Goal-Getter Kim Crawford Brings Passion to Her Work
Dr. Kimberly Crawford came to Piedmont as director of student activities in 2015 and quickly advanced. She was promoted to associate dean of student life and leadership in 2017 and then to dean in January 2020. This summer, she was named vice president of student life and leadership.
“I’ve grown a lot over the past six years as a female leader on campus,” she said. “Piedmont has been supportive of women leaders—and other leaders, too—who can serve in various capacities and offer different perspectives about moving forward.”
Peers describe her as a pioneer for women seeking to pursue a career in higher education, an advocate for students, and a strong proponent of student leadership and learning.
“We feel fortunate to have someone with her capabilities helping to bring additional focus to this important area of the university,” said Piedmont University President Dr. James F. Mellichamp.
Crawford is a role model, leader, and mentor, said Zac Moore, Student Life and Leadership director and Title IX coordinator.
“She is a role model who is always professional, poised, and one of the hardest workers I have ever met. She is a great example of women in leadership and deserves to be in her role,” Moore said. “I am excited to see the continued impact she has at Piedmont and in our field through her new position.”
Called to work with students
Crawford knew her calling was to work with students after taking a job at South Texas College as a student activities specialist.
“I never looked back,” she said. “I stay focused on students because ultimately that has been the driver and my passion all along.”
Dr. Dan Silber, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Piedmont, praised Crawford as a “hands-on” leader who “models dedication and commitment to students.”
She brings the student voice to her work on committees, projects, and strategic planning initiatives.
The value of education
Crawford might have missed out on opportunities like that had she stayed with South Texas College (33,000 students) or worked for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (32,500), where she achieved one of her life goals: earning her doctorate.
“I was the first in my family to do that, so it was a great accomplishment,” she said. “I’ve always been very goal-driven.”
The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration took one year longer to achieve than Crawford had planned. That goal was interrupted when she moved to another state, had a baby, and changed jobs.
She is still getting used to being addressed as “Dr.,” let alone the other titles she has earned. When she hears them coupled with her name, she remembers “how valuable your education can truly be. No one can take your education away from you. Even still today, it is a very proud moment.”
Prioritizing student safety
The titles brought with them more responsibility, and Crawford has stepped up to meet those challenges and more. In the wake of COVID, she developed protocols that prioritized student safety, often working late into the evening and on weekends and sacrificing personal family time to get it done.
“A lot of the credit for Piedmont’s ability to house students in residence halls and conduct face-to-face classes in such a challenging environment goes to Dr. Crawford,” Silber said. “She was a key voice on our COVID-19 Task Force in developing guidelines and procedures for a successful school year.
“She truly impressed all of us during the height of the pandemic with the steps she took to keep students safe.”
Her hard work paid off as Piedmont was able to do what few other institutions did in fall 2020. It remained open for faculty, staff, and students.
“My passion for students allowed me to stay focused,” Crawford said. “I want students to feel supported. They come to Piedmont because we are a family, and we take that seriously.”
When she is in need of a boost, former students keep Crawford going. Some call or message with news about jobs and other successes. Others tell her that she “heard” them like no one else. Some look back on the challenges they overcame with her guidance.
All of them say “thank you.”
“It never gets old,” she said.