Dean’s Welcome to Alumni and Faculty – October 2020

Susan EttnerWhen I began my role as Interim Dean of Graduate Education in August, our global community was in the midst of facing unprecedented trials that greatly affect our health, communities, and day-to-day life. As a campus, UCLA staff, faculty, and students quickly adjusted to rising challenges, transforming the lives of every Bruin around the world.

Now, as the 2020-21 academic year at UCLA begins, I am proud of our Graduate Division staff and faculty who have tirelessly worked to transition operations and student support systems to the virtual environment. We are eager to welcome 3,935 new students to UCLA graduate programs this fall quarter. They now join a community of over 13,000 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at UCLA, who are not only advancing critical research and teaching, but also supporting a broader undergraduate and faculty population.

As we look to the months ahead, we must renew our focus on the holistic well-being and professional development of our students, and ensure that the staff who support them are well-equipped to respond to their divergent needs. While the academic progress of graduate students should drive our priorities, we must look broadly at the types of support graduate students need to achieve their full creative potential. Among my top priorities for graduate education at UCLA are:

  1. Providing students with adequate financial resources to pursue their education, and address immediate concerns for basic needs (such as housing and remote learning stability)
  2. Supporting student diversity in all of its forms, not only through holistic admissions practices but ongoing retention support throughout students’ graduate careers
  3. Promoting student mental health and well-being
  4. Facilitating healthy mentoring relationships through efforts such as the MEGAP (Mentoring and Evaluation of Graduate Academic Progress) initiative

I look forward to working with you, our alumni and faculty, and the vast network of Bruins around the world as we navigate a new year for UCLA and a challenging time for our graduate community. Together, I am confident that graduate education at UCLA will remain robust, accessible, and innovative.

With best regards,

Susan Ettner
Interim Dean, Graduate Education
Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine
Professor, Fielding School of Public Health