Thomas Lewis ’90, current interim dean of the Graduate School, will step into his role permanently effective July 1, President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20 announced at Tuesday’s faculty meeting.
Lewis, who also holds an appointment as professor of Religious Studies at the University, began his term as interim dean of the Grad School in July 2022, when then-Dean Andrew Campbell stepped down from his position.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with graduate students and faculty from programs across campus,” Lewis wrote in an email to The Herald.
In his new role, Lewis will be responsible for “all aspects of the Graduate School” — spanning student support and engagement within all University departments, centers and institutes, Interim Provost Larry Larson wrote in a Today@Brown announcement Wednesday. He will also provide financial oversight and planning as well as oversee graduate student admission and funding, the announcement added.
“I have complete confidence that Tal will be a fantastic leader of our graduate school,” Paxson said at the faculty meeting, noting Lewis’ work as interim dean over the last year.
Prior to his role as the Grad School’s interim dean, Lewis served as the director of both graduate and undergraduate studies in the Department of Religious Studies, according to a May 3 University press release.
As interim dean, Lewis was responsible for “advancing the excellence of our graduate programs, increasing support for our graduate students and strengthening the broader structure for graduate education across the University,” former Provost Richard Locke P’19 wrote in an April 2022 Today@Brown announcement.
In his new position, Lewis hopes to advance the Grad School’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and diversity, equity and inclusion. According to Larson, the Grad School saw its most diverse group of matriculated students to date under Lewis’ leadership.
“I want to build on the progress we’ve made in recruiting diverse cohorts of outstanding doctoral students, supporting them so that they thrive while they are here, and launching them into dynamic careers both within and beyond academia,” Lewis wrote.
Lewis is also currently charged with overseeing the implementation of recommendations made by the Task Force on Doctoral Education, a group he chaired from 2021-22 that was dedicated to improving the quality of education at the Grad School.
According to Lewis, the task force’s report established optimal guidelines for the work he hopes to accomplish at the Grad School.
The report provides “guidance on enhancing excellence across the entire graduate student lifecycle: recruiting stellar students; providing innovative, world-class curricula; supporting outstanding advising and mentoring; and offering professional development that prepares students well for their careers beyond Brown,” he explained.
Above all else, Lewis wrote that he hopes to contribute to the University’s recognition as “a dynamic leader in graduate education that places a premium on academic excellence grounded in cutting-edge curricula, support that enables students from diverse backgrounds to thrive and innovative approaches to interdisciplinary training.”
As dean of the Grad School, Lewis will report directly to the provost and serve on both the President’s Cabinet and the University’s senior academic leadership team.
In the announcement, Larson thanked Lewis “for his continued leadership, support and advocacy for our graduate students.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with him in this important leadership role,” Larson wrote.
Correction: A previous story misstated Thomas Lewis's informal name on one instance. The Herald regrets the error.
Sofia Barnett is a University News editor overseeing the faculty and higher education beat. She is a sophomore from Texas studying history, politics and nonfiction writing.