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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

News from the Graduate School

Steve Matson

Dear Colleagues,

I write to inform you that Steve Matson has announced plans to step down as Dean of the Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill after a decade of distinguished service in this leadership role.  Steve will return to the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, after his successor is in place. Steve joined the Carolina faculty in 1983 and became Dean of the Graduate School on July 1, 2008.  He is widely respected for his award-winning teaching, mentoring and research in the field of genetics and molecular biology.

As Dean of the Graduate School, he has advanced the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, to access and affordability, to excellence in academics, and to student success across all dimensions of the student experience for UNC’s 11,000 graduate and professional students.

From the beginning of his tenure, he understood that graduate education was changing — from primarily preparing the next generation of academics to preparing the next generation of academics and business, non-profit and civic leaders.  Under his leadership, the Graduate School developed a number of professional development programs to address this need in graduate education.  Based on the results of an extensive survey of our graduate students, the Graduate School developed the Graduate School Professional Development program, a collection of workshops and courses focused on developing competencies in communication, academic development, leadership, professionalism and career development.

Also during Steve’s tenure, UNC launched the Professional Science Master’s degrees, designed to meet the needs of today’s professionals who want to expand their technical and business knowledge and apply it to emerging professional fields within science and health.

In 2010, through a private gift, the Graduate School established a summer fellowship program for students in academic fields where summer support is limited.  The Summer Research Fellowship Program frees students from teaching and other work responsibilities so they can progress in their research and move more quickly toward degree completion.

And early this semester, the Graduate School launched a graduate certificate in business fundamentals – communications, project management, leadership and financial accounting, reflecting student interest and the needs of the workplace.

Steve also has been a leader in graduate education at the state and national levels.  He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools in 2012 for a 4-year term.  He served as Chair of its Finance and Audit Committee in 2014-15.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Graduate Records Exam (Chair, 2016-17) and on the Board of Directors for the TOEFL Exam.  He has been President-elect (2015-16) and President (2016-17) of the North Carolina Council of Graduate Schools.

We thank Steve for his leadership as the Graduate School has responded to the changes in graduate education and career prospects for master’s and doctoral students.  His vision and commitment have positioned the Graduate School well for years to come.  Please join me in thanking Steve for his service and extend best wishes as he returns to teaching and research.


Bob Blouin

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

This message is sponsored by: Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost