Mark Wardell recently was named dean of the Toulouse Graduate School at the University of North Texas.
Wardell will be coming from Wayne State University in Detroit, where he was a professor of sociology, former associate provost and dean of the graduate school.
UNT decided to hire Wardell because he is an established leader and administrator, said Finley Graves, dean of the College of Business and chairman of the search committee.
“We believe that he has the expertise, the depth of experience — the breadth of experience — to lead our graduate school,” Graves said.
Wardell will replace Jean Miller, who was serving as interim dean.
Wardell said the graduate school at UNT will play an integral role in helping reach the four goals UNT recently established as its strategic plan, especially its goal to become a tier-one rated research university.
“The ambitious nature of the goals sets UNT apart from other universities in the United States,” he said.
To become a major research university, UNT will need strong graduate programs, Wardell said, especially strong doctorate programs.
Graduate-level education enhances research at a university, he said.
He said this is timely for UNT because national research universities and the role of graduate school education are recognized as an economic stimulus.
Not only are research universities educating the high-performance workforce of tomorrow through graduate programs, Wardell said, but graduate students and faculty are researching and developing new ideas, new concepts and new technologies.
“I think the timeliness of what UNT is doing is interesting because it fits with the national agenda,” he said. “That makes it all the more important that the university moves forward with its objectives to reach the goals.”
Wardell is excited to be joining a university that wants to be aggressive and make a difference, he said.
He was surprised when he met with different faculty, staff and students at UNT that everybody was aware of the goals, he said, and everyone spoke in favor of them.
“The unanimity was so impressive,” Wardell said. “That’s the big part of navigating a university forward is getting people on the same page.”
Graves said UNT is taking its graduate school to new heights.
“I think he’ll be leading us in that direction,” he said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .