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Spring 2019 Message from Dean Woodruff

Dear Members of our TGS Community:

Spring is in the air! It is the start to longer days and warmer weather. It is also a time to celebrate our graduate community and recognize some of its many accomplishments. Spring is my favorite academic season, culminating in our hooding ceremony, an annual rite of passage to honor our PhD and MFA graduates and welcome them to our community of scholars.

In Appreciation

This week marks Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW), in which we celebrate our graduate students through a variety of activities on both campuses. These events are a way to express gratitude and foster a sense of community. Special thanks for our graduate student associations and campus partners for organizing and hosting these opportunities.

The Graduate School is pleased to host two of these events on Wednesday, April 3: Snack Time in TGS Commons from 3:00-4:00 PM, where graduate students can enjoy some snacks and mix and mingle with TGS deans; and the Warren Jones Vocal Master Class from 7:00-9:00 PM, which is part of our popular Experience Northwestern event series.

I believe graduate education is at the heart of our University as a premier research institution. In fact, over 70% of the degrees issued by Northwestern are in graduate-level programs. Together as students, postdoctoral trainees, graduate faculty, and departments, we power the pathway to innovative research and new discoveries. This is a thriving enterprise and I would like to extend my appreciation to our graduate students and our entire graduate community.

Spring Recognition

This spring I am pleased to honor our Ver Steeg and McBride award recipients and induct the newest members of the Ryan and Presidential Fellowships.

Our Ver Steeg awardees are graduate faculty and staff members who demonstrate excellence in working with graduate students. Our McBride awardees are graduate students and postdoctoral trainees who embody the values of diversity, service, and engagement. Congratulations once again to this year’s recipients:

  • Jason Seawright, PhD, Professor, Political Science
  • Kisa Kowal, Department Assistant, Statistics
  • Abha Gosavi, PhD Candidate, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Colleen Zaccard, PhD, Postdoctoral Trainee, Physiology

Another way we support and recognize our most promising students is through highly competitive internal fellowships, such as the Ryan Fellowship and the Presidential Fellowship. The newest inductees to these prestigious fellowships will be recognized later this spring, and I look forward to sharing more information at that time.

Strategic Plan Progress

We will conclude our year of structure over the spring and summer quarters as part of The Graduate School’s strategic plan, Vision 2025. When a new academic year begins this fall, our academic programs, policies, and procedures will have migrated to a new CourseLeaf online catalog. We will also have a new website in place to provide easier access to resources and information.

As these projects continue to take shape, we will be shifting even more of our focus to the well-being of our graduate community. Graduate education can be a stressful time, and our goal is to connect graduate students to the resources they need to succeed. Please feel free to email me at with your thoughts and ideas.

May this spring be a time of academic success and personal joy. Be sure to enjoy some time outdoors and be well in your journey.

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