Graduate School Formation

In January of 2021, the Texas A&M Graduate and Professional School was formed from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Establishing a Graduate and Professional School

The transition from Office of Graduate and Professional Studies to Graduate and Professional School represents an effort to fulfill an institutional strategic goal of strengthening graduate education at Texas A&M University, thereby raising the bar of excellence for the University as a whole.

The decision to seek this change was reached after careful consideration by the OGAPS leadership of input from independent research firms and graduate education stakeholders.

To gather input from university stakeholders on a shift to a graduate school, OGAPS convened a task force consisting of faculty, staff, graduate students, and administrators.

Elevating Graduate Education at Texas A&M

The Graduate and Professional School believes that the transition will support the graduate education at Texas A&M in the following ways:

  • Raise the profile of graduate studies at Texas A&M.
  • Improve the graduate student experience.
  • Enhance interdisciplinary efforts across colleges.
  • Aid retention and student success initiatives.
  • Improve efforts to increase diversity.


Vision 2020 identified the value of graduate education in achieving the university’s aspirational goals; in particular, it will support Imperative 2: Strengthen Our Graduate Programs.


The Graduate Experiences Task Force, convened in 2009, identified three areas for improvement:

  • Quality of Life
  • Compensations and Benefits
  • Professional Development.

In 2018-2019, OGAPS performed benchmarking analyses of peer institutions and research on graduate unit organizations and structures, as well as visiting graduate units at three upstanding institutions.


Building on the aforementioned information and input, as well as feedback from the TAMU 2020-2025 Strategic Plan discussions, in December 2019, Associate Provost Dr. Karen Butler- Purry requested to shift the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies to a Graduate School model.


Task Force Creation

To gather input from university stakeholders on a shift to a graduate school, OGAPS convened a task force consisting of faculty, staff, graduate students and administrators.

TASK FORCE Membership

Graduate School Task Force Executive Committee Member List (as of February, 2020)

Karen Butler-PurryAssociate ProvostOGAPS
George CunninghamSenior Assistant ProvostOGAPS
Shannon WaltonDirectorOGAPS
Gerianne AlexanderAssociate Vice PresidentDivision of Research
Anne ReberDean of Student LifeDivision of Student Affairs
Joe PettibonVice PresidentDivision of Enrollment & Academic Services
Jocelyn WidmerAssistant ProvostAcademic Innovation & Online Education
Antoinetta Quigg

Associate Vice President and Head


Graduate School Task Force Member List

NameTitleCollege/UnitRole/Unit Represented

Maria Escobar-Lemmon

Associate Dean & ProfessorLiberal ArtsGOC
Mark ZoranAssociate Dean & ProfessorScienceGOC
Antoinetta QuiggAssociate Vice President & HeadTAMUGURC
Michelle MitchellAssistant Deal of Finance EngineeringABOC
Ivan RusynProfessorVet MedIDP Chair
Julie HarlinAssociate ProfessorAg & Life ScienceFaculty
Jay RamadossAssociate ProfessorVet MedFaculty
Paul HernadezAssociate ProfessorEd & Human DevFaculty
Idia ThurstonAssociate ProfessorLiberal Arts; Public HealthFaculty
Ashley RossAssistant ProfessorTAMUGFaculty
Narendra KumarAssociate ProfessorPharmacyFaculty
Dennis GormanProfessorPublic HealthFaculty
Stacy DrakeAssociate ProfessorNursingFaculty
Hope RisingAssistant ProfessorArchitectureFaculty
Richard MalakAssociate ProfessorEngineeringFaculty
Christian HiltlyProfessorScienceFaculty
Larry BellingerAssociate Dean & ProfessorDentistryFaculty
David ThreadgillDistinguished ProfessorMedicineFaculty
Lori TaylorProfessor & HeadBush Sch of GovDept Head & Grad Prog Dir
Charlotte KuAssociate Dean & ProfessorLawGrad Prog Dir
Hagen KimAssociate ProfessorMays BusinessGrad Prog Dir
Istvan SzunyoughProfessorGeoscienceGrad Prog Dir
Wayne SmithAssociate Dept Head & ProfessorAg LifeGrad Prog Dir
Ashley SeaburyProgram ManagerVet Med & Biomed Sci Staff
Kara BondAcademic Advisor IIIEducationStaff
Purna DoddapaneniGPSG PresidentEngineeringGraduate Students
Chante AndersonBGSA PresidentLiberal ArtsGraduate Students
Smit Prashant MehtaIGSA OfficerEngineeringGraduate Students
Misha CharkrabortyPost DocOGAPS

