Spartans recognized for contributions to higher education

February 29, 2024

Michigan State University College of Education Spartans were among 40 women honored by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for their contributions to higher education. Faculty leaders Emily Bouck and Sheneka Williams were listed in the annual publication.  

Sheneka Williams (left) and Emily Bouck (right)

The accolade celebrates “women who have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their respective communities,” according to Diverse. They are honored in the February 29 edition. 


Bouck, a professor of special education, was recently promoted to associate dean for research after serving in an interim role since 2021. Previously, Bouck was also the director of special education programs within the college. She was among the leadership who created the M.A. in Special Education Leadership: Multitiered Systems of Support (MTSS) in 2019 and supported the creation of the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2021.  

Emily Bouck, associate dean and professor

Today, the college offers six degree-granting special education programs and a graduate certificate in MTSS. Since Bouck joined the college in 2014, the college has consistently ranked among the nation’s best for offering special education programming. In 2024, MSU ranked #5 in the U.S. for online master’s programs in special education.  


Williams, an education policy and leadership scholar, became chair of the Department of Educational Administration in 2020. Under her leadership, the department has grown, including introducing a new doctoral program in 2023: the Ed.D. in Leadership for Equity-Minded Change in Postsecondary Education.  The Department of Educational Administration offers eight graduate-level programs, including the M.A. in Student Affairs Administration, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024. In 2023, all academic areas within the department – K-12 Educational Administration; Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education and Education Policy – were ranked in the nation’s top 10 for graduate studies in education.  

Sheneka Williams, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration

Williams, who has a research background in rural education and school desegregation, was recently named a co-principal investigator on a more than $7.7 million U.S. Department of Education-funded grant. The work will implement evidence-based, culturally responsive science learning initiatives with high schoolers in the U.S. rural South to improve their understanding of chemistry and physics. 

Spartan pride

“This external distinction highlights the consistent commitment to growth from Sheneka Williams and Emily Bouck,” said Jerlando F. L. Jackson, College of Education Dean and MSU Research Foundation Professor. “In their leadership roles, they critically examine how processes and programs can be more effective and inclusive. They are recognized leaders of research, teaching and outreach within their fields. It is an honor to count them amongst our Spartan community.”  

A College of Education alum was also named an outstanding leader by Diverse. Sian Beilock — who earned multiple degrees from MSU, including a doctorate in Kinesiology — was also listed in the 2024 publication. Beilock is the first female president at Dartmouth.