Dean’s Welcome

As many of you know, Dean Stapleton has been tapped for the role of Interim Provost for the transitional first year of Dr. Edward Montgomery’s presidency. Contrary to popular belief, she actually cannot be in two places at once, so I have stepped up to fill the role of Acting Dean of the Graduate College at Western Michigan University for a one-year term. My dedication to graduate education started well before I became Associate Dean of the Graduate College in 2014. I came to WMU in 1996 as Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and progressed through the ranks to Full Professor. Throughout my career, I have focused on mentoring students and have supervised the research projects of 5 doctoral, 9 masters, and 74 undergraduate students. From 2010 to 2014 I served as graduate advisor for the Department of Biological Sciences. My experience teaching a professional development course for graduate students in the sciences led to the creation of the new Plan It 4-Ward Individualized Development Plan now available for all graduate students. WMU now participates in the worldwide Three Minute Thesis competition, which challenges graduate students to explain their work in 180 seconds; for the last two years, our University-wide winners have gone to the regional competitions. I also oversee the university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate. At this time, eight students have enrolled in this program, with inquiries coming in daily from prospective students. I have also worked closely with Epigeum (now with Oxford University Press) on their “Advising Doctoral Students” tutorial for faculty and am working on additional mentoring resources to assist faculty in becoming great advisors. Since becoming Associate Dean I have continued to mentor students in my lab as well as serve faculty, students, and staff as a resource regarding university policies and procedures related to graduate education. As Acting Dean of the Graduate College, I look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the amazing faculty, staff and students of Western Michigan University.
A photo of Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, Acting Dean of the Graduate College

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