Graduate Education Reimagine Task Force

Town Hall Events

The Mason Community had the opportunity to help shape the future of Mason's graduate education by providing the Task Force feedback on the draft report. Two town hall meetings were held to engage the community and below are recordings.

Slides from Both Events

Oct. 29 Town Hall

November 1 Town Hall


In February 2021, Mason celebrated its fifth year as a research-intensive (R1) university. As we reflect on where we started and all that has been accomplished since then, there is great pride in our academic and research achievements. These accomplishments would have not been possible without the contribution of our outstanding faculty and also our graduate students. With over 10,800 students enrolled in our graduate programs, and many more students having completed their master’s or doctoral degrees, Mason has become a significant producer of advanced degrees and contributor to a specialized workforce in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

Despite our ongoing successes, Mason has been impacted by a rapid and significant growth, which has led to significant challenges that could compromise the continued success of our initiatives that advance learning, support research and also promote scholarly study and professional development opportunities. Such challenges ultimately can affect graduate students’ achievement of their personal and career goals. In recognition of these challenges, we would like to undertake an initiative that will provide an opportunity to reimagine graduate education that can help us to recruit and retain high-caliber students, provide them with experiences of academic and research excellence, and maximize their chance of success at Mason and in their future career. Currently, Mason has over 134 graduate degree programs with 93 Master’s degrees and 41 Doctoral degrees, plus 95 Graduate Certificates programs across many disciplines. This broad portfolio of academic graduate programs produces many opportunities for our students while also creating significant challenges that inhibits graduate education effectiveness and efficiency, cross-disciplinary and experiential learning, and support for career and professional development.

To address this, we are pleased to announce the Graduate Education Reimagine Task Force. The Task Force will be composed of representatives from each college/school, the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, Graduate Student Association, and possibly others. Laurence Bray, Associate Provost for Graduate Education will serve as the Chair of this Task Force.

The Charge

The charge for this group is to consider the current context for and state of graduate education at Mason. The group also is asked, among other critical issues, to consider the benefits and challenges of the prospective creation of a Graduate School at our university that could facilitate consistent and equitable expectations, opportunities both within and across academic unites and enhance structures that support graduate students.

Specifically, the following areas are to be considered:

  • Identify and review Mason’s current graduate education opportunities and associated challenges;
  • Utilizing R1 institutions’ models and best practices, review and consider strategic solutions to could help to overcome these challenges;
  • Suggest operational and structural enhancements that could facilitate the implementation of the proposed solutions;
  • Provide recommendations on what graduate education structure would best align with the University’s mission, vision, overall structure, strategic objectives, and funding allocations, including the prospective forming of a Graduate School at Mason.

The primary goal of the group to create a White Paper that can be presented to the Provost and the President by early fall 2021 that addresses the issues raised, and other associated issues that may be identified.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes


September 27, 2021 September 27 Agenda September 27 Minutes
September 20, 2021 September 20 Agenda September 20 Minutes
September 13, 2021 September 13 Agenda September 13 Minutes
August 30, 2021 August 30 Agenda August 30 Minutes
August 16, 2021 August 16 Agenda August 16 Minutes
July 19, 2021 July 19 Agenda July 19 Minutes
July 6, 2021 July 6 Agenda July 6 Minutes
June 28, 2021 June 28 Agenda June 28 Minutes
June 7, 2021 June 7 Agenda June 7 Minutes
May 24, 2021 May 24 Agenda No Minutes
May 10, 2021 May 10 Agenda May 10 Minutes
April 26, 2021 April 26 Agenda April 26 Minutes


Taskforce Members

Laurence Bray (Chair) Associate Provost for Graduate Education Grad. Ed.
Laurence Chalip Professor, Director, School of Sports, Recreation and Tourism Management CEHD
Parag Chitnis
(Ex Officio)
Associate Professor, Bioengineering, Provost Faculty Fellow Grad. Ed.
Julie Choe Kim Director, Graduate Student Life
Graduate Life
Dawn Anderson Kelley Assistant Director, Grad. Admissions (CVPA) OGAL
Kevin Connor Master’s student, Business Administration
Aurali Dade Interim Vice President for Research
Carey Drews-Botsch Professor, Chair in Global & Community Health CHHS
Jill Deering Assistant Dean, Student Affairs (Schar) GAGAA
Thomas Flores Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Programs Carter
Nuno Garoupa Associate Dean, Research and Faculty, Director of Graduate Studies, Professor of Law
Deborah Goodings Professor and Associate Dean
Pallavi Rai Gullo
(Ex Officio)
Director, Grad. Academic & Student Affairs Grad. Ed.
Andy Hoefer Assistant Dean, Honors College
Honors College
Lisa Kahn Associate Dean, Research & Graduate Studies
Kim MacVaugh Policy and Government Librarian
Marguerite Rippy Associate Dean, Graduate Academic Affairs
Akitta Robertson
(Ex Officio)
Graduate Education Manager Grad. Ed.
Ellen Rodgers Associate Dean, Student and Academic Affairs (CEHD) Grad. Council
Cristiana Stan Associate Professor, Atmospheric, Oceanic & Earth Sc. Faculty Senate
Jenna Strahm Senior Marketing Associate (CEHD) GRAC
Iosif Vaisman Director, School of Systems Biology COS
Thys Van Schaik Associate Dean, Academic Affairs Schar
Paige Wolf Associate Dean, Graduate Programs S-BUS
Susan Woodruff Coordinator, Academic Program Development SCHEV
Steven Zhou Doctoral student, Psychology (CHSS)


GAGAA: Graduate Admissions and Graduate Academic Affairs
GAPSA: Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
GRAC: Graduate Recruitment Action Council
OGAL: Graduate Admissions Operations Liaisons