Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership, Western Michigan University Educational Leadership: Higher Education Concentration Doctoral Program. Areas of Concentration: equity, access, inclusion, and leadership in higher education. Graduated: June 2014

Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education, Michigan State University  Thesis title: A profile of learner engagement within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University,Graduated August 2003

Bachelor of Science in Dietetics/Pre-Med, Michigan State University Didactics Program in Dietetics (CADE) accredited/approved, Graduated December 1999

Associate of Arts, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI. Graduated August 1996

Executive Leadership Academy University of California-Berkeley Clark Carr Campus Center for the Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) & Association for Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Completed March 2012

Emerging Leaders Program Great Lakes Leadership Academy College of Agriculture & Natural Resources in Progress Completed October 2013


2015- Current
Director of Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

  • Oversee the development of the office, hiring and training of staff.
  • Cultivating multicultural programming university wide for students, clubs and organizations.
  • Assist in the facilitation of campus dialogues on access and inclusion.
  • Maintaining office budget and ensuring that the office meets its strategic planing goals.

Sept. 2003 – 2015 
Director of Undergraduate Diversity, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Academic and Students Affairs Dean’s Office – Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan (Continuous Appointment) (Teaching 10%, Advising 50%, Outreach 30%, Other 10%)

  • Responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating program budgets to ensure annual goals and objectives are met.
  • Serve as academic advisor for students within the college.
  • Routinely disseminate information about the services offered by the university and our college to high school students, parents, counselors and when appropriate industry personnel.
  • Provide monitoring and support retention through a grant funded project Retention, Engagement, Academics and Performance (REAP) this project is aim a retaining students within the university who are academically at risk.
  • Serve on college and university-wide committees to build linkage between colleges and departments to support student retention and graduation rates.
  • Oversee pre-college initiative for the college including community outreach, mentoring, facilitating dialog on cross-cultural issues, assessing and implementing programs, and establishing goals and objectives as well as developing policies and procedures for summer programs.
  • Conducting ongoing summative and formative evaluations of programs and events.
  • Co-PI of the Multicultural Scholar Program grant (funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture) to build and sustain institutional collaborations with administrators within Lansing Community College and Bay Mills Community College to support student matriculation into a four-year institution.
  • Hire, train and evaluate staff to implement pre-college programs aimed at recruiting students into the college.
  • Build relationships with university faculty and administrators who then serve as mentors for pre-college programs.

June 2010 – August 2011
Academic Services Coordinator, College of Veterinary Medicine (Office of the Dean) – Michigan State University, E. Lansing Michigan (50% Appointment Special Project)

  • Coordinate and implement the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) [grant funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)] to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds in developing necessary skills to successfully pursue a career in the health profession.
  • Coordinate academic advising, mentoring and other services that assist students in their health profession.
  • Coordinate and implement the Select Student Support Services (4S) State of Michigan grant funded project aimed at increasing the graduation rates of admitted academically or economically disadvantage students.
  • Hire, Train and supervise undergraduate Peer Advisors so they can successfully provide support services (supplemental instruction, program planning, communication assistance, etc.) for Vetward Bound Program.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with academic partners to deliver specific services that contribute to successful academic progression and preparation for veterinary admissions.

Feb. 2007 – April 2007
Special Assignment, Community Outreach Liaison Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Initiatives – Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan (25% Appointment Special Project)

  • Developed and wrote the position description for the community outreach liaison position within the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Initiatives.
  • Facilitated discussions and built critical relationships with key personnel at MSU to enhance the cross fertilization of programming between the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and other units and colleges on campus.

April 2003 – Sept. 2003
Interim Director of Undergraduate Diversity, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Academic and Students Affairs Dean’s Office – Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan

  • Built relations with faculty at Michigan State University to maintain and expand the current summer pre-college programs in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.
  • Maintained and worked within a budget established for the college achieve annual goals and expectations.
  • Conducted ongoing summative and formative evaluations of programs and events.
  • Hired, trained, and supervised undergraduate students, student interns, and graduate assistants responsible for the day-to-day operations of pre-college programs such as the Agriculture and Natural Resources Institute for Multicultural Students-Bilingual (AIMS-B), the Agriculture and Natural Resources Institute for Multicultural Students (AIMS), and the Multicultural Apprenticeship Program (MAP).

