Karen DePauw, former professor and vice president for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of Vice President Emerita for Graduate Education and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2003, DePauw provided leadership for the expansion of graduate programs, certificates, and degrees offered in Blacksburg, Northern Virginia, and across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Among her many accomplishments, DePauw created the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program initiative with increased financial support and incentive for interdisciplinary graduate education including the establishment of an individualized Ph.D. program.

She also created the signature initiative known as Transformative Graduate Education, which provides opportunities for graduate students to acquire knowledge, leadership skills, and professional development that complement disciplinary training and better prepare graduates to assume roles within higher education and as careers professionals outside academe.

DePauw also provided leadership to enhance graduate education and attract and retain a diverse student population, foster an inclusive graduate community, and established the innovative and award-winning Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.

In addition, she provided leadership for the creation of the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence to allow students to demonstrate a commitment to the importance of teaching, creating inclusive learning environments, and improving educational experiences of students in their classrooms and learning environments.

DePauw created the Future Professoriate Program (PFP: Switzerland) to prepare future faculty as global citizens. In 2010, she established a partnership with the University of Basel that has led to the annual conference on global higher education at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. The program expanded to include PFP: Ecuador in 2015.

Throughout her career, DePauw held numerous national and international leadership positions in graduate education including chair of the GRE board; board chair of the Council of Graduate Schools; chair of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools; chair and facilitator of the Virginia Council of Graduate Schools; and a member of the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education, the Research Advisory Committee, and the Council of Graduate Schools.

In recognition of her many accomplishments at Virginia Tech and her impact on graduate education, DePauw received the inaugural Debra W. Stewart Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education Award from by the Council of Graduate Schools, the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Professional Contribution Award, the Professional Leadership Award from SHIFT, University of San Francisco d’Quito, and the Virginia Tech Principles of Community Award in 2015. She was also inducted as a member of the Bouchet Society and the interdisciplinary graduate student research award was renamed in her honor by the Global Change Center/IGEP.

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