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Finding a True Calling: from Assigning the News to Making it

Tiffany Boykin, Dean of Student Engagement
Wingspan, Fall 2019

Tiffany Boykin, Ph.D., Esq., AACC's dean of student engagement, was on track to the job of her dreams. She was studying for a master’s degree, aiming to become on-air talent after three years on the assignment desk of a Baltimore television news station.

Overwhelmed by both working full time and her studies, she quit her full-time job and started a temporary, part-time administrative assistant position at Baltimore City Community College to help her financially get through the end of her degree at Towson University.

With an encouraging supervisor, she got involved with committees in student affairs. Then she started teaching and getting to know the staff, faculty and students in the same disadvantaged community where she grew up.

“The students were amazing – their experiences, their stories,” she said. “Something really magical happens in their time in college. I love helping them navigate that and then go on to be successful there and beyond.”

That dream job she was working toward – CNN in Atlanta did offer it to her. Boykin turned it down. She found a different dream job. With a doctorate in higher education administration, Boykin is now dean of student engagement at AACC. She also has been recognized recently as one of the “Diverse Top 35 Women in Higher Education” by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

For her doctorate, Boykin researched minority students in higher education — a choice based on her own experiences. She came from a historically marginalized community and urban school system, and was threatened with being dropped from school due to nonattendance.

“I really wanted to look at, ‘What are those experiences? What are those factors for success versus failure?’.”

She sees community colleges as a great educational starting point, no matter what prior experiences a student has had in school. In fact, Boykin said she’s thrilled more and more people are seeing community college as a first choice. “Community college is a place for high achievers, for people who have incredible dreams and aspirations, for people who want to thrive in a place that has programs, and faculty and staff that are going to support their goals and help them to succeed.” 

Boykin also holds a juris doctor, and is principal attorney at Boykin Legal Solutions LLC, specializing in immigration and family law. She enjoys spending time with her husband, a high school science teacher, and their two sons, ages 3 and 5.