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Graduate School increases support for inclusion and professional development with two new hires

Sheri R. Notaro, associate dean for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University, St. Louis, has been named associate dean for inclusion and professional development at Cornell, effective Aug. 19. She will report to Barbara A. Knuth, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.

"I am very excited about joining Cornell because of its demonstrated commitment to diversity at every level -- undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, faculty and staff, and I'm looking forward to engaging and partnering with each of these levels," Notaro said.

A second position of assistant dean for professional development has been filled by Tilman Baumstark, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Baumstark will report to Notaro.

In her new position, Notaro will provide vision, direction and coordination for Graduate School initiatives to enhance the academic and professional development of graduate and professional students. The primary focus will be students from groups historically underrepresented in graduate education. Notaro will provide strategic leadership in defining and implementing programs that foster competencies and skills to enhance students' academic success, improve retention and completion rates, and prepare students for their professional careers.

The appointment of Notaro is the last of three new high-level positions created this past spring to support underrepresented students. In May, Renee Alexander '74, Cornell's director of diversity alumni programs, was named to the new position of associate dean of students and director of intercultural programs. Andrew Thompson Miller of the University of Michigan was named associate vice provost for academic diversity initiatives.

"We set ambitious goals for the type of person who should fill this position," Knuth said. "In Dr. Notaro, we found a visionary and dynamic leader with a strong academic background, broad experience with mentoring and professional development, a commitment to inclusion, strategic vision, and the ability to reach across fields, departments and colleges to support our prospective and current students and our graduate programs. We are delighted to have Dr. Notaro join the graduate community."

Notaro brings broad experience in student support, mentoring and program development. She helped create programs to bring underrepresented and diverse graduate and professional students to Washington University, collaborated with university departments on various recruitment initiatives, and supported graduate fellows in the areas of volunteerism, community service and outreach, as well as professional development, conference presentations, and career planning and placement.

She has advocated for family-friendly policies to help support graduate students with children and has applied her own academic expertise in advocating for robust health benefits for graduate students.

Notaro received her M.A. (1996) and Ph.D (1999) in developmental psychology and her M.P.H. in health behavior and health education in 1998, all from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Baumstark will provide leadership for developing a program in research ethics and scholarly integrity, mentoring in grant writing and written and oral communication, working with graduate committees, developing programs in dissertation writing and cultural competency, and partnering with other offices on campus in support of professional development. Baumstark will begin in mid-September.

A graduate of Heinrich-Heine-University in Dusseldorf, Germany, with both a M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1997) in biophysics, Baumstark served as a postdoctoral and Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the University of the Sciences, he chaired the Graduate Faculty Council and led a university strategic planning process to develop comprehensive curricular revisions to enhance graduate student skills in leadership, written and oral communication, ethics in science and research, cultural competency and entrepreneurship.

"With the filling of these two positions, the Graduate School is well-positioned both to support our graduate fields in attracting and retaining a more diverse graduate student body and to enhance Cornell's graduate experience. We are very enthusiastic about working with Dr. Notaro and Dr. Baumstark and believe they will be a real asset for Cornell and for our graduate programs, enabling us to advance our efforts to support the professional development of our students," Knuth said.

Media Contact

Joe Schwartz