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Spring 2011

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Reflections from the Dean
Ramona Mellott, PhD

Ramona Mellott, Dean

Another year has passed! And it's been a banner year for graduate education at NAU.

GSO/GSG  The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) worked hard on putting all the pieces together to move beyond club status and become an independent entity equivalent to ASNAU. Members drafted a constitution and bylaws. They held elections, and 26 students ran for 16 positions. We have a budget for next year (a big thanks to ASNAU for working with us), and above all, we have a voice, a specifically graduate-student voice!

I am excited to continue in my role as advisor for the graduate organization, now known as GSG (Graduate Student Government). I would like to welcome the new officers and representatives and look forward to working with you in 2011-12. I would be remiss if I did not extend a special thank you to our outstanding GSO president, Sheena Kauppila, who led the charge; her executive team, Vice-President Athena Hagerty, Secretary Moussa Tankari, and Communications Officer Mariah Giardina; as well as the graduate student department representatives and volunteers. You did it!

TUITION WAIVER  Full-time graduate assistants will receive a 100 percent in-state tuition waiver beginning in fall 2011. Thank you to President Haeger, Provost Grobsmith, and all the leaders at the university that provided their support for this proposal despite extremely difficult financial times. This is indeed a momentous step for our graduate students who work hard for the university and contribute significantly to the university’s mission.

UGC  A special note of appreciation to our dedicated and hardworking University Graduate Committee led by Richard Rogers from communication who chaired the committee, his review team (Chris Lockwood, business; Karen Plager, nursing; Niranjan Venkatraman, engineering; and Steve Hempleman, biological sciences), and all the program representatives of UGC. Together, they reviewed close to three hundred proposals (up 200 percent from last year!) and helped streamline graduate education at NAU. A special thanks to Chris Lockwood who will be retiring this month. He has served UGC tirelessly these last few years. We will miss you, Chris!

IN THE NEWS  The newsletter is chock-full of all the exciting news and events that happen this time each year. We had our first ever university-wide Graduate Teaching Seminar led by Faculty Development Director Linda Shadiow this spring. The one-hour-per-week seminar was a hit, and we will continue to offer it in the coming year.

I would like to congratulate all of you who worked hard and submitted applications for local and national awards and scholarships. I will mention a few, but I urge you to read through the various sections of this e-newsletter to learn more about each accomplishment. Cindy Liu will attend the Lindau meeting in June as NAU's first representative. She will interact with Nobel laureates and participate in discussions on medicine and physiology along with other graduate students and junior researchers from around the world. Of the American group attending this meeting, Cindy was one of two selected as official U.S. delegates. Tabitha Graves received not one, but two prestigious fellowships this spring: one each from P.E.O and AAUW.

Jennifer Ginther will complete her two-year term as a student regent on the Arizona Board of Regents in June 2011. She worked particularly on issues such as tuition and financial aid and served on the new Research Task Force, where she was a voice for the importance of university research to a broader public audience. Thank you, Jenn, for your fine work on behalf of students and higher education in Arizona.

SUPERLATIVE SUPPORT!   Finally, I would like to thank our hardworking and dedicated staff at the Graduate College and the offices of Student and Departmental Account Services, the Registrar, Financial Aid, ASNAU, Student Life, Center for International Education, Human Resources, Faculty Development, Research, Grants and Contracts, Sponsored Projects, and the faculty and staff in our academic units who work hard to ensure that our graduate students and graduate assistants have a great experience at NAU.

I would like to congratulate all of our master’s and doctoral students who are getting ready to graduate. I wish you much success in your chosen career and life path.

To our returning students, 2011-12 promises to be an exciting year, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you. Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance. Have a wonderful summer!

Ramona