New staff looks to diversify Graduate Studies

Jessica Costello

The Division of Graduate Studies has accepted a new dean put forth by Provost Robert Frank. The new dean, Mary Ann Stephens, created two positions to improve the reputation of graduate programs on a national and international level while increasing the diversity of graduate student enrollment.

Mary Ann Stephens is the new dean of graduate studies

Mary Ann Stephens, formerly interim dean of graduate studies, has assumed the role of dean of graduate studies. Stephens wants to enhance the reputation of masters and doctoral programs at Kent State University nationally and internationally.

“We want to draw higher qualified and more diverse students to our graduate programs,” Stephens said.

To get potential students to think of Kent State for the graduate studies, they are testing a pilot this week of a new e-mail system called Hobsons Incorporation. The university sends out e-mails to prospective graduate applicants and is able to gauge interest based on whether they opened the e-mail, deleted the e-mail or deleted the e-mail without opening it.

“I think the interim position gave me a good period of time to see if I liked it and gave the provost sufficient time to see if I could move the department in the direction the university wanted,” Stephens said.

She joined Kent State in 1980 and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Houston. Previous to accepting the position as dean, Stephens served as chair of the department of psychology.

J.P. Cooney looks to promote graduate studies nationally

J.P. Cooney, the first director of graduate admissions, plans to develop a nationally competitive admissions process. He oversees the graduate application process, graduate application reporting, admissions personnel management and handles marketing initiatives.

“We want to promote all graduate programs in collaboration with departments to bring new experiences and perspectives to this campus to enhance the programs offered at Kent State University,” Cooney said.

In promoting Kent State graduate programs, Cooney aids in sending print media and direct mail to prospective students encouraging them to seriously consider Kent State for graduate studies.

“I have been working with the marketing department to better establish a grad studies ‘brand’ to hopefully increase recruitment for all graduate programs,” Cooney said.

He earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. He has spent 12 years in recruiting and enrollment at both private and public institutions.

Kate McAnulty seeks student interests in graduate studies

Working in conjunction with J.P. Cooney is Kate McAnulty, the first director of graduate student services. In her role, she directs graduate student services, student affairs, advises Graduate Student Senate and graduate orientation programs. She is also responsible for promoting a campus environment beneficial to graduate student development. McAnulty will be working with focus groups in the future to better gauge student interests and what they want from graduate studies.

“If we can increase the application pool, we can have the ability to become selective, improving the quality of students and increase diversity,” McAnulty said. “As in the goal of our department as a whole, I also want to see a new and stronger presence of all graduate programs and a stronger reputation at the national level.”

McAnulty was the director of graduate student professional development at the University of Louisville before coming to Kent State.

Contact Jessica Costello at [email protected].