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LSU Graduate School Dean Candidate Kevin Cope Gives Presentation

12/02/2011 02:57 PM

BATON ROUGE – The second of three finalists for the deanship of the LSU Graduate School, LSU English professor and member of the faculty of Comparative Literature Kevin Cope, gave a public presentation to LSU faculty, staff and students of his vision for the Graduate School during an open forum, held Dec. 1 in Room 152 of Coates Hall.


Cope’s presentation on his vision for the graduate school, titled “A Constellation of Hopes for The Graduate School,” focused on his strategies and priorities if he were named dean of the school.


Cope said that graduate school is moving into a connection with the Office of Research and Economic Development, which offers a variety of opportunities, such as allowing the school to present itself as an expression of the scholarly excellence of the university.


“It’s also moving much more into fundraising orbit and also … into the recruitment world, meaning that more of the effort of the Graduate School will be in an external direction,” said Cope, citing educating the public or reaching out to students who might have been underserved as two external examples.


Cope said there is an expectation that the Graduate School be headed by a scholar. He hopes to bring a renewed sense of academic purpose and mission to the position by working on more interdisciplinary projects and explaining to the community about these collective projects.


Explaining to the public what the more visible disciplines such as engineering and chemistry do and how they affect the public are important, Cope said, but also explaining how the less visible parts of the university have an impact, why they are necessary and why they need to be supported, are just as important.


Cope said two of his priorities as dean would be to stabilize the office of the Graduate School and increase the number of graduate students. He outlined his strategy for accomplishing these priorities:

  • Deploy the dean as a statewide spokesman for graduate education.
  • Consult with four-year institutions statewide to create study tracks leading to graduate study.
  • Devote extra effort to “low completer” areas and areas requiring the taking of courses in specific sequences.
  • Recognize that the road to graduate study begins either early in college life or even late in the K-12 period.  


Other items Cope plans to address are utilizing cooperative recruiting, increasing diversity and internationalization, and improving overall graduate student life and governance.


Following his presentation, Cope fielded questions from the audience, with topics including facilitating visiting scholars to campus, cultivating the industrial base near campus, graduate faculty workloads, graduate students teaching, and his aspirations for including IT in the Graduate School.


In addition to being a professor in the LSU English Department and member of the faculty of Comparative Literature, Cope is currently president of the LSU Faculty Senate. More information on Cope is available at


Cope was the second of three candidates to be interviewed and give a presentation that is open to the LSU community. The other candidates for dean include:

  • Michelle Masse’, a professor in the LSU Department of English. She 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. She gave her public presentation of her vision for the Graduate School on Wednesday, Nov. 30. More information on Masse’ 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