Keisha Blevins named UM-Dearborn chief of staff

9/10/2018

The Michigan graduate with more than a decade of staff service begins the academic year in her new role.

Elephants, a symbol of strength, are praised for mental faculties, cooperative spirit and loyalty. They are Keisha Blevins’ favorite animals.

“Not only are they beautiful, they use their strength and power wisely,” said Blevins, who has elephant sculptures and pictures prominently featured in the décor of her new office. “They also have strong bonds and look after each other. Those are admirable qualities.”

It’s a fitting choice for Blevins as she moves into the role as Chancellor Domenico Grasso’s newly appointed chief of staff.

Blevins, formerly the UM-Dearborn human resources director, is a long-serving U-M employee. She said that she is excited about the opportunity to serve and contribute to the campus in her new role. Some of her responsibilities include providing support, advice and feedback to the chancellor and leadership team to help keep their strategic initiatives moving forward. 

“This can be done through identifying opportunities for collaborating, facilitating communication, conducting research and preparing documents for Chancellor Grasso, or whatever else that needs to be done to better assist him in leading the campus,” Blevins said, sharing that goals include increasing awareness about what UM-Dearborn has to offer and continuing the campus’ commitment to excellence.

“Essentially, I’m a trusted adviser, a person who handles the day-to-day needs so Chancellor Grasso can focus on building upon our past successes and taking our campus to the next level,” she said. “And, after getting to know him, I have no doubt that he can.”

Blevins — who earned a bachelor’s degree from UM-Ann Arbor and a law degree from Wayne State University — said a strong commitment to the university is something that began as a youth growing up in Ann Arbor. One of her creeds is the Bo Schembechler/Jim Harbaugh collaborative quote: “Those who try hard will stay; Those who stay will be champions.”

“The journey might not always be perfect. But if you are persistent, you will reach your goals,” she said. “Perfection is not always attainable, but doing the right thing, showing up and giving the best you can every day is well within our reach."

“I believe in the work we do here. The work our faculty and staff do is consequential, they are supporting and educating students who will change our communities. One of the things I value most about our campus is that we are a community; our faculty and staff genuinely care about each other and the success of our students."

Which — while Blevins is speaking in her office — comes full circle with the elephants in the room.

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