Provost Phyllis Wise has announced that Jerry Baldasty, who has been serving as interim dean and vice provost of the Graduate School since August 2008, has accepted the permanent position.
Baldasty, a professor of communication, has been a UW faculty member since 1978. He won a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000 and served as chair of the Department of Communication from 2002 to 2008. He is a former director of the UW Teaching Academy and has served on a variety of UW committees and boards.
During his tenure as interim dean, Baldasty has downsized the Graduate School, reducing administrative overhead by about 20 percent; streamlined the academic program review process, reducing duplication and giving units more discretion; eliminated several longstanding administrative hurdles for graduate students and faculty; and initiated a broad multimedia public outreach about graduate education, among other accomplishments.
“Graduate education is at the leading edge of helping to solve many of society’s most pressing issues, locally and worldwide, so I am delighted to be part of it in this new role,” Baldasty said. “In addition to improving the Graduate School’s many critical functions for the UW as a whole, I will advocate relentlessly for graduate education as a far-reaching, powerful catalyst for positive change.”
“Throughout his career, Jerry Baldasty has demonstrated his commitment to teaching and scholarship,” said UW Provost Phyllis Wise. “He has provided excellent leadership for the Department of Communication, and I am confident he will do the same for all of graduate education at the University. We’re very lucky to have him here and eager to step into this new role.”
Baldasty, a native of Spokane, received his B.A. in communications from the UW in 1972, his M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1974, and his Ph.D. from the UW in 1978. He has authored three books and numerous articles. His academic research has focused on media in the context of politics, business, gender and race/ethnicity.
As dean and vice provost, Baldasty will lead graduate education for all three UW campuses, encompassing admissions and graduation; extensive financial support programs for graduate students and faculty; state-mandated academic program review for both graduate and undergraduate programs; professional development, guidance and mentorship for graduate students; and advocacy for graduate education within the UW, regionally and beyond.
Total UW graduate enrollment in Autumn 2008 was 11,114, which is 5.1 percent greater than the previous year. Even greater growth is anticipated in professional master’s programs in coming years. Many graduates stay in Washington after graduation, contributing to the state’s economic development.
The UW Graduate School will celebrate its centennial in 2010. As a unit on all three UW campuses, it provides wide-ranging, essential services for more than 120 fields of study. Since 1885, the UW has awarded more than 55,000 graduate degrees.