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LSU Graduate School Dean Candidate Michelle Massé Gives Presentation

12/01/2011 12:18 PM

BATON ROUGE – The first of three finalists for the deanship of the LSU Graduate School discussed during a presentation to LSU faculty, staff and students on Nov. 30 how she would work to better recruitment and retention for the school, as well as how she would increase the school’s visibility.


Michelle Massé, a professor in the LSU Department of English, gave a public presentation of her vision for the Graduate School during the event, held in Room 152 of Coates Hall.


“This decision will mark an important change in the course of the university,” Massé said. “We need to decide where we’re going next as a graduate school and make long-range goals.”


Citing a Carnegie Foundation study, Massé said that she feels the school has to “think of graduation education differently.” She cited three aims – generating knowledge, conserving knowledge and transforming knowledge.


“While all three are vital, transforming knowledge interests me the most, and would be my goal if I were to become the dean of the Graduate School.”


The Graduate School must be careful about the selection process in allowing students into the school’s various programs, Massé said.


“There’s a risk of narcissism or reproduction of ourselves,” she said. “We tend to look at our own education and wanting to shape students in that mold. The world has changed. Students have changed. Disciplines have changed. We need to keep up with those changes.”


Focusing on recruiting and retention, Massé said, improving the school’s student data would help to gauge success of past students, keeping current student and addressing needs in recruiting future students.


“Recruiting is imperative,” she said. “We need to seek people out. We can’t assume that people will just find us. Retention is equally important. We have data, but it’s spotty.”


Massé suggested the school look into engaging with other organizations or alternative Ph.D. programs


Massé said she would work to make the Graduate School “an intellectual hub” for the university and beyond.


“We want to be a source for intellectual material, but we also want to ensure that information coming back to us. I’d like the Graduate School to be a part of bringing people together between disciplines. We need to apply our knowledge to make sure our students can carry forward our legacy and create their own.”


Following her presentation, Massé fielded questions from the audience, with topics ranging from improving the college’s use of technology, how she would work to increase the school’s resources and how she would facilitate interdisciplinary teaching and research, among other topics.


Massé previously served as director of the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies program and as the director of graduate studies for the Department of English. More information on Masse’ is available at


Over the next six days, the remaining candidates for the position will be interviewed and will give presentations that are open to the entire LSU community. The presentations will be followed by open question-and-answer sessions, led by the candidates.


The remaining candidates include:

  • Kevin Cope, a professor in the LSU English Department and member of the faculty of Comparative Literature. He is currently president of the LSU Faculty Senate. He will give a public presentation of his vision for the Graduate School on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 3-4 p.m. in Room 152 of Coates Hall. More information on Cope is available at
  • Gary Byerly, a professor in the LSU Department of Geology and Geophysics and a consulting professor at Stanford University. He is also an associate dean in the LSU College of Science. Previously, he served as graduate advisor and department chair in Geology and Geophysics. He will give a public presentation of his vision for the Graduate School on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 3-4 p.m. in the Holliday Forum, located in the Journalism Building. More information on Byerly is available at


To learn more about the LSU Graduate School, visit

LSU Media Relations