Associate professor's dedication to racial justice earns her invitation to White House

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Glinda Rawls, associate professor of counselor education, attended the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) Holiday Open House at the White House last December. Dr. Rawls received an invitation to the event for her service as Chair of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Racial Justice Committee, a position she has held since December 2020. The invitation came from AAUP's executive director, Julie Schmid, who heads the associations national office.

Dr. Rawls poses in front of official White House portrait of former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

During the event, members of the AFT, AAUP and other various union representatives and leaders were able to network while on a special tour of the White House. Among many incredible moments, Dr. Rawls describes her favorite as viewing the official White House portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, which was unveiled on September 9, 2022.

“My favorite part of visiting the White House was viewing the photo of Mrs. Michelle Obama and being in the White House,” says Dr. Rawls. “It was the most memorable experience of my life.”

The AAUP Racial Justice Committee that Dr. Rawls chairs was formed in response to a large number of protests following racial incidents the summer of 2020. Considering these recent events, AAUP was committed to better understanding and addressing systemic racism within the association (including regional chapters) and the organization (headquarters in Washington, D.C.). Dr. Rawls began her three-year term not long before the committee formed, aiming to help the AAUP in its mission to advance academic freedom and hared governance and to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education.

“I am very proud to be on the AAUP national council and to have been appointed to chair a very significant committee within the AAUP,” Dr. Rawls stated shortly after her appointment as chair was announced. 


Dr. Rawls has been at the university since 2007, teaching graduate students who are pursuing master's and doctoral degrees in counselor education. Prior to teaching, she was a college counselor for six years. She is a licensed mental health profession and is credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Michigan. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) which are certifications issued by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and a Master Career Counselor (MCC) which is a certification issued by the National Career Development Association.