The Graduate College

Spring 2012

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Reflections from the Dean
Ramona Mellott, PhD

Ramona Mellott, Dean

At the start of the school year I received the school schedule for my son, who is a junior in high school. To my delight, one of his teachers for Spanish III was none other than Emily Manone, who received the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. One of our feature articles, "Outstanding Alums," provides a snapshot across the campus of many of our graduates who do us proud. We will continue to include this feature, so please keep us informed and let us know what you are doing as you progress in your career.

I had another exciting experience. Just last week I was in Washington, D.C. for the release of the newest Pathways Report commissioned by the Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service. The commission focused on graduate student knowledge of career options and how students learn about career opportunities, and the roles we all play in informing and guiding our students in their career paths. Three major groups were surveyed—students, employers, and university leaders. One of the things we learned from employers is that they value teamwork, communication, and project management skills. Our graduate students would like more information on careers before they make program and career choices. University administrators learned that students need more information and that we should be tracking our recent graduates so we can better advise students about the various career pathways taken by their peers.

So as many of you prepare for graduation and your own career pathways, I wish you much success. I also urge you to participate in some of the follow-up surveys so we are better informed about the pathways you have chosen and things we can do to help our future students.

Other highlights for the year include a successful year for the newly independent Graduate Student Government (GSG). As GSG established its organization and presence in the university community, representatives were able to assist many graduate students. More than 200 students were recipients of student travel awards through the GSG. They also hosted a successful regional conference where graduate student leaders from many graduate schools in the western region got together and discussed emergent leadership issues. I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to GSG officers and representatives for the successful year. We just completed our elections for the slate of officers and representatives for 2012-13, and I would like to extend a warm welcome to them.

A special note of appreciation to our dedicated and hardworking University Graduate Committee led by Niranjan Venkatraman from Engineering who chaired the committee, his review team (Marcia Metcalf, Business; Karen Plager, Nursing; Gretchen McAllister, Education; and John Masserini, Music), and all the program representatives of UGC. Together, they reviewed 217 items, created or changed several policies related to graduate education, and reviewed many new programs which will begin in the coming year.

The newsletter is chockfull of all the exciting news and events that happen this time each year. So I encourage you to read about the wonderful activities our students are engaged in locally and globally, plus the other feature articles. A special thanks to all our contributors for taking the time and sharing their insights.

I also would like to thank our hardworking and dedicated staff at the Graduate College and the offices of Student and Departmental Account Services, the Registrar, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Financial Aid, ASNAU, GSG, Student Life, Center for International Education, Human Resources, Faculty Development, Advancement, 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.

Finally, 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, I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the coming year. Do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance.

Have a wonderful summer!

Ramona