Meet Dean Tresmaine Grimes


Provided by Jerry McKinstry

Pace University welcomes Tresamaine Grimes as its new dean of both Dyson College of arts and Sciences and the School of Education.

Emily Teixeira

This semester, Pace welcomes Tresmaine Grimes as the new dean of both Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. Grimes describes her role as that of a facilitator, ensuring that these branches of Pace are financially stable, that students get what they paid for, and that faculty members can teach- and learn- to the best of their ability.

While here, she hopes to keep Pace’s cutting edge in terms of technology and programs, expand the student body, and maintain Pace’s best qualities and then go above and beyond.

“I think one of the things that I really love about Pace is the idea of the Pace Path,” Grimes said. “So, I’m really interested in making sure that there’s no stumbling blocks on the road for students. That’s very important to me. As every student comes in, they know that we’re doing our best work to make sure that they get the academic and emotional support the need to make sure that the Pace Path is a smooth one.”

Grimes never thought that she would end up working in higher education, but in the process of finishing her doctorate, she got the opportunity to apply for a faculty position at South Carolina State. When she got up in front of her class for the first time, she had “that teacher moment, where the students just get what you’re saying”, and she realized that she found great joy in teaching. After a while, Grimes was given the chance to become department chair. It occurred to her that, as chair, she had more influence over things that really mattered to her students.

“There were things that I could do as a leader that I could not do in the faculty role,” Grimes said. “I think that’s what got me… if you really love students and really love teaching, there are things that you can do in administration to make those areas better… you don’t just make the change in your classroom. You make the change in all the classrooms.”

After her time at SC State, Grimes moved back to New York and took a position at Iona, where she served as Assistant VP for Academic Affairs. She also served as an academic advisor to first year students. She loved the idea of helping them navigate college for the first time. Grimes also went on to be Chief Academic Officer at Bloomfield before coming to Pace.

Pace has been apart of Grimes’ life since she was a child. Her mother worked in downtown New York near Pace’s city campus, so Grimes was familiar with the school. When she saw the open position at Pace, it seemed like fate.

Joseph Franco, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Chair of the Dyson Faculty Council, recently met Grimes for the first time. He says that, in the short amount of time that he was with her, he felt a strong level of hope for the college, even in the midst of a pandemic.

“There was a level of sincerity and thoughtfulness as to how we move forward at a time when we’re struggling,” Franco said. “The hope was around the fact that she said ‘We will make it through’… She sees great things happening in the future. It was nice to hear.”

Franco went on to describe Grimes as possessing an incredible level of positivity and warmth.

The Chair of the Dyson Faculty Council will be working with Grimes to work out programs, initiatives, and an overall vision for Dyson College and its spot here at Pace.

They will also determine expectations for faculty and students and the best ways to move the college forward. Franco believes that Grimes will be able to help Pace reflect on its past accomplishments, recognize them, and from there build on those accomplishments while also addressing areas that might need improvement.

Grimes is one of the first administrators at Pace to be the permanent dean of two separate schools at once- Dyson College and School of Education. She says that, while serving this dual role, it will be important to be equally responsive to the unique needs of each school, whether that means ensuring that each department within Dyson gets the attention it needs, or helping the School of Education maintains the standards necessary to keep its accreditation with the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation.

“Juggling all of these responsibilities is only possible because I work with a phenomenal team of Assistant and Associate Deans who interact with department chairs and faculty on a regular basis so that all of this important work is accomplished,” Grimes said.

According to Franco, there might also be benefits to having one dean for both schools, seeing as they share some of the same core curriculum.

“There’s tons of overlap for both of us, both School of Education and Dyson College,” Franco said. “For instance, secondary ed majors have to choose a Dyson major as well… I see this as a time for partnerships.”

Outside of her academic career, Grimes is a pastor, and she loves spending as much time with her grandkids as she can. When Grimes was studying at Yale, she attended a class taught by author Toni Morrison (and received an A).

Grimes hopes to install every college student with one idea to help them through their college experience; to always remember that it is worth it.

“Sometimes, in those midnights, it does not feel worth it,” Grimes said. “But I will tell you as someone who took advantage of their educational opportunities, it really was worth it….I would not be the same person if I had not taken advantage of the educational opportunities offered to me… if it’s in you, that drive to get a degree and pursue a career, please don’t let anything stop you… Don’t give up on your dreams, don’t give up on your degree, don’t give up on the things that make you wake up in the morning… if you don’t struggle to get out, then you’ll never get your wings.”