Graduate School Dean Mark J. T. Smith Announces Retirement

Mark J. T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School and senior vice provost for academic affairs, has announced his retirement and will step down as upon completion of the 2022-23 academic year. A national search will soon begin to identify his successor.

Dean Smith joined the university in 2017 after serving as dean of the Graduate School at Purdue University for eight years. As both a dean and professor of electrical and computer engineering, he is widely recognized for his administrative leadership and his research and teaching. He has six patents and has authored or co-authored more than 260 publications, including six international standards publications.  

“Dean Smith has been a passionate leader and trusted colleague, and he has had a significant impact on graduate education at UT,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost of UT Austin, in an email to campus. “Please join me in celebrating Dean Smith’s contributions and thanking him for his leadership and service to our university.”

Under Dean Smith’s leadership at UT, numerous successful initiatives have been launched. Dean Smith helped develop comprehensive, campus-wide recruitment strategies to increase graduate applications and enroll top students from around the world, including significant increases in the recruitment of students from underrepresented groups.

As Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, he has supported faculty members and students by overseeing the growth and advancement of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Strategic Academic Initiatives and Extended Education Ventures — all of which have enhanced our academic mission, improved student outcomes and championed career development. He has also helped bring several software tools to the university, including iThenticate, NameCoach and Overleaf, to support UT’s instructional and research mission.

In addition, Dean Smith launched several diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In 2020, the Graduate School joined the University Research Alliance, funded by the National Science Foundation, and he helped implement a new faculty hiring workshop model that promotes holistic application review and active recruiting.

Dean Smith led the Graduate Education Task Force to develop strategic solutions for enhancing graduate education at the university. As a result, the university was able to provide $10.9 million in recurring funds to support graduate students — the largest single increase in funding for graduate students in the university’s history. Dean Smith also focused on the health and well-being of graduate students and helped lead the initiative to improve health care access, reduce costs and expand benefits.

“Over the years, Dean Smith has fostered graduate student success not only through leadership and programming, but also through individual care and dedication,” said Wood. “He supervised and graduated 33 doctoral students and has extended that focused care and compassion toward the entire graduate student community.”

Sept. 16, 2022