Griffin says goodby after 30 years of service in class, administration

Rita Forbes

When Dr. Betsy Griffin came to Missouri Southern as an assistant professor of psychology in 1978, she didn’t plan to stay long.

“I thought, ‘I should stay here three years so I look stable,'” she said. “So my three years stretched to 30. You know, you don’t want to look like you’re job hopping.”

Over the course of 30 years, Griffin has served the University in many ways. She spent 10 years as the head of the psychology department and has served as both interim vice president for academic affairs and interim dean of the school of education. She has also continued to teach throughout her career.

Currently, Griffin serves as assistant vice president for academic affairs. But she will retire in June, taking a new position with the Policy Center on the First Year of College in North Carolina.

Griffin has co-coordinated MSSU’s self-study for the accreditation process twice, in 1995-1998 and 2005-2006. Both times, the University received a 10-year reaccreditation. A key component of the latest self-study was students’ first year at the University.

“We systematically looked at the whole first year, and we came up with a variety of recommendations on how to improve it,” she said. “And out of that we’ve got the new First-Year Experience program, the new course, the new common reading program, revisions to advising, we have a new diversity awareness committee that’s working on making sure that issues of diverse thinking as well as diverse cultural experiences work their way into the curriculum a little bit more.”

She is eager to help other schools make improvements, too.

“I hope my new role helps to stimulate those good things in other institutions,” Griffin said.

Her active involvement and service across campus mean she will be missed at MSSU.

“She worked to benefit the department tirelessly,” said Dr. Gwen Murdock, head of the psychology department. “She organized ways of solving problems and approaching problems which I continue to use today. She probably doesn’t realize how much she mentored me.”