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Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education

Karen P. DePauw

Karen DePauw
Karen P. DePauw

The Graduate School currently offers more than 150 masters’ and doctoral programs for nearly 6,900 students at multiple locations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and at selected international sites. The Vice President and Dean has the responsibility and budgetary authority over all operations of a centralized Graduate School, including admissions, academic progress, academic program development and review, alumni relations, data analysis, development and fundraising, digital initiatives and technology enhancement, diversity and inclusion efforts, engagement initiatives, enrollment management, fellowships and assistantships, global initiatives and international programs, graduate honor system, graduate policies and procedures, international student services, interdisciplinary graduate programs, recruitment and retention, student activities and support services, and Transformative Graduate Education (TGE) initiatives.  In addition, the Vice President and Dean serves as advisor to several graduate students organizations including the Graduate Student Assembly, Alpha Epsilon Lambda (AEL – honorary society for graduate students) and the Interdisciplinary Research Society (IDR).  The Vice President and Dean supervises a staff of 50+ individuals on the main campus in Blacksburg and the university's urban campus located in Falls Church in northern Virginia.

Significant initiatives include:

  • Success in increasing graduate enrollment and enhancing the compensation package, including stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance premium coverage;
  • Building a diverse and inclusive graduate community;
  • Establishing the unique and innovative national award-winning Graduate Life Center (GLC), including the GLC Plaza and Amphitheatre;
  • Creating the signature initiative known as Transformative Graduate Education (TGE), which provides opportunities for graduate students to acquire knowledge, leadership skills and professional development that complement disciplinary training and better prepare graduates to assume roles within higher education and as careers professionals outside academe. Students have the opportunity to earn the graduate Certificate in Future Professoriate by completing graduate courses that include the Future Professoriate, Contemporary Pedagogy, Career Professional, Communicating Science, Citizen Scholar, Diversity and Inclusion in Global Society, Ethics and Scholarly Integrity, and more
  • Creating the unique Global Perspectives Program (GPP) (2006) for preparing future faculty as global citizens and in 2010 established a partnership with the University of Basel that has led to the annual conference on global higher education at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C.;
  • Developing initiatives for the innovative use of technology in operations including the Electronic Signature System (ESS) for admissions, academic progress and degree completion; development of interactive tools for the web such as the interactive graduate catalog, featured graduate student, final examination, and “by the numbers” data analysis; the use of social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook) in academic contexts as well as to enhance communication; and the development and use of a virtual GLC (vGLC);
  • Creating the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGEP) initiative with increased financial support and incentive for interdisciplinary graduate education; enhancing interdisciplinary graduate education throughout the university;
  • Success in fundraising (major gifts) and exceeding campaign goals, and acquiring extramural funding for selected initiatives.


Associate Deans

  • Kevin Edgar | Associate Dean of the Graduate School
  • William Huckle | Associate Dean of the Graduate School
    Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education
  • Kenneth Wong | Associate Dean of the Graduate School in the National Capital Region
    Director of the Northern Virginia Center

Admissions and Academic Progress

  • Janice Austin | Assistant Dean and Director


  • Catherine Grimes | Communications Manager

Data Reporting and Assessment

  • Kacy Lawrence | Director of Assessment and Strategic Data Initiatives

Finance and Administration

  • Emilee Hillman | Assistant Dean and Director of Finance and Administration

Information Technology

  • Jeremy Sippel | Director of IT


  • Bryan Hanson

Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • Shernita Lee | Assistant Dean and Director

Student Services & Graduate Honor System

  • Monika Gibson | Assistant Dean and Director

Administrative Staff

  • Roxanne Kehr  | Executive Assistant to the Vice President and Dean

Contact info

Mailing address
Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education (0325)
Graduate Life Center, Virginia Tech
155 Otey St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061

540-231-1670 (fax)