Whatever Happened To: Karen DePauw, Virginia Tech’s dean for graduate education | Education

“We faced our own challenges, like everybody else,” DePauw said, “but it seemed to be handled as smoothly as could be possible.”

DePauw’s prolonged tenure at Tech has allowed her to accept a comprehensive audit of the university’s graduate education that students, staff and faculty began in the spring of 2019.

The recently released 112-page report from the Graduate Education Task Force compared Tech to peer universities and outlined 15 recommendations on how it can improve.

Tech has a smaller endowment than peer universities, lags in external funding, and has seen graduate student enrollment decline while that of peers has increased, the report found.

DePauw said she was pleased with the report, and that one benefit of her delayed retirement has meant she and the provost have started working on the recommendations.

“I have been advocating for increasing graduate enrollment,” she said. “It’s something that I think is important.”

The report notes that a huge drop in graduate enrollment between 2010 and 2019 can be attributed to changes in state policies that reduce the need for a master’s degree in education to be certified as a teacher.

The number of architecture grad students also fell, as did business school grads, following the 2015 elimination of a full-time MBA degree program in Blacksburg.

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