As leaders of the Office of Graduate Studies, Sophia Hayes and William Acree guide new efforts to support graduate students in Arts & Sciences.
Sophia Hayes, currently interim vice dean of graduate education and professor of chemistry, and William Acree, currently dean’s fellow for graduate education initiatives and professor of Spanish, will soon take on new roles that reflect their ongoing commitment to graduate education at Washington University. On July 1, Hayes will be appointed vice dean of graduate education, and Acree will become associate vice dean of graduate education. Hayes and Acree together lead the newly formed Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences.
“I am thrilled to be able to step into this new role with graduate education in Arts & Sciences,” said Acree. “With Vice Dean Hayes and the exceptional Office of Graduate Studies team, we have been working hard to build the new office and are all eager to turn our attention to exciting initiatives for graduate education.”
In their newly appointed roles, Hayes and Acree will work with departments and programs to strengthen recruitment, foster convergent research and cross-program collaborations, and enhance students’ sense of belonging at the university. They also look forward to developing new opportunities for academy-industry partnerships and publicly engaged scholarship, thanks to support from the Arts & Sciences Strategic Plan.
“I am particularly excited about the ability to elevate new and existing professional development and training opportunities,” said Hayes. “We recognize pathways beyond academia, noting that many students go on to fulfilling careers in teaching, consulting, and other professional areas.”
"Sophia and Billy have done exceptional work over the past year in establishing the Office of Graduate Studies and building an infrastructure that empowers our students," said Feng Sheng Hu, dean of Arts & Sciences. "Excellence in graduate education is a critical part of our mission, and we have identified two extraordinary leaders in this area. I look forward to watching graduate education in Arts & Sciences grow and thrive with their guidance."
The solidification of Acree's and Hayes' roles is one of many steps aimed at enhancing support for graduate education in Arts & Sciences. The moves all recognize the vital role of graduate students within the school and throughout WashU, as well as the need to better recruit and support diverse students across disciplines.
“Graduate students are so important to the ‘life’ of the university,” said Hayes. “They’re a dynamic population with so much to offer, and the years we are together are transformative for both the students and the institution. We need to welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and Arts & Sciences is an important entity to create opportunities to do that in meaningful ways.”