Graduate College Dean Stapleton named interim provost

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Susan Stapleton.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Susan Stapleton, the dean of the Western Michigan University Graduate College, has been appointed to serve for a year as the University's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 14.

Acting at its June 29 formal meeting, the WMU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Stapleton, whose selection was announced to the campus community in early June by WMU President John M. Dunn. She replaces Dr. Timothy Greene, who after nine years in the position, is returning to the faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Stapleton is an internationally recognized scientist with a long track record of receiving major research awards and mentoring students at both the high school and college levels. She has been serving as Graduate College dean since 2012. Prior to that, she was the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for five years.

"Dr. Stapleton brings to her new role the leadership and administrative skills she's exhibited in her current role over the past five years," Dunn said in making the announcement. "She also brings a long commitment to research and both graduate and undergraduate education."


Stapleton, who holds a joint appointment as professor of both chemistry and biological sciences, has been a faculty member at WMU since 1990. Her research expertise is in the area of understanding the regulation of carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism, including the relationship to metabolic disorders such as diabetes. She has been the recipient of major research awards from the Diabetes Research and Education Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. In 2015 and 2016, she was honored with WMU's Excellence in Discovery Award for garnering annual research and external funding of more than $1 million.

For a number of years, she has engaged students from WMU and other institutions in research training opportunities through her longstanding role as program director for an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program and as project director for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Award. As a WMU faculty member, she has welcomed students—from high school through the graduate level—into her laboratory, and has served as the research advisor for five students who have completed their doctoral degrees and 18 students who have completed their master's degrees.

Stapleton's expertise and professional input is continually sought by colleagues around the nation, and this summer she will make professional presentations on an initiative she has pioneered as graduate dean—opening WMU accelerated graduate degree programs to students from a private four-year liberal arts college.

She has served on review panels and as an ad hoc reviewer for various federal and private funding agencies. She reviews manuscripts for numerous journals, including Biochemical Journal, Biochemical Pharmacology, Diabetologia, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, and the Journal of Nutrition. In addition, she has served on the editorial boards of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education and on the Educational and Professional Development Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Stapleton earned a bachelor's degree from Juniata College in 1979 and a doctoral degree in chemistry from Miami University in 1983. From there, she went on to complete postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; at Case Western Reserve University, where she held first a National Institutes of Health Developmental Biology Traineeship and then an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship; and at the University of Iowa.

In 2007, she received the Michigan Society for Medical Research, Educational Leadership Award and in 2010-11 served as an American Council on Education Fellow. In 2013, she was honored with the National Society of Leadership and Success Excellence in Service to Students Award.

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