PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Andrew G. Campbell, the 15th dean of the Graduate School of Brown University, will step down after six years of leadership effective June 30, 2022, to return to research and teaching as a professor of medical science at Brown.
Campbell’s six-year tenure as dean has included record enrollment growth and a marked increase in diversity among Brown graduate students. He has been responsible for engaging and supporting more than 2,600 students enrolled in doctoral and master’s programs in more than 40 departments, centers and institutes, including the Division of Biology and Medicine, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health and the School of Professional Studies.
In a Friday, March 11, letter to the Brown community, Provost Richard M. Locke said Campbell has been a remarkable Graduate School leader and a dedicated teacher, mentor and student advocate.
“Andrew has been a stalwart partner and a steadfast proponent for Brown’s graduate students throughout his tenure,” Locke said. “While I will miss his vision and presence on the senior leadership team, I am happy he is continuing his research and teaching at Brown. We are sincerely grateful for his remarkable service to our students, the Graduate School and the University as a whole.”
In addition to developing and implementing a strategic vision for the Graduate School, providing financial oversight, directing graduate student admission and funding, and leading the school’s staff, Campbell collaborated with graduate program leaders across the University, supported student growth and success, and coordinated policies and standards to ensure overall academic excellence.
Since he became dean in 2016, graduate student enrollment reached a record high (2,689 students in 2021-22) with the highest number of students from historically underrepresented groups (429) to date. The school achieved its 10-year goals for enrollment and student diversity within 24 months of establishing them.
“Over the past six years, I have taken great pride in the work we have done to make graduate education accessible to all students,” Campbell said. “We have worked to help make sure that Brown is a welcoming place for all students, and to help all of our graduate students feel a sense of belonging.”
In 2019, the school eliminated the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) test score requirement for admission to 24 of its Ph.D. programs, reducing a barrier that discourages some students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education and from low-income backgrounds from applying, and enabling programs to attract a wider pool of applicants.
And when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many members of the community, Campbell led efforts to expand financial support and resources for doctoral students, including the appointment of the school’s first student support dean; establishment of transitional stipends for new students; additional semesters of extended funding; summer health care support; enhanced family-friendly initiatives, and the launch of an emergency funding program.
Campbell also played a crucial role in introducing new positions and initiatives, including an orientation program for graduate students of color, to help attract and retain students, faculty and staff that make the Graduate School a more inclusive academic community.
Two years after his start as dean, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Graduate School a $1.675 million, five-year grant in support of its innovative Open Graduate Education program and to help enable more Ph.D. students at Brown earn a master’s degree in a complementary field of study.
Campbell was elected chair of the Council of Graduate Schools in 2021, and was named a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2020) and the American Society for Cell Biology (2017), both while serving as dean
“I’ll miss the excitement and passion that I see in students for their work and advocacy at Brown, and the collaborative spirit of my peers in the administration and the remarkable staff in the Graduate School,” he said. “But I look forward to continuing my work with students at all levels.”
Campbell became dean of the Graduate School in 2016, but first came to Brown in 1994 as an assistant professor of medical science. His research focuses on microbial diseases, particularly infectious diseases in neglected populations and regions. He has taught and advised Brown undergraduate and graduate students since his appointment and has served as director of the University’s pathobiology program. He is currently principal investigator of two National Institutes of Health grants and the recipient of several awards in various fields, from teaching excellence and faculty governance to AIDS research.
Campbell has co-directed the Initiative to Maximize Student Development at Brown since its inception in 2008. The program provides research training support for students in underrepresented groups to significantly increase participation within the biomedical, behavioral and physical sciences as well as engineering and math.
Last summer, the Journal for STEM Education Research published a study that detailed the 10-year outcomes of implementing practices that support success of underrepresented students in STEM graduate programs at Brown through IMSD. The results showed sustained improvement in compositional diversity, retention and degree attainment of students in the program relative to their peers. They also showed the success of participants in publishing studies, securing national fellowships and finding job placements.
“Inequities are what lead to underrepresentation in STEM, and they begin with unequal and differential access to educational resources, support and opportunities,” Campbell said. “When inequities are eliminated, as through the work we’ve been doing with Brown IMSD, the success of underrepresented students becomes indistinguishable from the success of their peers.”
Locke will lead a search committee in seeking Campbell’s successor.