Colorado State University School of Education alumnus Jermain Griffin (Ph.D., ’17) recently joined the faculty at American University in Washington, D.C. Griffin, a graduate of the school’s Higher Education Leadership specialization, teaches international education as a professorial lecturer for AU’s School of Education.
In addition to his teaching role, Griffin works as research consultant for the American Council in Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, focusing on internationalization at higher education institutions comparatively across regions.
“There have been wonderful opportunities to dive deeper into these topics and their many facets,” he said.
Griffin described his journey to earning his Ph.D. as a “zig-zag experience.” He received his bachelor’s degree in economics at Western Connecticut State University and moved to the Midwest to pursue a reporter job. While working as an intern reporter at the Illinois State Capitol, he received a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. It was there that a mentor who had worked in the Peace Corps told him about the experience, something that interested Griffin.
Flexible Ph.D. program at CSU
Inspired by his mentor, Griffin became a Peace Corps volunteer and lived in El Salvador while working to earn his second master’s degree in political science from Illinois State University. Griffin knew the next step was getting a Ph.D., but struggled to find a program that best complemented his busy schedule as associate director of Fairfield University’s International Studies Program. Flexibility was key, as he wanted to be able to still work full-time, so a distance/blended delivery program was his best option. He discovered the Higher Education Leadership program at CSU and applied.
“I thought it gave me great exposure to a high-quality program,” he said. “The program was interactive with fellow students, which added a unique dimension to the online experience.”
Although his cohort was spread across the country, Griffin felt that there was an incredible diversity within the program. Exposure to other higher education professionals with a diverse group of perspectives and backgrounds, each bringing something distinctive to the conversation, was a unique benefit of the program.
Griffin attributes his success in the program to three elements: good teaching, interaction with peers, and sound advising. To him, building a relationship with fellow peers, advisers, and faculty made the experience worthwhile. Although Griffin was located on the East Coast while in the program, he did get the opportunity to take some classes at the Fort Collins campus.
“Time on campus was so valuable, it gave us a unique opportunity to bond and get to know the campus and Fort Collins itself,” he said.
Dissertation on internationalization
Griffin’s dissertation, Examining Comprehensive Internationalization at State Comprehensive Universities (SCUs): A Comparative Case Study of the Internationalization Process, allowed him to research how higher education institutions could develop campus-wide plans for internationalization. He enjoys conducting research on higher education and international education.
“I am very interested in interdisciplinary experiences that bring two or three different concepts together to achieve a singular idea,” he said.
Now that Griffin has earned his Ph.D., he has focused on reconnecting with family and friends, especially with his daughter.
“One sacrifice that I made during the program was not having as much time to spend time with my family,” he said. “Now I get to shuttle her to activities, and help her with her piano lessons and schoolwork.”
The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.