Known for her signature red glasses, Kim Grieve, dean of students and vice president of student services, is also well-known across campus for how she works with students and faculty members.
Grieve oversees many of the university’s day-to-day operations as the vice president of student services, dean of students, interim cheer coach, and helps guide the Center for Diversity & Community (CDC).
Grieve was born at the University of Florida Hospital and from her youth gained a sense of a college campus connection that sparked an interest in working in higher education one day.
“I kind of grew up on college campuses, so I have always had an interest at having a job on campus,” Grieve said.
From June 2007 to July 2012, Grieve served in numerous capacities at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, such as assistant vice president of student services, interim vice president of student services, dean of students, graduate adjunct instructor and capstone advisor.
Grieve heard about the dean of students position at USD while working at Lourdes University. Grieve said coming to campus for the first time for the interview just felt right to her.
“I just love the campus because it’s so beautiful and everybody I met was so friendly. The students interviewed me and they were a tough interview,” Grieve said. “I was impressed right away with the student population and I just liked how it was a D1 institution with a medical school
and law school.”
When Grieve accepted the position as dean of students in July 2012, she said she was ready to make a difference on campus.
“I was excited to come and make difference here at USD and really support students, to get to know students, to make sure that I was sharing the student voice and to work with an outstanding staff that I still feel like is outstanding today,” she said.
Grieve said her position as vice president of student services consists of being an advocate for students.
“I see myself as the student advocate and I work with an amazing staff to really make sure students have activities and programming on campus, that they’re safe on campus and that they become Coyotes for life,” Grieve said.
Besides serving as dean of students, Grieve also holds the title of vice president of student services. When the former vice president of student services left, President Abbott referred Grieve to take on the position.
Grieve said working for students is how she shares their voice.
“It’s an all-encompassing title and as the dean of students, you might not serve on executive council, but with the vice president title, I also am there to share the student voice,” she said.
Grieve said there have “been so many exciting things” during her time at USD, including working to open the CDC in 2014, implementing programming for the ICARE grant and collaborating with Student Government Association.
“(Opening) the Center for Diversity & Community was definitely a highlight,” she said. “I’ve been able to do many study abroad programs, expand the Student Counseling Center, and serve on executive council and continue to let the president and other vice presidents know what is going on with student services and what students are interested in.”
Grieve not only works with students, but many faculty members around campus. Grieve gives a direct report to Abbott, works with the CDC, the director of the MUC, among other faculty and staff. One of the people Grieve works with closely is John Howe, associate dean of student services.
Howe said he first met Grieve in October of 2015 through the interview process for his position. Howe said it has been “a really good fit” for him to work with Grieve because of her openness.
“If Kim is in her office, her door is open. If a student stops in, it’s not ‘come back on Tuesday at six,’” Howe said. “She will see them right then and there. I have always appreciated that open access.”
Howe said the most difficult part of the job that he and Grieve deal with together is when a student’s death is announced; however, he said that’s when Grieve handles a tough situation well.
“As many times as I have had to sit in her office when she makes those calls, there’s nothing that can prepare you for that,” Howe said. “It’s a part of her position that I don’t envy in any way, shape or form. (Kim’s) able to build bridges in that difficult time, and I think that speaks volumes for her.”
Howe said all Grieve manages do for the university is “magic.” She goes the distance to have students’ voices heard, he said.
“I have worked with people with great vision, but they really can’t get you there,” Howe said. “(Grieve) says this is where I want us to be, and it’s not so much pushing people forward, it’s like she’s leading us and pulling us along. She’s in the trenches.”
Lucas Lund, a junior Spanish, international studies and political science triple major, said he first met Grieve through SGA and a study abroad trip to Ireland. Lund now works in Grieve’s office as a student assistant.
“I first met Dr. Grieve when I was on (SGA) when she was an advisor for that organization. I then participated in her study abroad trip for Ireland, which was a fantastic experience,” Lund said. “We got to know each other better through that, and through SGA, and that’s how I now have a position in her office.”
Lund said Grieve has been “extremely supportive” by recommending him for a summer study tour in China and through the upward bound program where Lund taught Spanish to South Dakota Native American students in high school.
“It was a totally unexpected thing. (Grieve) just brought up this program to me and it just happened from there,” Lund said.
Lund said Grieve is always there for students, no matter what she does for them.
“She really strives to get to know students on an individual basis, and I have seen many examples of that,” Lund said. “She’s always attending campus events and athletic events. She’s striving to make USD be the safest place for students to succeed.”
Challenges and goals
With a job as “demanding” as the dean of students and vice president of student services, Grieve said she finds ways to unwind.
“I have several really good friends in town that I like to get together with, and sometimes we go for a walk,” Grieve said. “My family means everything to me. I have three children and a husband. I spend time with them as I have it.”
The demands of Grieve’s office present numerous challenges, such as losing staff or managing multiple offices.
“Each day is a new challenge. When you lose really good staff and need to go interview for some staff, it’s always a challenge to make sure that things continue on in the best way possible,” Grieve said.
Grieve’s numerous goals for her office include improving inclusive excellence and learning outcomes, she said.
“I think the biggest thing we like to keep in mind is to increase inclusive excellence in everything we do,” Grieve said. “We’re currently working on (documenting) learning outcomes with academics.”
As Grieve enters her sixth year at USD, she said she’s excited to see what the future holds for the university.
“Being at USD has been a great experience. I’m really excited about the time I’ve been here, and about the future of USD,” Grieve said.