Phase I


During the 2020 spring semester, the task force focused on gathering input from stakeholders [e.g. faculty senate, council of deans, GOC Deans, URC Deans, graduate students, CPI, etc.] on the establishment and possible scope of a Graduate School.

Phase I Timeline

February 26, 2020Task Force Meeting #1
March 17, 2020

Presentation made to Graduate & Professional Student Government (GPSG) Senate

April 1, 2020
Presentation made to Council of Deans (COD)
April 7, 2020
Presentation made to Department Head Steering Committee
April 8, 2020
Presentation made to Council of Principal Investigators (CPI)
May 4, 2020

Presentation made to the Graduate Operations Committee (GOC) Deans

May 13, 2020
Presentation made to the University Research Council (URC) Deans
June 15, 2020
Presentation made to the Faculty Senate
June 22, 2020
Task Force Meeting #2
July 2020
Associate Provost submits Task Force Report #1 to Provost Fierke
September 2020
Task Force Reconvenes


Conclusions and Future Charge

Based on this collective feedback from the university community, the Graduate School Task Force offered the following conclusions on the establishment of a Graduate School:

  • Texas A&M would benefit from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies transforming to a Graduate School model.
  • The name of “Graduate and Professional School” for the graduate school would more appropriately reflect the diversity of graduate and professional programs at Texas A&M.
  • A change to a Graduate School should be made consistent with guiding principles proposed by the task force, including an appreciation of the disciplinary diversity among the graduate and professional programs on campus.
  • The funding is in place to implement each of the changes identified in the report.


Phase II


The task force continued into the 2020-2021 academic year with a charge to provide recommendations on changes needed to achieve the graduate and professional education goals in the 2020-2025 University strategic plan.

To accomplish this charge, the Task Force formed three subcommittees, focusing on master’s, doctoral, and first professional doctoral programs, respectively. 

Each subcommittee was instructed  to: 

  • Review current practices and programs related to the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, with specific focus on graduate and professional education strategic priorities; form recommendations to move the institution towards becoming a globally-recognized leader in graduate and professional education
  • Gather input from faculty, staff, administrators and students;
  • Provide recommendations, including role of Graduate and Professional school and other university-level units.

Phase II Timeline

October 2020Subcommittees convene
November 2020

Subcommittees host open forums to gather input

Februar 1, 2021
Subcommitte Recommendations Submitted
March 8, 2021
Task Force meeting to discuss subcommittee reports
March 23, 2021
Subcommittee reports presented at Open Forum
April 21, 2021

Final Task Force recommendations submitted to Provost

Task Force Subcommittees

Master's, Doctoral, and First Professional Doctoral Subcommittees were formed in Fall 2020 to review current operations and make recommendations on the shift to a Graduate and Professional School.


Subcommittee Reports

The three subcommittees compiled reports based on input from subcommittee members and the campus community.





Based on the subcommittee reports, the Graduate School Task Force has created a draft of high-priority recommendations to share with the University community.


Task Force Recommendations Open Forum

The Graduate and Professional School held an Open Forum on March 23, 2021, to share high priority recommendations with the University community and offer attendees a chance to provide input on the future of Graduate and Professional education at Texas A&M. At the Open Forum, the Graduate and Professional School presented an overview of the Graduate School Task Force and its recommendations, then participants entered breakout rooms facilitated by Task Force members to share



Following the Open Forum, the Graduate School issued its final report, including the specific priorities intended to guide the collaborative effort of the Graduate and Professional School, academic programs, departments, colleges, and university offices to make meaningful, positive change in graduate and professional education at Texas A&M.   

Task Force Report #2 (April 2021)

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