Jan. 2002-March 2003
Graduate Student Coordinator, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Academic and Students Affairs Dean’s Office – Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan (USDA-CREES Grant Funded Multicultural Scholars Program)

  • Advised the Multicultural Scholars a group of students on a financial scholarship. Provided academic support by initiating professional development workshops, seminars and career planning activities.
  • Attended conferences and assisted in university-wide undergraduate and graduate recruitment events.
  • Tracked student academic progress and advised students based on their individual career goals.

Aug. 2001 – Jan. 2002
Substitute Spanish Teacher – Ingham Intermediate School District, Mason, Michigan

  • Developed lesson plans to teach K-8 grade Spanish.
  • Promoted a problem solving approach to teaching.
  • Implemented a variety of teaching and learning styles to address student needs in the classroom.
  • Work collectively with colleagues to implement the Spanish curriculum.

April 2000 – July 2001
Nutritional Educator – Detroit Urban League, Detroit, Michigan

  • Performed medical/nutritional evaluations for clients of the WIC program as well as dietary, anthropometrics, hematological, and health history assessments for families in Detroit and Dearborn.
  • Performed group and individual nutrition education presentations and, in conjunction with other staff personnel, assisted with the development of nutrition educational programs.
  • Developed, designed and collected educational materials for nutrition.

Jun. 1999 – Sep. 1999
Machine Operator (Summer Student) – Structural System Division, Lear Technology Corporation, Walker, Michigan

  • Lear Technology Corporation Structural System Division Walker, MI.
  • Assembly of seat components, detailed inspection of product to specifications, offline production.
  • Worked as a Machine Operator in the Production Control Activities.


April 2007 – May 2011 Served Two Terms

Member, State of Michigan Commission on Spanish Speaking Affairs – Lansing, Michigan

Appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate, I worked with 14 other individuals to develop policies and plans to serve the needs of Michigan’s Hispanic / Latino population.  Created in 1975, the Commission on Spanish-Speaking Affairs serves Michigan’s growing Hispanic/Latino population — the second largest and fastest-growing minority group in Michigan.

Commission on Spanish Speaking Affairs Education Sub-committee – Lansing, Michigan

  • Co-organized first State Statewide Education Conference at Lansing Community College.
  • Co-organized second Annual Statewide Education Conference, held at Saginaw Valley State University, to address challenges facing Hispanic students and improving access to postsecondary education.  Conference title: “Postsecondary Education for All – Transition to Success”


ANR 491: Preparing for Academic Success and Exploring Careers in Agriculture and Natural Resources Spring 2012 to Fall 2014

Course Description: The new changes in demographics, technology and industry will challenge this generation like no other has been challenged. The 21st century workplace will be increasingly diverse, necessitating leaders who are strong communicators, problem solvers, trust builders and systems thinkers. Through a process of introspection and interactive experiences, this course will improve your writing; enhance your decision making and critical thinking skills and expose you to university resources and to multiple career paths in Agriculture and Natural Resources through exploration of undergraduate majors offered by MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

PRO 101: Multicultural Dimensions of Leadership  Fall 2006 to Fall 2007

Course Description: Develop skills to examine organizational challenges as they pertain to power and privilege, multiculturalism and diversity. Prepare students to respect and engage people from different social and cultural backgrounds and to harness these differences to successfully lead an organization. Develop a learning community on issues related to diversity and multiculturalism and investigate experiences related to differences and how these experiences have influenced our understanding of the world.  Students develop a leadership “plan of action” that is related to diversity and multiculturalism.

