Graduate studies dean returns to teach, research

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Victoria Rodriguez, the University’s vice provost and dean of graduate studies, is stepping down after nine years in the role and returning to the LBJ School of Public Affairs as a professor and researcher.

In a letter to his colleagues, executive vice president and provost Steven Leslie announced Rodriguez’s departure and named vice provost Judith Langlois as interim dean. In the letter, Leslie praised Rodriguez’s work in building partnerships with academic deans and her fundraising efforts to support the graduate school. Rodriguez will continue her work at the university at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, furthering her research and teaching in the areas of women in politics and public policy, said Gretchen Ritter, vice provost for undergraduate education and faculty governance.

Ritter said Rodriguez’s 11-year service in the central administration department, nine of which were spent as dean, was successful and goal oriented but also very demanding.

“It is not at all unusual that someone there for that long would want to return to focus primarily on teaching and research after an extended period of service,” she said.

John Dalton, graduate studies assistant dean, said Rodriguez helped raise millions of dollars for graduate student support during the capital campaign and created the 1910 Society, an organization focused on philanthropy and alumni connections.

“She’s been really open to communications with other deans and students,” Dalton said. “All the communication we do has been totally reorganized to better communicate with graduate students and faculty.”

Langlois was an obvious choice for interim dean because of her position of vice provost and because she formerly served as interim dean of liberal arts, Ritter said.

“[Langlois] is a very engaged graduate instructor and mentor,” Ritter said. “She’s someone well-suited to play the role of interim dean.”

Ritter also said the cooperation between Rodriguez and Langlois will help create a smooth transition for the new interim dean.

“Dr. Langlois and Dr. Rodriguez have worked together extensively in the past,” Ritter said, “and I know they have been working very strongly in the last week or two in transition issues, and that’s going extremely well.”

Executive provost assistant Janet Hart said a search committee will be formed in the fall to select a new dean.

Graduate Student Assembly president Manuel Gonzalez said Rodriguez’s dedication and commitment to students will be remembered.

“Dean Rodriguez has always been willing to commit resources, time and effort to advance graduate student issues on campus,” he said. “GSA is losing a great advocate for graduate students, but at the same time, we’re looking forward to working with interim dean Langlois.”  

Printed on Friday, January 20, 2011 as: Graduate studies dean returns to teach, research