Valerie Simmons-Walston will serve as The University of Toledo’s interim vice president for student affairs, beginning Friday, Sept. 10.
Simmons-Walston will lead the UToledo Division of Student Affairs while the University conducts a national search for the next permanent vice president. Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell recently accepted a new position as vice president for campus engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion and special assistant to the president at Cleveland State University. His last day at UToledo is Sept. 10.
Since joining the University in 2017 in her current role as associate vice president of student affairs and director of residence life, she is responsible for Residence Life, Housing, the Student Union, Upward Bound, Toledo Excel and Recreational Services. She also previously served at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga. for 11 years specializing in the roles of student retention and success, judicial officer and culminating in the position of dean of students. Walston also served as a guidance director for eight years in the Norfolk Public Schools system.
“Valerie is a passionate student advocate who works tirelessly to support our students. Her work on the COVID-19 response committee during the past year and a half shows her leadership and dedication to her work, and more importantly, to our students’ wellbeing,” UToledo President Gregory Postel said.
Originally from Cleveland, Simmons-Walston has more than 20 years of public education experience, including nearly 15 years in higher education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kent State University and her master’s degree in counseling from Hampton University. She is currently writing her dissertation for her doctorate degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
In addition, Dr. Sammy Spann has agreed to assist with the transition as the interim senior associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students.
“I am confident that together with Dr. Spann and our amazing Student Affairs team, our students will have an outstanding experience this fall,” Simmons-Walston said. “To our students, you have my commitment that our focus will be on ensuring you have all of the resources and support you need to fulfill your potential here at UToledo.”