LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas has named Michael C. Roberts, founding director of the university’s top-ranked clinical child psychology program, to be the new dean of Graduate Studies.
Roberts, who recently stepped down as director of clinical child psychology after 21 years, will assume leadership of Graduate Studies at the beginning of 2014. At the same time, the Office of Research & Graduate Studies will become the Office of Graduate Studies and the Office of Research. Vice Chancellor Steve Warren will continue to lead the Office of Research.
“I firmly believe that graduate research and education is fundamentally at the core of a public, international research university,” Roberts said. “I look forward to working closely with the College and the schools to enhance the quality of our numerous programs and raise the stature of graduate studies overall.”
Roberts joined KU in 1991 to establish a new interdepartmental program to provide education and training for clinical child psychology at the master’s and doctoral level. The program is now recognized as one of the best in the nation and is ranked sixth out of 216 clinical psychology programs in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools.”
As dean of Graduate Studies, Roberts plans to bolster the office’s centralized support for the goals, benchmarks and assessment metrics established by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professional schools for graduate education. In particular, he intends to continue to grow the use of data by the Office of Graduate Studies to enhance graduate recruitment as well as the preparation and placement of graduate students.
“Graduate programs and departments are in the best position to stay attuned to their disciplines and respond to a changing environment,” Roberts said. “As dean, I will enhance collaborations with our programs to enhance their work, and in particular to improve the visibility of our outstanding students and programs across the KU community and external constituencies.”
Roberts will succeed Thomas Heilke, who announced earlier this year he would be leaving KU to become associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. The newly independent Office of Graduate Studies will report to Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs. The search committee for the position was led by Rodolfo Torres, associate vice chancellor for KU research and professor of mathematics.
“Michael will be a tremendous leader for Graduate Studies as we continue to implement the goals and strategies of Bold Aspirations, our strategic plan,” Rosen said. “He brings a strong commitment to KU and our overall goal of enhancing doctoral education. I’d like to thank the search committee and Rodolfo for their work, and I look forward to working closely with Michael.”
Roberts earned his master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Purdue University. Prior to joining KU in 1991, he was professor of psychology at the University of Alabama. His position in clinical child psychology includes appointments as professor in the departments of Psychology and the Applied Behavioral Science, and as courtesy professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine. In addition, he has been a licensed psychologist since 1980.
His honors at KU include the John C. Wright Graduate Mentor Award in 2013 and a Kemper Teaching Award in 2007. He is a past recipient of the Beverly Thorn Award for outstanding service as director of clinical training by the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology. In addition, the KU Clinical Child Psychology program was awarded the Suinn Minority Achievement Award by the American Psychological Association in 2009.