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Fall 2018 Message From Dean Woodruff

Created: October 5, 2018
Dear Members of our TGS Community,
Fall is an exciting time of the year. I hope you all had the opportunity to take some time from your academic pursuits to enjoy the summer months and are feeling rejuvenated and refreshed for the journey ahead. For me, it marks the beginning of my second year as dean of The Graduate School and associate provost of graduate education. I begin this academic season with a strong vigor and perspective for advanced education as well as gratefulness for the warm welcome I received this past year.
I believe graduate education is about a limitless intellectual sky that takes place in an academically elastic space and synthesizes new knowledge and new aesthetics into new wisdom. Together as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate faculty and staff, we are the lifeblood of the University’s research agenda. I hope we all feel proud to be an integral part of such a vibrant and accomplished community.
In fact, the themes I would like to touch on today all center around the idea of community and how we can continue to grow and flourish together, starting with a shared vision for our future.

Strategic Plan

The Graduate School recently finalized a new strategic plan, called “Vision 2025,” which will serve as our roadmap for the next seven years and beyond. I want to thank everyone who took the time to provide input and participate in the process that led to this transformative plan. I hope you will see yourself in Vision 2025 as it begins to unfold. Your voice was instrumental in establishing the foundation and aspiration that will lead us toward our collective future.
Vision 2025 builds upon existing pillars of The Graduate School, such as “diversify, serve, and engage,” and it is anchored by the following new purpose and mission statements:
Purpose Statement
The Graduate School enhances Northwestern University’s academic excellence and reputation by providing centralized support to current and prospective graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, graduate faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. We promote a transformative educational experience for all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Northwestern University.
Mission Statement
The Graduate School creates and communicates an intentional and adaptable educational infrastructure for a diverse population of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in an accessible and equitable environment. We advocate for excellent graduate and advanced educational opportunities; cultivate a healthy, diverse, and engaged community; and connect graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with supportive communities and global opportunities.
I encourage you to read more about our new strategic approach on our website. As you think of The Graduate School as a resource, friend, and ally, my hope is that the words “advocate, cultivate, and connect” will resonate and remain top of mind.
Annual Themes
Each year of Vision 2025 will be rooted in a specific theme to build upon progress made in specific areas and achieve our overall goals. The theme for the 2018-2019 academic year is structure. For example, The Graduate School will be focusing on more clearly defining the roles of our administrative board and graduate faculty, as well as initiating discussions that will lead to enhanced student voices in the coming years. Using structure as a starting theme will enable us to work in unison with greater clarity and understanding.

Intellectual Home

Whether you are new to Northwestern or further along in your academic journey, I hope you will also see The Graduate School as your intellectual home.
We are proud to cultivate the next generation of scholars and researchers by educating the global leaders of tomorrow. To support this mission-critical objective, The Graduate School will continue to balance responsible financial stewardship with competitive student funding and innovative professional development to keep our academic endeavors thriving.
The Graduate School is proud to provide opportunities and promote events that connect graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with resources and support systems. For our students and postdocs who are juggling parenting with scholarly pursuits, for example, our dedicated work/life and family resource liaison, Lesley Lundeen, is a valuable resource. Please reach out to her at any time.
We also want everyone to feel comfortable and supported within the larger communities we call home. Northwestern will continue to bring research to bear on the problems of our day, including violence and poverty in our neighborhoods. In addition, Associate Vice President and Chief of Police Bruce A. Lewis emailed some important safety reminders on September 27 that I encourage all of you to read and adopt into your daily routines.

Welcoming Environment

I am very pleased to welcome Gayle E. Woloschak, PhD, to The Graduate School leadership team as our associate dean for graduate student and postdoctoral affairs. Gayle is a fervent advocate and champion of our diverse community of scholars. She will continue to elevate The Graduate School’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all.
In her new role, Gayle will immediately focus on working with graduate faculty members and graduate students to support and implement our new conflict resolution guidelines. This covenant will enable us to quickly and efficiently resolve matters of conflict in order to focus on our shared goals of respect, research, and the pursuit of academic excellence. Please feel free to contact Gayle with additional needs, ideas, and suggestions.
As you settle into a new academic year, I wish you much success and continued accomplishment. The Graduate School is here to “advocate, cultivate, and connect” for you, and my door is always open.
My best!!

Teresa K. Woodruff ’89 PhD
Dean, The Graduate School and
Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Northwestern University

The Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Feinberg School of Medicine
From the Dean