Weldon named dean of Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education
By Abe Danaher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-576-7780
Tracey Weldon has been named dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education at the University of South Carolina, effective May 1, after serving in the interim role for more than a year.
In this new role, Weldon will look to “amplify and elevate” the experience of the more than 6,200 graduate students at the university. She hopes to build upon progress made in her 15 months as interim dean by further developing partnerships to increase the resources available to graduate students and ensuring the university supports both their academic needs and overall well-being.
“I just want to make sure that graduate students don’t get lost in the mix,” she says. “They are so important to everything that we do here at the university. Between being students, researchers and often teachers, it’s such a challenging time for them and I think that we often forget how important it is that we attend to their unique needs. They are not faculty. They do not have the same needs that undergraduate students have. And so, we really need to fully understand what those challenges are for graduate students and make sure that they are not falling through the cracks.”
For over 20 years, Weldon has worked to promote both graduate education and diversity at South Carolina through a variety of leadership roles. She joined the university in 2000 as a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of English Language and Literature and the Linguistics Program. In 2009, she was named the Linguistics Program’s graduate director — an early sign of where her career would take her. In 2017, she became the college’s first associate dean for diversity and inclusion, and later, this position was broadened to include academic support of interdisciplinary programs and social science departments. Then, in January 2021, she was selected as interim dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education.
“Tracey Weldon has long provided outstanding leadership on our campus,” says Interim President Harris Pastides. “She is a strong and valued voice for growing our support of graduate students, and she has played an integral role in our efforts to build a more inclusive and diverse campus community. Her experience and insights will be instrumental in continuing these critical efforts.”
We really need to fully understand what those challenges are for graduate students and make sure that they are not falling through the cracks.
Tracey Weldon, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education
As interim dean, Weldon immediately began building an infrastructure of support for graduate students. She led in the implementation of full health insurance subsidies for full-time Ph.D. students and graduate assistants. She also quickly recognized graduate students’ need for increased support in the areas of professional development and student services and, through a partnership with the University Career Center and National Fellowships and Scholar Programs, opened the Graduate Student Resources Hub — a space where grad students can receive professional development and integrated academic support. Now, she is working with the Student Success Center to establish peer mentoring support for graduate students and increased access to workshops and needed school supplies.
“The leadership that Tracey displayed in her interim role was extremely beneficial to the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School and the larger university community,” says Stephen Cutler, interim provost at South Carolina. “From implementing needed diversity recruitment fellowships, to her leadership on the mental health task force and in the creation of new student spaces for graduate students, Tracey’s impact has been both great and far reaching. I am excited to see her continue improving the experience of our graduate students as dean and vice provost.”
As dean of the Graduate School, Weldon will work with students, faculty, staff and administrators to support the university’s graduate students and grow its more than 250 graduate programs. She plans to build upon the successes of the last year to create a truly holistic on-campus experience for graduate students.
“It’s what we promise students when we recruit them here,” she says. “And I just want to make sure that we see that promise through.”
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