CGS Names Suzanne Ortega New President
    April 3, 2014

    Julia Kent
    (202) 223-3791(202) 223-3791

    Appointment of Senior Academic Leader for UNC System to Begin July 1


    Washington, D.C. – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) today announced the appointment of Suzanne Ortega, currently Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the 17-campus University of North Carolina, as its sixth president. Dr. Ortega has held a diverse range of senior academic leadership positions in higher education and in graduate education specifically, serving as Chair of the CGS Board in 2005 and as Chair of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools in 2003.


    Dr. Ortega will assume the chief leadership role at the Council beginning on July 1. Debra W. Stewart, CGS’s President since 2000, announced her plan to step down from the role in October 2013.


    “We are delighted that Dr. Ortega has agreed to lead the Council as it furthers its mission to improve and advance graduate education,” said James Wimbush, current Chair of the CGS Board. “Her deep knowledge of graduate education—and understanding of CGS’s diverse membership—will ensure that CGS’s impact continues to grow in the United States and internationally.”


    Prior to her appointment at UNC, Dr. Ortega was Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of New Mexico from 2008-2011. She served among the group that CGS most directly represents, graduate deans, while Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at the University of Washington (2005-2008) and also at the University of Missouri-Columbia (2000-2005). An expert in mental health epidemiology, health services, and race and ethnic relations, Dr. Ortega received her PhD in sociology from Vanderbilt University.


    Dr. Ortega has also led the graduate community through a number of board and committee service positions, including the Executive Board of NASULGC (APLU)’s Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education; the National Academy of Science’s Committee on the Assessment of the Research Doctorate; the CGS-ETS Commission on Pathways through Graduate School and into Careers; and the CGS Advisory Committee on Minorities in Graduate Education.


    “For over fifty years, CGS has helped graduate institutions meet the challenges of our nation and local communities,” said Dr. Ortega. “American higher education is at a critical juncture, and I look forward to working with graduate deans, faculty, and students at member institutions to advance best practices and develop and advocate for federal policies that strengthen graduate education and research.” Dr. Ortega added, “Debra Stewart has been an extraordinarily effective leader for CGS, and I am deeply honored to follow her as president.”

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 78% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.


    * Based on data from the 2012 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.