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New Associate Dean for the Graduate School

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that Dr. Helene A. Shugart has accepted the position of Associate Dean for the Graduate School, effective July 1, 2023. Dr. Shugart will provide leadership and direction for the Graduate School in her new role.  

Dr. Shugart joined the faculty of the University of Utah as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication in 2001, where she developed and sustained a robust and distinguished research program. In addition, she has taught numerous and varied graduate seminars and undergraduate courses and directed or otherwise advised dozens of doctoral and masters students. Dr. Shugart has also had the opportunity to serve in a host of service and administrative capacities throughout her time at Utah.  

Dr. Shugart served as a Director of Graduate Studies from 2014 – 2021 for the Department of Communication, where she created a structured, comprehensive, and intentional graduate curriculum across four areas of emphasis. During her time as DGS, she also created a series of weekly graduate workshops ranging from crafting research proposals to writing for publications to developing teaching skills to preparing for the academic job market. Dr. Shugart has also worked very closely with the Graduate School’s Diversity Office to recruit applications from talented and prepared diverse students; identify and offer resources to incentivize acceptance by admitted diverse students; and to ensure sustained support for enrolled diverse students. Dr. Shugart was recognized for her contributions to graduate students with the Distinguished Mentor Award in 2022. 

The Graduate School is excited to have Dr. Shugart’s steady leadership and experience.   

While we welcome Dr. Shugart, we say farewell to Dr. Katie Ullman, the former Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Ullman has worked tremendously hard to provide a friendly, sustainable working environment for graduate students and postdocs. Dr. Ullman has spearheaded student success within the Graduate School and has overseen several initiatives, including GRADitude Week, 3 Minute Thesis competition, website remodel, the parental leave policy for graduate and postdoctoral students, and digital communication. Dr. Ullman has also worked diligently with program reviews, where she has provided thoughtful guidance to reviewers and program leadership as they navigate the review process. She handles delicate situations with sensitivity and finesse. Her calming influence will be missed.  

As Dr. Ullman passes the baton to Dr. Shugart, we intend to continue progressing these initiatives and furthering the success of our graduate and postdoctoral students.  


Further information regarding the Graduate School can be found here. 

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Last Updated: 12/12/23