Search committee seeks nominees for dean of the Graduate School

Alumni Hall (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente has charged a committee comprising faculty and graduate students with conducting the search for the next dean of the Graduate School.

Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education, will chair the committee.

Susan Wente (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

“We are entering a transformational time for graduate education at Vanderbilt, and this search will identify a dean prepared to lead us forward,” Wente said. “I’m grateful to the committee members for their willingness to serve at this important time.”

Wente recently announced several key investments in graduate education, with the hiring of a new dean who will be solely dedicated to graduate education identified as being a top priority.

The new dean also will be charged with implementing the “vision” priorities of the Graduate Education Study Group. Those priorities include:

  • Becoming a robust resource for all graduate students and providing infrastructure and support that empowers all individual programs to address specific needs and requirements;
  • Ensuring equality and excellence in graduate education through recruiting those with diverse backgrounds and perspectives as well as providing an inclusive and supportive environment for academic success;
  • Offering career development services for today’s market across the spectrum of disciplines, with an awareness of needs throughout the entire graduate training period. The programming should also be available to postdoctoral trainees; and
  • Promoting graduate education at Vanderbilt by elevating its profiles and raising awareness of its programs using a variety of tools and tactics that will include measuring and assessing impact, tracking and analyzing data in collaboration with Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group, defining benchmarks, overseeing reviews and best practices implementation, and developing new strategies and incentives for innovative and sustainable graduate student support.

The dean of the Graduate School is the chief administrator for all graduate programs within the university’s schools and colleges. The Graduate School is the pathway and official school of record for graduate student applications, admissions, registration and enrollment, monitoring and recording of academic progress and milestones (residency, qualifying examinations, candidacy, defense of dissertation), and the awarding of degrees. In addition, the Graduate School dean will oversee diversity, professional development, placement and post-doctoral affairs offices. Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Affairs John Geer has been serving as interim deanof the Graduate School since Jan. 1, 2015. The search committee members are:

  • Camilla Benbow, search committee chair, Patricia Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development;
  • Joey Barnett, assistant dean, physician-researcher training; director, Office of Medical student research; professor and acting chair, Department of Pharmacology;
  • Paul DeHart, professor of theology; chair, Graduate Department of Religion;
  • Katharine Donato, professor of sociology;
  • Leolene Jean, graduate student, biological sciences;
  • Kane Jennings, professor and chair, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering;
  • Keivan Stassun, senior associate dean for graduate education and research, College of Arts and Science; professor of physics and astronomy; director, Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-Intensive Astrophysics; founding director, Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program;
  • Amie Thurber, graduate student, human and organizational development; and
  • Tiffiny Tung, associate professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Anthropology.

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