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Winter 2019 Message from Dean Woodruff

Dear Members of our TGS Community:

The start of a new year is a time of renewal. It is an opportunity to take stock of our goals and priorities, evaluate our progress, and set new intentions.
For The Graduate School (TGS), the winter quarter is a good time to measure our accomplishments and assess our performance for the current academic year and begin to develop next year's goals. TGS exists to support student success by providing resources to help guide the academic journey, creating a sense of community, and fostering overall well-being.

Year of Structure

As mentioned in my fall message, our theme for the 2018–19 academic year is structure. This is the first step in our new strategic plan, “Vision 2025,” which functions as our road map. By focusing on structural initiatives, we are creating stronger foundations for the services we provide to all of our stakeholders.
Our Academic Affairs and Student Services teams are working with the Office of the Registrar to implement a graduate online catalog for the 2019–20 academic year. This will serve as a central repository for our academic policies and programs, as well as degree and course requirements. The launch of this online catalog will go hand-in-hand with a revamp of our website to ensure information and resources are readily accessible.
Our TGS Diversity and Inclusion team is convening a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to review our diversity initiatives, advise on new areas for investment, and ensure we are enabling student success.
In addition, we are actively cultivating our graduate alumni population. As a proud graduate alumna of Northwestern, I would like to create a stronger sense of connection and community by hosting graduate alumni engagement events and enabling alumni to lend their expertise to current students. Thanks to our partnership with the Northwestern Alumni Association, we are building these relationships, which are foundational to student success.

Awards & Recognition

In my role as dean, I love to recognize and celebrate the exceptional work that is taking place within our graduate community. From the innovative research of our fellowship recipients to the impressive number of grants being awarded to Northwestern’s graduate faculty, greatness is happening all around us.
As a recent example, I was especially pleased to learn that Serena Simpson and Natalie Rose Richardson, MFA + MA candidates in the Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program in the Department of English, won Leon Forrest Prose Awards in their respective categories of nonfiction and fiction. We love to see our graduate students share their gifts with the world.
The Graduate School is pleased to recognize members of our community who go above and beyond to create an inclusive environment that fosters success. This quarter, we are once again seeking nominations for the Ver Steeg and McBride Awards. The Ver Steeg Award recognizes one outstanding non-faculty staff member and one graduate faculty member, while the McBride Award recognizes an individual TGS student and an individual postdoctoral trainee. The nomination period for these awards is now open until February 15, and I look forward to recognizing the award recipients in April. Please consider nominating exceptional members of our community for these awards.

Welcoming Environment

I am very pleased to welcome Lauren-Ashley Buchanan, PhD, to The Graduate School as our new associate director for student life. Lauren will serve as our primary liaison to our campus partners and student organizations to ensure we are fostering a sense of community and properly supporting our graduate students.
Lauren received a bachelor of arts in psychology from Northwestern and completed her PhD in communication studies with a concentration in interpersonal relationships at the University of Iowa. She has extensive experience in educational institution course management and student information. The Graduate School is very excited to welcome Lauren to this important role. I hope many of you will have a chance to meet her in the coming months.
I hope each of you are renewed by the turn of season and that you face your 2019 goals with kindness, spirit, and determination.
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

Categories: From the Dean