Sylvia Sims-Gray

A photo of Sylvia  Sims-Gray


Social Work

358 Marshall



  • Ph.D., Wayne State University
  • MSW, Michigan State University
  • BA, Tennessee State University


  • Nybell, Lynn and Sylvia Sims Gray (2009). Everyday Dramas, Possible Plots: On Assessing Cultural Competency in a Child Welfare Agency, Reflections (15) Summer, Number 3.
  • Gray, Sylvia Sims and Nybell, (2007). Putting Education in Context: Preparing Students for Practice in an Urban Center, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 27 (1), 213–232.
  • Nybell, Lynn and Sylvia Sims Gray (2004). Race, Space, Place: Meaning of "Cultural Competence" in Three Child Welfare Agencies, Social Work 49 (1). 17–25.


  • SWRK 488 Field Experience I
  • SWRK 489 Field Experience II
  • SWRK 451 Practice Issues with People of Color
  • SWRK 526 People of Color:  A Strengths Perspective
  • SWRK 688 Field Experience III
  • SWRK 689 Field Experience IV


Areas of Interest

  • Social work practice in urban centers
  • Cultural competent practice
  • Cultural competent organizational development
  • African American children and families

Activities and Accomplishments

Dr. Gray has been committed to preparing practitioners for responsible and effective service delivery work with communities of color. She has an extensive history of working on both state and federal training grants as well as consulting with a host of agencies striving to become culturally competent in their philosophy, policies, staffing and practice interventions.

Practice Experience

With Dr. Lynn M. Nybell, Dr. Gray provides consultation to agencies in southeastern Michigan on culturally competent organizational development. She has served as a community cultural expert for the Boulevard Temple/Eastern Michigan University Collaborative Project and as faculty liaison for the Comer Schools and Families Initiative, Detroit Public Schools. Prior to taking a position at Eastern Michigan University, Dr. Gray served as director of the National Child Welfare Training Center (University of Michigan), and held positions in administration, training and child welfare within the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Honors and Awards

  • Eastern Michigan University, Sabbatical Leave Award (2007). Defining the Artistry of Culturally Competent Leadership for Social Work Students in Different and Challenging Times.
  • Eastern Michigan University, Everett L. Marshall Fellow Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005).
  • Eastern Michigan University, Women of Excellence Award (2003).
  • Eastern Michigan University, Sabbatical Leave Award (1999–2000). In the Vanguard: Learning from Community Based African American Programs and Agencies.
  • Eastern Michigan University, Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award (1998).