M.J.T. (“Mark”) Smith of Purdue University to Serve as Chair of CGS Board
    December 15, 2015

    Contact: Julia Kent

    (202) 223-3791



    Three New Members to Join Board in 2016


    Washington, DC – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) Board of Directors has announced its officers for the 2016 term. CGS is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors drawn from member institutions. Board members serve for set terms.


    Dr. M.J.T. (“Mark”) Smith, Dean of the Graduate School at Purdue University, was announced as the 2016 Board Chair at the conclusion of the 2015 CGS Annual Meeting. A member of the faculty in Electrical and Computer Engineering whose scholarly interests focus on digital signal processing, Smith was appointed graduate dean in 2009. He is a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and is a former IEEE Distinguished Lecturer. Smith has authored many technical papers, six international standards publications, three textbooks, and two edited books, the most recent of which is the 2014 edited book GPS for Graduate School—Students Share Their Stories.


    “CGS is honored to have Dr. Smith’s expertise during this critical time in graduate education. He has provided exceptional leadership of the Graduate School at Purdue and will help CGS meet the evolving needs of our member institutions,” said CGS President Suzanne T. Ortega.


    The new Chair-elect, Dr. Nancy Marcus, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Oceanography has been Dean of The Graduate School at the Florida State University since August 2005. Her responsibilities include oversight of the education of approximately 8,000 graduate and professional students. She has enhanced several programs offered by the Graduate School during her tenure, including the Preparing Future Faculty program and the Professional Development Workshop Series. She has also established programs to promote interdisciplinary engagement, fellowships for international study, and an online tracking system to monitor graduate student progress. She earned a BA from Goucher College and a PhD from Yale University.


    Beginning their three-year terms on the board on January 1 are Dr. Kinchel C. Doerner, Dean of the Graduate School at South Dakota State University; Dr. Sarah (Sally) Pratt, Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at the University of Southern California; and Dr. Carol W. Shanklin, Dean of the Graduate School at Kansas State University.


    Dr. Barbara Knuth, Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Cornell University, will remain on CGS’s Executive Committee for one year as immediate past chair. 


    “I am honored to have worked with Dr. Knuth during her term as CGS Board Chair,” Ortega said. “She has contributed greatly to the success of graduate students at her institution and has been on the forefront of the pressing issues graduate schools face today.” 

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced 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.


    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 advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS members receive regular updates of legislative and regulatory proposals impacting graduate education and are provided resources to use in advocacy efforts on their campuses and with policymakers and other constituents. 
    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.