R. Darrell Peterson, an experienced higher education professional who has dedicated more than 20 years to working in student affairs, will join Caltech as associate dean of graduate studies on August 4.
He will work with Dean of Graduate Studies David C. Chan and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Natalie Gilmore to oversee Caltech's graduate program, which comprises more than 1,300 students across 31 graduate options.
"Caltech is home to some of the very best and brightest graduate students in the world, and I am thrilled to be joining the Caltech campus community," Peterson says. "This position provides an excellent opportunity to partner with faculty and staff in ensuring that all graduate students have access to the high impact, high quality programs, resources, and services they need in order to succeed in their academic endeavors at Caltech."
The Graduate Studies Office plays a central role in shaping graduate students' academic and social experiences at Caltech, supporting recruitment and admissions, overseeing students' progress through degree and research programs, facilitating academic advising, managing and awarding graduate fellowships on behalf of the Institute, and allocating financial assistance as needed. As the associate dean of graduate studies, Peterson will also work closely with graduate student leaders, building and sustaining a partnership between the administration and the student body that will help advance the Institute's research and education mission.
Peterson, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at James Madison University and his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Iowa State University of Science and Technology, comes to Caltech from Monmouth University in New Jersey, where he has served as the associate vice provost for graduate student services since 2017. At Monmouth, he was responsible for developing and coordinating resources and services for 1,500 graduate students. Previously, he had dedicated eight years to Boston College, the last five of which were spent as the director of the Office of Graduate Student Life.
Through his experiences at Monmouth University and Boston College, Chan says, Peterson "has expanded his leadership skills and cultivated a deep understanding of and appreciation for the graduate student experience that will help enhance the programming, support services, and functions offered through Caltech's Graduate Studies Office."
Peterson says he looks forward to assuming his new role and "making a meaningful contribution toward the development of a seamless, inclusive, holistic approach toward the graduate student experience by further establishing a welcoming, supportive, and vibrant environment where graduate students can learn, contribute, and successfully achieve their highest academic goals and aspirations."