(Site Leader) Study Abroad China, Beijing & Chengdu Course “Culture, Science, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in China” Expected: (May – June 2015)

(Co-Site Leader) Study Abroad Argentina Course “Globalization, the Environment and Social Capital” (2007)

(Co-Site Leader) Merida, Mexico, Alternative Spring Break, Michigan State University (1999) Guiding Focus of the Course: Social Change, Student Leadership, Empowerment, and Working together


Dissertation:  Savala, L.(2014). The Experiences of Latina/o Executives in Higher Education. Published dissertation, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Thesis Savala, L.(2003). A Profile of Learner Engagement within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.  Published master’s thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Published Articles
Wille, C. & Savala, L. (2014, January- February). Preparing Students for Academic Success and Exploring Careers in Agriculture and Natural Resources. Adelante Forward Gracias Farmworkers Campesinos, p. 28-29.

Foster, F. & Savala, L. (2011). Engaging Under-represented Youth in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources through Pre-College Residential Summer Programs. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Journal 56(2): 38-46. Honorable Mention

Constan, Z., Ratkos, J. & Savala, L. (2011). “Advancing Knowledge and Transforming Lives on Pre-College Youth for Eventual College Success: Report on Pre-College Programs.” (2010-2011).

Savala, L. & Farrell, P. (2006). “Examining Access and Retention of Underrepresented Students in Agriculture and Related Programs.” Accepted as Scholarly paper at the Association for Institutional Research, 46th annual AIR Forum entitled Effectiveness Through Diversity (2006).


Add National Center for Institutional Diversity 

2014 Hispanic Alumni for the Year. Michigan State University Latino Alumni Association

2013. Educator of the Year Award. Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan and Hispanic Caucus.

2009 Graduate Student Conference Fellowship – One of 15 students (from a pool of 80 across the U.S.) that received the Fellowship from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.

2005-2006.  “Walter Adams Advisor of the Year.”  Michigan State University Student Life Leadership Award. (Honorable Mention).

2005 Michigan State University Excellence in Diversity Award.

2002 TOCE Community Involvement Scholarship, Michigan State University

2002 Graduate Student Summer Accelerated Fellowship, Michigan State University.



Grand Rapids Community College Latino Youth Conference EL Poder de Sonar. The Power of Dreams Succeeding in College & Opportunities in CANR (2013, 2014)

A Unified Front for University Pre-College Programs Room: Zach Constan, Michigan State University; Judy Ratkos, Michigan State University; Leonard A. Savala, Michigan State University. Engagement Scholarship Consortium 12th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference. Michigan State University (2011). 

Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference: Building Youth Assets as a Long-Term Strategy Toward a Better Michigan Title: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Pre-College Programs Best Practices: Establishing and Maintaining a Meaningful Summer Program Experience (2008)

Southern/North Central Region Joint APS Staff Workshop, NC. Workshop Title: Recruiting New Audiences (urban, underrepresented, distance). (2008)

Best Practices in Diversity Conference, Michigan State University. Title: Pre-College Recruitment Efforts (2003, 2005)

National Agricultural Education Research Conference (2003)
Farm Research Cooperative Michigan Family Farm Conference (Opened Morning Session)

Overview of Pre-college programs in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources (2006)


Critical Supports in Higher Education: Partners in Student Success: GradNation Community Summit 2016. United Way for Southeastern Michigan. 

Dreams Not to Be Deferred: Supporting the Success of Black Men and Boys (November, 2016) Funded By the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and BMe Community Detroit. McGregor Memorial Conference Center, Detroit. MI.

Enhancing the Student Experience: The Role of Study Abroad in Student Success, Michigan State University: Faculty and Organizational Development and the Office of Study Abroad Workshop, (2014)” Topic: Recruitment and Retention of first generation college students in study abroad courses.

Generation Study Abroad: Making study abroad accessible to all students, Michigan State University: Faculty and Organizational Development and the Office of Study Abroad Workshop, (2015) Topic: Best practices to recruit first-generation, high-need, and under-represented minorities on study abroad courses.
Successful Black Women of MSU Presents: Let’s take it Black; How does it feel to be you academically on MSU’s Campus (2014)

Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Conference, Diversity Forum 2003 Lessons Learned: What Works and What Hurts. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Audio/Video Interview:  

Leonard Savala. Interview with Eileen Gianiodis. Did you know? Michigan State University Extension. August. 28, 2013. Segment Aired on WKAR TV 23 in East Lansing, MI.

