Kathleen Hutnik Named Associate Deputy Provost for Graduate Education
Kathleen Hutnik, previously deputy dean for doctoral student life, has been appointed deputy provost for graduate education. In support of the assistant provost for the graduate education function that the university established in 2019, this newly created position is intended to enrich and strengthen the experience of students at Lehigh and reflect the outstanding work Hutnik has done in supporting graduate students, said Nathan Urban, Interim President and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Working closely with Oliver Yao, Assistant Probst for Graduate Education, Hutnik will lead, coordinate, direct and oversee the activities and initiatives that support the academic, personal and professional success of PhD students. She will also identify and address barriers to the success of academically qualified PhD students and lead collaborative efforts to develop strategic initiatives that aim to continuously improve the delivery of an excellent and inclusive educational experience to graduates.
“The assistant provost, and now the new assistant provost for graduate education, play a critical role in our efforts to create an even stronger and more diverse experience for PhD students,” said Urban. “Kathleen’s great commitment to our doctoral students and their success are an enormous asset to this work.”
Hutnik said the creation of the assistant provost for graduate education two years ago put Lehigh in a better position to advance not only graduate education but also the graduate experience at Lehigh, “by centralizing key initiatives that were impossible than anything was completely decentralized. “With this new role, Hutnik said, these two positions help create the educational environment students need to do their best job.
Yao said, “Kathleen has been a true master for our graduate students during her long service with Lehigh. In this new role, she will be able to focus her work more clearly on strengthening the Lehigh student experience. I look forward to working with her on behalf of our PhD students. ”
A commitment for doctoral students
Hutnik received a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Lehigh and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from Indiana University Bloomington. She returned to Lehigh as a salaried employee in 2001 and served as Assistant Director of Academic Assistance for seven years before being named Director of PhD Student Lives in 2007, a position she held until she was appointed Assistant Dean of PhD Student Lives Held in 2014.
As Deputy Probst, Hutnik, who has focused on ensuring a stable and supportive environment for PhD students in Lehigh for 14 years, will capitalize on the opportunities this new position opens up for PhD students’ experience, she said.
“It is important that we pay attention to the environment in which our graduates work,” said Hutnik. “We humans have to have a feeling of security in order to be able to really concentrate on the higher-level work. We have made some progress, but now with these new structures it will be so much more effective. One of our goals is to bring more underrepresented voices into higher education. So this has to be an environment where people feel comfortable and welcome. With the assistant director and assistant vice director for positions in higher education, we will be able to do more for our students and bring even more wonderful students to Lehigh. “
In her previous role, Hutnik played an essential role in assisting PhD students in all aspects of graduate life.
Last year, in cooperation with the International Office and the Deputy Probst for Graduate Education, she launched the Hire-a-Grad program, which paid for graduates who had lost their jobs and internships due to the COVID-19 pandemic offers professional employment. She also ensured meaningful recognition of PhD students’ accomplishments in 2020 by partnering with LTS to create an online PhD wall and party in place of the traditional PhD ceremony.
A supportive living and learning environment
Hutnik is the lead author of Lehigh’s Policy on Paid Parental Leave for Funded Graduate Students; the vacation policy; and the Doctoral and Faculty Guidelines for Promoting Healthy and Productive Mentoring Relationships endorsed by the Graduate and Research Committee. It has set up emergency credit facilities for doctoral students as well as an emergency fund for doctoral students, which is scheduled to start in summer 2021.
Hutnik has also made the freestanding Graduate Student Center at Packer House a true home for graduate students, with programs aimed at connecting the students, lowering stress levels, and promoting mental health, endurance and bonding. During Hutnik’s tenure, participation in events and programs for doctoral students increased eightfold. In addition, she organized and hosted an annual awards banquet to honor outstanding doctoral students.
To support the academic and professional development of PhD students, Hutnik developed the Graduate Writing and Academic Support Program within the Office of Graduate Life and worked with the Deputy Deans for Graduates and the Vice President and Deputy Probst for Research and Graduate Studies to deliver the “Vision and Goals for Graduate Education ”with an accompanying framework for reviewing the graduate program. She worked with the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) to develop the teacher development program for PhD students, with the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) to develop professional development for PhD students, and with the CCPD and the Creative Inquiry office to create the Creative Scholars Institute for PhD students currently on hold due to the pandemic.
Hutnik has served on a number of committees and boards, including serving as a board member of the Council for Equity and Community (CEC) and a member of the Task Force for Graduate Education, which developed a strategic plan for the growth of higher education and led to the creation of the Deputy provost for postgraduate studies. She served two terms on the board of directors of the Lehigh University Alumni Association (LUAA) to encourage engagement with alumni and initiated an annual meeting of doctoral students and the board of trustees.
“I think when we are through the pandemic, we will see more than ever that our masters and PhD students will make vital contributions to improving our world,” she said. “Here at Lehigh, we can create a living and learning environment that allows our students to focus on their work. When students have a decent place to live, enough money to live, health insurance, community, and generally a supportive environment, they are more likely. And I think the students who go out into the world are more likely to say that Lehigh enabled them to be successful because they had excellent academic opportunities and that Lehigh cared about their personal and professional development and well-being. Be.”