Changes in the Graduate School Office

You have probably noticed some changes in The Graduate School Office lately – like new names and faces.

Regan Fantry left last August.

Mark McConnel and Robyn Olejniczak joined the staff in January.

Niki Leiva left in late January.

So, that pretty much sums up the changes, but what does that mean? Keep reading to find out who’s here and what they do.

Robyn Olejniczak, Administrative Assistant

Coming in to a new position in the Graduate School Office, Robyn’s task are plentiful. You can find her at our front desk, working away on daily activities such as processing emails, phone calls, mail and walk-ins or working on special projects that she has graciously offered to help with.

Mark McConnel, M.A., Director of Student Records

In short, Mark works on anything and everything dealing with current students. He deals with financial aid, student records, reports, and graduation. What are student records exactly? Specifically, he maintains the roster of current student advisors, programs of study, all registration procedures, student record holds, individual enrollment and cross registration. He also manages student records for all joint programs.

Susan Hallatt, M.A., Director of Graduate Admissions

Susan deals with our applicants – all of the people who want to become students of The Graduate School. She oversees the creation and maintenance of applications to the Graduate School. This includes processing and tracking all applications as well as providing support to program directors as they make their acceptance decisions. In addition to this hefty task, Susan works closely with the development of new programs (degrees and certificates).

Regina Semko, Assistant to the Dean

Regina is our go-to person in the office because she works closely with everyone. She manages the business of the Graduate School – budgets, office files, calendars, and coordination of graduate assistants. In addition, Regina tracks and records the process of new programs, research, and grant requests. Each year, she manages all events hosted by the Dean including Dinner with the Dean events and she serves as the event manager for the Graduate Student Poster Session.

Dr. Dave Owens, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Professor of Biology

In addition to the administrative duties required of all associate deans, there are specific roles assigned to the associate dean of the graduate school. Some of these duties include: Graduate School administration (graduate school dismissals, readmissions, and Students of Concern reviews), assisting the deal with special initiatives such as the Advisory Board and Graduate Council. In addition, the associate dean serves as Director of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program and assists with the College’s academic coordination of Fort Johnson Marine Science Campus activities. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) knows Dave well because he serves as Faculty Financial Advisor for the GSA and nine program associations. On top of all of that, Dave also teaches a six-contact hour graduate course in Marine Tetrapod Biology

Dr. Amy Thompson McCandless, Ph.D., M.B.A., Dean and Professor of History

In addition to the fiscal and planning responsibilities required of all academic deans, there are specific roles assigned to the graduate dean. Our dean is a very busy woman. She serves as the chair of the Graduate Council and ensures that graduate faculty decisions are coordinated with overall College procedures and policies; in addition, the dean regularly attends Faculty Senate to answer questions about graduate issues and proposals. She is a member of the Committee on Graduate Education, Continuing Education and Special Programs. Amy serves as the campus liaison for Fulbright Awards. As the faculty advisor for the GSA, she attends GSA senate meetings and encourages networking through monthly Dinners with the Dean and through the Annual Graduate Student Poster Session. Amy is the coordinator for the Graduate School Advisory Board. The dean is involved in all of these activities plus so many more. See what else the dean does here.

And, as for the Director of Information & Recruitment (formerly filled by Niki Leiva), that jobs is currently open.

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