Monday, November 18, 2019

Academic Affairs announces organizational changes in the UTSA Graduate School

Academic Affairs announces organizational changes in the UTSA Graduate School

(Aug. 24, 2018) – UTSA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School Can Saygin recently announced several organizational changes.

“Because graduate programming plays such a critical role in UTSA’s strategic vision, it was important to ensure the structure and functions of the Graduate School align closely with those institutional goals,” said Espy. “Most important, this direction was needed both to support our goal of increasing graduate enrollment and to better enable our students to thrive academically and professionally.”

As part of the restructuring, the Graduate School is being reorganized into three operational units: Graduate Strategic Enrollment, Professional Development, and Academic Services. Notably, Graduate Strategic Enrollment combines the graduate recruitment and admissions functions into one area. Kristine Benne, who previously served as assistant dean and director of graduate recruitment and student engagement, will oversee that area as assistant dean and director of graduate strategic enrollment.

“These changes are intended to streamline administrative processes within the school and also to prepare for the university’s adoption of a new budget model, which will better support management of graduate programs and facilitate accountability at the academic college level,” said Saygin. “Additionally, an external review helped to validate this direction to re-envision the Graduate School as a service organization.”

A number of personnel changes have been made as part of the Graduate School restructuring. UTSA faculty members Gerald Juhnke, Mariela Rodriguez and Janakiram Seshu, who each hold part-time positions as associate deans in the Graduate School, will resume their faculty roles full-time effective December 31, 2018. These associate dean positions within the Graduate School are being eliminated from the school’s administrative structure.

“We are enormously grateful to Drs. Juhnke, Rodriguez and Seshu for their administrative service but even more so for their steadfast dedication to UTSA’s graduate students,” said Espy. “Their talents as instructors, scholars and mentors are most critically needed in their home departments where they can work more directly with those students and have the greatest impact for the university.”

Additionally, several graduate school staff members will join other units within Academic Affairs in order to strengthen these areas that are vital to the success of several institutional initiatives:

  • Ana Leos, who was serving as associate director of graduate admissions and international student services, will join the Office of International Programs. Additionally, she will continue to support the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) system implementation project at the institutional level.
  • Monica Rodriguez, who was serving as assistant dean and director of graduate admissions, will join the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to support graduate program review and efforts related to National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility, which is part of the Research Excellence initiative. Administrative associate Evelyn Vanderburg also is joining the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to assist with process mapping and improvement projects.
  • Cyrus Fernandez, who was serving as assistant director of student success and professional development, will join University College to support experiential learning initiatives for undergraduates.
  • Marketing coordinator Elda Barajas and office assistant Rochelle Arruda will join a newly organized Academic Communications team.

The UTSA Graduate School offers more than 120 doctoral and master’s degree programs and certificates. Most recently, UTSA began a new Ph.D. program in civil engineering this fall. More than 4,200 graduate students are enrolled across seven colleges and the Graduate School.

Rebecca Luther


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