Community Education Statewide News Women

Flint resident and co-pastor to receive the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award

Featured photo: Dr. Tonya C. Bailey

Written by Tanya Terry

There are many remarkable women in the Flint community, and Dr. Tonya C. Bailey is like a shining star helping to bring hope and light to people in our city, as well as the state of Michigan.

Flint Resident Dr. Tonya C. Bailey is co-pastor of Hand of God Ministries locally.

As chief diversity officer at Lansing Community College (LCC), Bailey also provides advisement and college-wide strategic direction, as well as sets initiatives around diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and justice for the institution. She has been at LCC since 2018, and reports directly to the president of the college

A warrior in the area of reducing racism through dialogue and education, Bailey will receive the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan ACE (American Council on Education) for her positive efforts and tremendous accomplishments. The award is the highest honor for the Michigan ACE network. It is a recognition and acknowledgement of the involvement of academic and administrative leaders in higher education who go above and beyond, providing outstanding leadership as women in higher education. Bailey is creating avenues, as well as opening doors for others in her current role. She acts as an advocate for change on the campus for women.

The WISE (Women Inspiring Scholarship through Empowerment) program is one initiative that Bailey developed a couple years ago that seeks to inspire, support and empower women by offering educational opportunities to develop their knowledge & leadership skills, build professional and personal development or connections and provide and foster mentoring relationships. The program is housed at one of the centers that Bailey has expanded since her arrival at the college: the Cesar Chavez Learning Center.

“It provides one-on-one mentoring for professional women,” Bailey explained. “It provides leadership and job shadowing opportunities, and it really let’s women understand they’re not alone. It creates a sense of belonging for them as students going through higher education.”

Bailey has created several initiatives for faculty and staff that have won awards in equity and inclusion around professional development, classroom pedagogy styles and inclusion pedagogy in particular. She has created trainings and modules that help bring about a better awareness and celebration of differences among individuals. In addition, Bailey has been instrumental in creating year-long initiatives that address racism, bigotry and bias of all forms.

Bishop Le & Dr. Tonya Bailey

One of these initiatives is called We Are Better Than THAT. This initiative was motivated by the murder of George Floyd, according to Bailey.

“It has nine different principles which are reflective of the nine minutes that George Floyd was held down by the knee,” Bailey stated.

Bailey has developed partnerships with law enforcement that are on the LCC campus, as well as within the Lansing community, in order to try to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and communities of color.

Bailey has also created Courageous Conversations Undoing Racism.

“That is both campus and community-wide to help provide conversations and dialogue around the areas of race in order to mitigate and eradicate practices, policies and procedures that inhibit our overall success as a community.”

Dr. Tonya Bailey Muslim Students on LCC campus Thursday November 29, 2018. KEVIN W. FOWLER PHOTO

For more information on the Michigan ACE (American Council on Education), visit

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