive to the experiences of underrepresented students, which will ensure that the Center meets student needs. It is essential to level the playing field by creating opportunities for people of color and students of varying socio-economic status.
“It is very encouraging to see Emory create such a meaningful initiative to help students discover their post-graduate journeys, and I am confident that Branden’s leadership will make the mission both successful and effective,” Knowles said.
Throughout her career, Grimmett has worked to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts into the personal and professional development of students. At LMU, Grimmett instituted a policy that prospective employers were asked to agree to a DEI policy before hiring students for internships and jobs. He has also forged strong partnerships between the Career Center and groups such as Disability Support Services, Ethnic and Intercultural Services, Jewish Student Life, LGBTQ Student Services, Muslim Student Life, Students Without papers and programs for veterans.
Create opportunities for partnership and engagement
Grimmett looks forward to forging a wide range of partnerships at Emory and beyond, especially with Atlanta’s strong business, corporate and nonprofit communities.
“I am thrilled to join Emory at a time when the university is focused on intentionally preparing students for career success and success in life. The new Pathways Center will seamlessly bring together the Career Center, national fellowships and fellowships, undergraduate research programs and pre-health counseling,” he said.
“We will also be making connections with student employment and working with the Alumni Advancement and Engagement Division to strengthen alumni mentorship programs,” he adds. “I look forward to working with each of these teams and university leadership to elevate Emory’s position in the job market, while creating an entry point for recruiters looking to hire undergraduate students of all majors.”
At the Atlanta campus, Grimmett will work with the Career Management Center at Goizueta Business School and the professional development team at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. He will work closely to coordinate services and initiatives with the principal of a counterpart center that will also serve first and second year students on the Oxford College Emory campus.
Grimmett received his Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California.