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Graduate School

Letter from the Dean

Dr. Tracey L. Weldon


August 24, 2021

Dear Graduate Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome to the 2021-22 academic year!

I hope your semester is off to a good start and that you are looking forward to the year ahead. I am pleased to continue serving in an interim capacity as Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. As we begin this new semester, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you just a few of the many exciting new initiatives that are currently underway.

 As many of you know, this past spring, The Graduate School staff welcomed Dr. Toby Jenkins as interim Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Assistant Director of the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. And Dr. Angelina Sylvain joined the team as Special Assistant to the Provost and Vice Dean for Graduate Education. Over the summer, we welcomed Ally Tully, as a new Program Coordinator, taking over for Ed Lilly, who retired at the end of the spring semester. And on August 1st, Kesha Clavon started her tenure as our new Senior Diversity Recruiter. We are excited to have these new members join our team as we work to expand and strengthen our support of the entire graduate community.

This fall, we successfully launched the new health insurance subsidy, which covers the cost of the student health insurance plan for full-time PhD students and Graduate Assistants enrolled in degree programs housed under the Graduate School. This initiative was made possible by strategic funds provided by Central Administration, a financial commitment on the part of the academic Deans, the strong advocacy of the Graduate Student Association, the Faculty Senate, the Provost, and the President, and an implementation team consisting of representatives from the Graduate School, the Bursar’s Office, the Controller’s Office, the VPR’s Office, University Health Services, and a few select academic units. We are thrilled to be able to provide this increased level of support for our graduate students.

 We are also excited to announce that this coming spring, we will be opening a new Graduate Student Services Center on the 2nd floor of the Close Hipp building. This center will house Dr. Matt Klopfenstein, the new National Fellowships Coordinator hired by the National Fellowships and Scholar Programs Office, as well as the new Manager of Graduate Student Advising soon to be hired by the Career Center. Our goal is to staff this space with a team of representatives who will provide convenient, accessible, dedicated and integrated services to graduate students. Please stay tuned for more on this exciting new venture.

 There will also be several exciting announcements forthcoming in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion, under the leadership of Dr. Toby Jenkins and her team. For now, I would just like to alert you to a new online diversity training module that will be made available to graduate students starting next semester and then be required of all incoming graduate students starting next fall. This requirement, which was mandated in 2020 for all incoming undergraduates is being extended to graduate students at the request of the Graduate Student Association and with the expressed support of the Graduate School, the Equal Opportunity Programs office, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with the goal of expanding on this foundation in coordination with diversity representatives in each academic unit.

Finally, as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I strongly encourage all of you to take full advantage of existing mitigation strategies, including vaccination, masks, handwashing, social distancing, and regular testing. These measures will be critical in keeping you and those around you safe and healthy and allowing our university to remain in full operation. Please visit the University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for more about the #GarnetAndVaxxed campaign effort and other important information regarding testing and related services.

All best wishes for a safe, healthy, and productive school year!

Go Gamecocks!

Tracey L. Weldon, PhD
Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education
The University of South Carolina

Pronouns: she, her, hers



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