The University of Missouri has re-established its Graduate School, after it was eliminated in 2014.
Latha Ramchand, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, provided the information via an email to the university community. She wrote that the Graduate School was being re-established as an academic and administrative unit. Jeni Hart has been named dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate studies. She will report to the provost and work closely with the Office of Research.
Former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin in 2014 eliminated the Graduate School in favor of a merged Office of Graduate Studies and Office of Research.
Ramchand wrote that in addition to the responsibilities of the Office of Graduate Studies, the Graduate School would serve as the academic home for the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, the Genetics Area Program and graduate programs offered through the MU Informatics Institute.
"The Graduate School will provide campus leadership to bring faculty together across disciplines to develop new interdisciplinary graduate programs," Ramchand wrote in the email.
Hart said the re-establishment of the Graduate School is a significant move.
"Most importantly, this elevates the status of graduate education on campus," Hart said. "As a research university, it's a fundamental part of our identity and an ability to be consistent with our peers. It does provide a sense of legitimacy both internally and externally."
She said she thinks the relationship that had been established with the Office of Research will endure.
"I see this as something different than the previous iteration of the Graduate School," Hart said.
She said the Graduate School could help MU recruit more graduate students, especially if they are able to work closely with faculty who are applying for federally-funded training grants.
Hart said as dean, she will be an advocate for graduate students and be aware of the issues affecting them.
"I definitely think advocacy is an important role," she said.
Asked if she thought eliminating the Graduate School in 2014 was a mistake, she said it wasn't the best decision and that it created some challenges.
University officials in May decided to eliminate 12 graduate programs. Christian Basi, MU spokesman, said Friday the programs were in the process of being phased out, but they would continue until all the students enrolled in the programs when they started could finish.
Basi said he wouldn't categorize the elimination of the Graduate School in 2014 as a mistake.
"We've adjusted as we've seen different needs," Basi said. "We've made adjustments as we've felt they were necessary. One thing I've learned is the only constant in education is change. Nothing is ever permanent. We've seen colleges and departments come and go on campus based on the need and demand."