Byrd-Jacobs appointed Graduate College interim dean

Contact: Paula M. Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Sue Stapleton, who has served as Graduate College dean since 2012, will assume the role of special assistant to the provost beginning today, May 16. Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, associate dean of the Graduate College and professor of biological sciences, will now serve as the college's interim dean.

“On behalf of Western Michigan University, please join me in thanking Dr. Stapleton for her service over the past seven years,” Provost Jennifer Bott said in announcing the new appointments.


Since 2014, Byrd-Jacobs has advanced graduate education at WMU by leading the development and assessment of curricula and programs. She also coordinates the University's interdisciplinary studies doctorate program and provides oversight of the research ethics requirement for graduate students.

“I am confident that Dr. Byrd-Jacobs will serve our students and faculty well as we move through this transition,” Bott said. “She has a strong record of focusing the school’s efforts on student and faculty success in graduate education. She’s advanced multiple strategies, such as expanding our advising and mentoring resources.”

In accepting the role, Byrd-Jacobs said, “I am honored to serve as a resource for graduate students, faculty and staff at WMU in support of graduate education. I have greatly admired Dr. Stapleton’s passion for graduate students. I look forward to continuing that enthusiasm.”

Byrd-Jacobs joined WMU's Department of Biological Sciences in 1996. The focus of her research is the regeneration of the adult brain after injury, utilizing the zebrafish olfactory system as a model. She has published 27 peer-reviewed research articles, secured nearly $2 million in grant funding and served as sole investigator on four grants from the National Institutes of Health. She also has mentored 11 master's-level students, five doctoral students and 71 undergraduate students, and she has served on the thesis committees for 42 other students.

In 2008, Byrd-Jacobs received the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Award in research.

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