Karen P. DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2015 Presidential Principles of Community Award.
The Presidential Principles of Community Award was established in 2014 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to recognize faculty and staff members who exemplify and promote a welcoming and inclusive environment, in accordance with the Principles of Community at Virginia Tech. One staff or faculty member is selected annually to receive this award. The award recipient is selected by the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and receives a $2,000 cash prize.
“In her current role as vice president and dean for graduate education, Karen has created a graduate experience model that is steeped in both the spirit and intent of our Principles of Community,” John Dooley, chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation, wrote in his letter of nomination. “Every administrative decision and action coming from her office has been tested to the trueness of the Principles of Community. She not only ‘gets it,’ she is passionate about it and is anxious to convey how our principles are foundational to all that we do.”
DePauw has built an international reputation as a leader in inclusive graduate education. She frequently works with educators at international universities to emphasize the added value that diversity and inclusion bring to a community, as well the individual learning of the person within the community.
DePauw has made more than 50 presentations in the United States and across the world and has served in leadership roles in regional and national professional organizations. She serves as the principal investigator, along with her Virginia Council of Graduate Schools colleagues, for a National Science Foundation grant to develop a model for diversifying the pool of future graduate professionals, particularly minority students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
DePauw also established Dean's Diversity Assistantships that are awarded to eight faculty-nominated prospective students who show strong promise and add to the diversity of the academic department. These are matching awards in which the department commits one year of assistantship, which affords the student two fully funded years of graduate education.
With her encouragement, the Graduate School sponsors annual diversity and inclusion events, including Gay in Appalachia, graduation ceremonies (Donning of the Kente, Hispanic/Latino Achievement Ceremony, and Lavender Ceremony), and Ebony Affair.
DePauw holds membership in national diversity forums, such as the Bouchet Honor Society and National Name Exchange, and is affiliated with the National Center for Institutional Diversity.
Among her other accomplishments at the university, DePauw developed the Transformative Graduate Education Initiative, the Global Perspectives Program, and the award-winning Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.
DePauw earned a bachelor’s degree from Whittier College, a master’s degree from California State University Long Beach, and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s College.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.