Elizabeth A. Dolan Named Lehigh’s New Deputy Provost for Graduate Education

Dolan will assume her new role on July 1.

Beth Dolan

Elizabeth A. Dolan has been named to the newly created position of Deputy Provost for Graduate Education.

Elizabeth A. Dolan, associate professor of English and founding director of the Health, Medicine and Society program at Lehigh, has been named to the newly created position of Deputy Provost for Graduate Education. Dolan will officially assume her new role July 1.

In the position, Dolan will work with Lehigh’s five colleges, including the new College of Health, to enhance visibility and recruit students to Lehigh’s graduate programs. In collaboration with the colleges and the vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies, Dolan also will work to develop additional financial support and career opportunities for graduate students and help to create organizational constructs that will enable innovative graduate programs and degrees to develop and grow, particularly cross-college interdisciplinary degrees.

“During this exciting time, as we seek to substantially expand our graduate student population, Beth’s knowledge and experience will provide important, focused leadership for those already contributing to graduate student life at Lehigh,” said Provost Pat Farrell. “Beth’s extensive work with graduate students and her interdisciplinary research and program leadership will serve her well in her efforts to enhance the graduate experience.”

Dolan expressed excitement at taking on the new role and working with the staff in the Office of Graduate Student Life, especially Associate Dean for Graduate Life Kathleen Hutnik, whom, she said, has thought deeply about what Lehigh’s graduate student population needs to succeed, including support for writing and professionalization.

“My long term goal is for Lehigh to be regarded as a destination for graduate study,” Dolan said. “I would love for us to be known for supporting and creating innovative programs and also for being a humane, intellectually exciting, and purpose-driven place to do graduate work.

“There’s so much potential here,” she said. “We have needed a point person to bring together all the efforts that are already under way in all the colleges and to communicate in and beyond Lehigh the message of who we are, and what our graduate programs have to offer.”

Deputy Provost for Faculty Affairs Robert Flowers, who chaired the search committee, said Dolan “articulated the clear vision and commitment required to raise the visibility of graduate studies and enhance the intellectual atmosphere at Lehigh. 

“In addition,” he said, “the search committee was impressed with her dedication to creating a healthy and positive environment for graduate students at Lehigh.”

Dolan earned her B.A. in English at Davidson College, and her master’s and doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served as the senior fellow in literature and medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical school.

At Lehigh, Dolan teaches undergraduate English courses in writing and Romantic-era literature as well as graduate courses in Romanticism. She also teaches courses cross-listed with the Health, Medicine, and Society program.

In her six years as founding director of Lehigh’s Health, Medicine and Society program, the program grew from 30 declared minors to 200. She leveraged faculty talent to build the program in significant ways: She co-directed a committee that competed successfully for a cluster hire in community health; she helped design a process for hiring joint appointments at the university; she co-directed a committee that proposed the Center for Community Engagement, which supports partnerships with community groups and sustainable community-based research; and she served on the committee that designed the Grants for Experiential Learning in health to fund student research and apprenticeship opportunities in the health arena.

While her work in the Health, Medicine and Society program was primarily focused on undergraduate education and faculty research, Dolan has contributed significantly to the doctoral and master’s programs in English. She has served on some two dozen dissertation committees —seven as director—in the English, history and psychology departments.

In 2014, Dolan was awarded a fellowship to conduct research at Chawton House Library in England, where she met composer Amanda Jacobs. Dolan and Jacobs collaborated to set poet Charlotte Smith’s long blank-verse poem Beachy Head to music. “The Song Cycles of Beachy Head” has been performed in England and Australia, as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York. She also has authored the book, Seeing Suffering in Women’s Literature of the Romantic Era.

In addition to Flowers, members of the search committee included George DuPaul, associate dean for research and professor of school psychology; Suzanne Edwards, associate professor, English; Kelly Schultz, assistant professor, chemical and biomolecular engineering; Oliver Yao, associate dean for graduate programs and professor of management, and Iiona Scully, graduate student, psychology.

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