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Graduate and Professional School Dean Stepping Down

Published on Wed 04/06/22

Dear Texas A&M Community,

Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Associate Provost and Dean of the Texas A&M Graduate and Professional School, has decided to step down from her administrative position at the end of the summer 2022 term in August. After having led graduate and professional education at Texas A&M for 12 years, Butler-Purry will return to faculty in electrical and computer engineering to resume research and teaching. 

Under her direction, graduate and professional education at Texas A&M has undergone significant change. When she was appointed as Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies in July of 2010, Texas A&M had just over 9,000 graduate and professional students and was housed in the Division of Research. Today, Texas A&M has nearly 16,000 graduate and professional students. 

“I told myself I would serve in this administrative role for no more than eight years,” Butler-Purry said. “Here it is going on twelve. It has been a lot of fun. I am extremely appreciative to all the staff and faculty who have worked with me in the Grad School over the years, as well as other university faculty, staff, and administrators who have given their time and input to help us develop and implement some very impactful initiatives. I am, though, looking forward to returning to my lab and the classroom again. I miss teaching and working directly with undergraduate and graduate students.”

In addition to overseeing a dramatic increase in enrollment and the transition to a graduate school model of administration, Butler-Purry has worked with partners across campus, at other institutions, the Council of Graduate School (CGS), and federal agencies to lead efforts to build a nationally recognized, student-centered model for graduate education, which includes greater data transparency and programming aimed at cultivating a sense of community among graduate students, improving campus climate, expanding professional development opportunities, increasing student support, creating a culture of mentoring, and expanding career pathways. Beyond Texas A&M, Butler-Purry has emerged as a leading voice in graduate education nationally. Just this past year she was selected by the CGS Board of Directors as the recipient of the 2021 Debra Stewart Award for Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education. 

Dr. Butler-Purry is driven by a belief in the transformative power of education, which is why she has done such a great job heading the Graduate School. Under her leadership, Texas A&M is becoming a global destination for graduate and professional students. Even as she nears the end of her tenure, she is still proposing ideas to help continue advancing graduate and professional education. The university is grateful to her for extraordinary service.

You will be hearing more from me in the days to come about the search for the next leader of Graduate and Professional School.


Timothy P. Scott ’89
Interim Provost & Executive Vice President