Leonard Savala. Interview with Jerome Vaughn. (News Director & WDET Host). All Things Considered. WSU Hires Director of Multicultural Student Engagement. September 21, 2015. Segment Aired on WDET 101.9 FM in Detroit, MI.


United States Hispanic Leadership Conference (2001, 2002, 2015)

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food & Society Networking Conference (2005)

Society for Latina/o Scholarship (SOLS) at MSU Conversaciones Conference (2005)

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (2003-2005)

Grand Valley State University Leadership Summit (2000)

Dia De La Mujer Conference at Michigan State University (2001, 2003, 2004)

Healing Racism Conference at Aquinas College (2000)

American Dietetic Association Conference in Atlanta (1999)

A.L.S.A.M.E Conference at Michigan State University (2002)

Membership Chair, National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) 2001-2012 (Planned/Hosted MANRRS Region V. Conference, 2007)

National Association of Medical Minority Educators (NAMME) (2011)
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) (2011)

American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) (2008-current)

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) (2004)

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, (SACNAS) (2004)

Society of Latino Scholars, Michigan State University (SOLS) (2003-2005)


Planning Committee: MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. 60/50 Gala Planning Committee (2015)

Search Committee: Assistant/Associate Vice Presidents for Student Affairs Search Committee: Michigan State University (2014)

Scholarship Committee: ANR Distinguished Scholarship Selection Committee: MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (2012-2013)
Board Member-Michigan State University Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Associate (CHILA) (2005-2012)

Working Group-Guided and Supported “At Risk” students: MSU Neighborhood Pilot Project (2010)

Member-Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Recruitment Committee (2001-2009)

Member-Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Office and Diversity and Pluralism Collaborative Leadership Group Committee (2001-2006)

Member-Michigan State University Pre-college University Wide Committee (2001-current)

Member-Michigan State University Office of Admissions and Scholarship College Diversity Advisory Committee (2004-2006)



Savala (May 4, 2016) Multicultural Student Engagement Learning Community. 2016-2017 Learning Community Award $17,470.

Co-PI, Savala, L. & Caldwell, J. (July 12, 2014) Coca-Cola Foundation Support for Summer Programming to China: China Study Abroad: Culture, Science, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship: Scholarship funding for 25 to 30 students at $5,000 each for total of $150,000.

Co-PI, “Increasing Diversity in Targeted Majors in the Food and the Agricultural Sciences,” United State Department of Agriculture Multicultural Scholars Grant $72,000 (2009)

Co-PI, Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant, Michigan State University, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives $10,000 (2009) Project Retention, Engagement, Academics and Performance (REAP) This grant was aimed at students who were on academic probation and at risk of having academic difficulties based upon their GPA.

Recipient, Consortium of Collegiate Agricultural Organization’s Kraft/Monsanto grant, MANRRS chapter $1,250.00 (2008)

Co-PI, Academic Program Planning and Review Recommendations Diversity funding: $26,903 Increasing University Access to Students from Urban, Rural, and Low-Income Communities. (2004)

Recipient, Daimler Chrysler Corporation Fund Aid to Higher Education $3,000 (2004) 



June 10, 2011.  Graduating Class of 2011, Cesar Chavez Academy High School, Detroit, MI.

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences MSU Chapter (2003-2012)

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (2004)

Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity International Inc. (2003-2006)


Spring 2011.  Received training for Michigan State University’s Human Resources An Advanced Program for Supervisors.

Fall 2004.  Received training for Michigan State University’s Human Resources Foundations of Effective Leadership: Succeeding at Supervision.

Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and HTML Internet applications, Excel Spreadsheet, Access and Mac software, Student Information System (SIS) Training, Dreamweaver MX web design software. Proficient in Statistical Analysis System (SAS) & Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS)