The search committee for Virginia Tech’s next dean of the Graduate School invites the campus community to participate in open forum sessions for the three finalists who will take part in virtual visits to Virginia Tech later this month.

The dean has leadership responsibility for all budgetary, admissions, and program development operations of a centralized Graduate School, and serves as a member of the executive vice president and provost’s leadership team, as well as an advisor to several graduate student organizations. The new dean will replace Karen DePauw, who announced her retirement last year after a distinguished 18-year career at Virginia Tech.

Don Taylor, executive vice provost and chair of the search committee, invites all members of the campus community to meet the candidates selected for virtual open forum discussions. Each candidate will share their perspectives on “A Vision for the Future of Graduate Education: Key Opportunities for Virginia Tech.” Questions may be submitted via email during the live discussions and feedback on the candidates can be shared with the search committee following each session.

Jennifer Roberts
Wednesday, April 7
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Join via Zoom

Roberts currently serves as vice provost for graduate studies at the University of Kansas (KU). While building a strong research program, training students, and creating innovative curricula in her teaching, Roberts has also served in a variety of administrative roles at the department, college, and university levels. In all of these capacities, Roberts has managed and achieved objectives by collecting and analyzing data, incorporating input from all stakeholders to design shared goals, and encouraging broad-based teamwork based on mutual respect.

Prior to her role as vice provost, Roberts served as professor and chairperson for KU’s Department of Geology and as a postdoctoral associate with the U.S. Geological Survey-Water Resources Division. She holds a Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Trinity University.

Provide feedback on Jennifer Roberts’ Open Forum session

Aimeé Surprenant
Monday, April 12
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Join via Zoom

Surprenant is the associate vice president (academic) and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Surprenant is responsible for facilitating all aspects of graduate education for over 4,000 Memorial University graduate students – a cohort that makes up 20 percent of the university’s total student body. Her duties range from recruitment of graduate students through to convocation, and Surprenant believes that graduate education requires an advocate who can speak and work for all graduate faculty, students, and programs.

Prior to serving as associate vice president and dean at Memorial University, Surprenant was interim associate dean of science (administration and undergraduate). She is also a professor in the Department of Psychology. Surprenant earned a Ph.D., master's in philosophy, and Master of Science degree from Yale University.

Provide feedback on Aimeé Surprenant’s Open Forum session

William Graves
Tuesday, April 20
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Join via Zoom

Graves is the dean of the Graduate College at Iowa State University and a professor in the Department of Horticulture and Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His academic ethos is deeply rooted in the land-grant tradition of teaching, research, and outreach. Under Graves’ leadership, the Graduate College prioritizes enrollment management, student well-being, interdisciplinary training, strong mentor-mentee relations, data-based assessment, and innovative professional-development programming in communications, career services, and leadership.

Prior to his role as dean, Graves served as associate dean of the Graduate College and was a visiting professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Iowa State University.

Provide feedback on William Graves’ Open Forum session

The dean of the Graduate School position description, application/nomination process, and search updates are posted and available on the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost website.