Vice Provost Judith Langlois announced permanent dean of graduate school


Lizzie Jespersen

Vice Provost Judith Langlois will serve as the permanent dean of the UT Graduate School. Langlois, who was appointed Thursday, has served as interim dean of graduate studies since January 2012 and will retain her post as vice provost in addition to her new appointment.

The UT Graduate School is home to more than 100 programs and more than 11,000 graduate students. It is one of the largest Ph.D.-producing institutions in the country, and is frequently ranked as the largest Hispanic Ph.D.-producing graduate school.

Langlois received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and went on to join the UT faculty in 1973. She was appointed vice provost in 2007, and then interim dean of the graduate school after former dean Victoria Rodriguez stepped down 18 months ago. Before her time as interim dean of graduate studies, Langlois served once as associate dean and twice as interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts.

“I never learned how to behave like an interim,” Langlois said. “I always approached interim jobs as if we’re [going to] move full steam ahead. In that sense, I don’t think anything will be different in terms of my attitude about moving things forward.”

Langlois was appointed by Provost Gregory Fenves, who said he has received immediate positive feedback from almost every dean at the University about the appointment.

“She has a vision for graduate students,” Fenves said. “She is very caring and approachable … She also worked exceptionally well with the deans of the graduate schools and colleges.”

Both Fenves and Langlois said they are excited to work together in continuing to make the graduate school competitive enough to attract the best graduate students.

“I very much look forward to working with Provost Fenves,” Langlois said. “I think he has a great vision for the University, as does President Powers. Being a part of their leadership team is very exciting, and I really look forward to working with them.”

Columbia Mishra, president of Graduate Student Assembly, has worked with Langlois since she began her tenure as assembly president last year. She said she considers Langlois a very important collaborator with the assembly.

“She definitely cares for graduate student needs,” Mishra said. “She’s a very good coach. She gives good feedback to us as we reach toward different goals … She has a good vision and passion for graduate students and graduate studies.”

Langlois said she is looking forward to taking graduate programs to the next level of excellence. Her plans to move forward include enhancing graduate school career services and creating more informative benchmarking measures. Langlois said that by providing professional development workshops and career counseling to graduate students, she hopes to inform corporate America about the wealth of talent she believes UT graduate students have. According to Langlois, creating better benchmarking measures will involve implementing external reviews to assess strengths and weaknesses of graduate programs.

“I’m excited,” Langlois said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”