UW President Mark Emmert has selected Suzanne Trager Ortega, vice provost for advanced studies and dean of graduate school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, as dean and vice provost of the UW Graduate School, effective Aug. 29. Ortega also will be a professor of sociology. The appointment was approved by the Board of Regents at the its March meeting.
“Dr. Ortega is one of the bright, emerging national leaders in the field of graduate education, which is so fundamentally a part of this University’s mission,” said Emmert. “The University’s teaching and research programs rely heavily on highly capable graduate students who are on their way to becoming the next generation of university faculty, researchers, and professionals in their fields. I am delighted at the prospect of her leadership of our graduate program at the UW.”
Ortega has held her current administrative position at Missouri, as well as the rank of professor of sociology, since 2000. Born and raised in the Seattle area, she later received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., in 1974, and a master’s and doctorate in sociology in 1976 and 1979, respectively, from Vanderbilt University.
She was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1980 to 2000, serving as assistant professor (1980-1986), associate professor (1986-1995), special assistant to the dean of graduate studies (1994-1995), assistant dean of graduate studies (1995) special assistant to the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs (1997-1998) and associate dean of graduate studies and professor (1995-2000).
Her responsibilities at Missouri included planning and budgeting, graduate student recruitment and retention, master’s and doctoral programs of study and degree audits, curriculum development, multicultural teaching fellows programs, preparing future faculty, and enrollment management.
Among her most important accomplishments are the work she has done to secure funding for the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Degree, Preparing Future Faculty, Diversity Enhancement, and Ph.D. Completion programs at Missouri. In addition to work focused on creating a more inclusive pipeline into graduate school and the professoriate, she has chaired a task force at Missouri that will make recommendations on enhancing the professional development of post-doctoral fellows.
She currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Council of Graduate Schools and as immediate past-chair of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. Previously, she served as an executive committee member of the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and on the American Sociological Association (ASA) Advisory Board for Preparing Future Faculty and ASA Executive Office and Budget committee.
Ortega is the author of more than 30 scholarly monographs, articles and book chapters. Her research interests include social gerontology, the sociology of health and mental health, deviance and criminology, and minority group relations. An award-winning teacher, Ortega has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on grants totaling more than $6 million in state and federal funds.
Ortega’s annual salary will be $185,004.