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Graduate College Deans

 Debasish (Deba) Dutta, Dean 

Debasish (Deba) Dutta is Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate College, and Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and a Professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering. He has extensive experience in higher education and policy making.  He is a Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academy of Engineering, where he recently completed a study on the lifelong learning needs of U.S. engineering professionals and currently leads an NSF funded national study about education for innovation.

During 2004-2007 he served at the National Science Foundation as Acting Director of the Division of Graduate Education, IGERT Program Director and as Advisor in the Office of Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources. He played a key role in the development of NSF’s Cyberinfrastructure Strategy (Vision for 21st Century Discovery) chairing its Learning and Workforce Development sub-committee. He was a selected to be a member of the Illinois team in the 2010 Education Leaders Institute of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dutta received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1989, and was on the faculty at the University of Michigan from 1989-2008. He has published extensively in the area of computer aided design and manufacturing, and currently focuses on interoperability issues in product lifecycle management. He has served on the GRE and TOEFL Boards (both of ETS) and currently is on the Board of Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Schools, a 501c(3) for K-12 education. He serves on the Illinois Arts Education Advisory Committee and on the National Advisory Committee of the Council of Graduate Schools and TIAA/CREF project on Financial Education. He also serves on the editorial boards of several journals. A Fellow of AAAS and ASME, he has received several awards, co-founded the IFIP International PLM Conference and has been the William Mong Scholar at the University of Hong Kong and a Guest Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. He is a member of ASEE and SME.


Associate Deans

John C. Hart

Dr. Hart is a professor in the Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, where he studies computer graphics. His work on computer graphics over the past 25 years has been supported by Adobe, AT&T, DARPA, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, NVIDIA and the NSF. He has also worked with graphics hardware manufacturers, defense contractors, visual effects studios, game developers and a medical imaging startup, and provided IP expertise for Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD (ATI) and GPH (SGI). He is the graphics area editor for ACM Books, a past Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Graphics, a past member of the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee, a co-author of “Real-Time Shading,” a contributing author to “Texturing and Modeling: A Procedural Approach,” and an executive producer of the documentary “The Story of Computer Graphics.”

Dr. Hart also contributes to the oversight of campus IT infrastructure. He serves on the campus IT Governance Executive Committee and chairs it's IT Governance Research Subcommittee. He is a campus senator, chairs the Senate IT Committee and serves on the Senate Executive Committee. In the past, he chaired both the campus’s Stewarding Excellence Committee on IT, and the College of Engineering IT governance planning committee. Dr. Hart has also served in the Computer Science department as Director of Graduate Studies and Area Chair of HCI, Graphics and Visualization, and for the College of Engineering as Chair of its Promotion and Tenure Committee and Vice-Chair (Dean is Chair) of its Executive Committee.

Areas within the Graduate College:

  • Academic programs - Graduate programs and policies (courses, degrees, minors, concentrations, etc.) including CEEED
  • Illinois Professional Science Masters (PSM)
  • Graduate & Professional Admissions
  • Liaison to Senate Ed Pol


Sarah Theule Lubienski   

Dr. Lubienski is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education.  Her research focuses on inequities in students’ mathematics outcomes and the policies and practices that shape those outcomes.  She examines social class, race/ethnicity, and gender in large-scale studies using national datasets, as well as in smaller, classroom-based studies.  Dr. Lubienski has chaired the National Assessment of Educational Progress Research Special Interest Group and is is a member of the American Educational Research Association’s Grants Governing Board.  Her work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Center of Education Statistics, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Fulbright Program.  
At the University of Illinois, she has served as director of the STEM Education Research Collaborative and is the PI and director of the IES-funded Postdoctoral Research Training Program in Mathematics Education.  She has contributed to numerous campus initiatives, including the Gender Equity Council, the I-Promise mentoring program, and the Education Justice Project.  She received the Thomas N. Urban Research Award and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the College of Education.  She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy from Michigan State University.

Areas within the Graduate College:

  • Doctoral program assessment - AIDE
  • Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion (DIMAC)
  • Enhancing Student Financial Literacy project
  • Graduate education research - Research on graduate education at the University of Illinois


Alejandro Lugo

Dr. Lugo is Professor of Anthropology and Latino Studies.  He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University in 1995, his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1988, and his B.A. in anthropology from New Mexico State University in 1985. Dr. Lugo has taught at Bryn Mawr College (Spring 1992), at the University of Texas at El Paso (1992-1993 to 1994-1995), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been teaching anthropology and Latino Studies since the fall of 1995. From 2006-2007 to 2009-2010, he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Head of the Department of Anthropology. During 2012-2013, he was faculty-elected member of the Executive Committee of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Lugo is the author of Fragmented Lives, Assembled Parts: Culture, Capitalism, and Conquest at the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of Texas Press, 2008), which has received two national book awards. Since 1996, Dr. Lugo has served in more than 40 completed doctoral dissertations committees. In 2009, he received the University of Illinois’ campus-wide “Larine Y. Cowan ‘Make a Difference Award’” for demonstrating “exceptional dedication to and success in promoting diversity and inclusivity through teaching, research, hiring practices, courses, programs, and events”.
Dr. Lugo’s research and writing have focused on the study of culture, power, and identity in the labor lives of working-class peoples in the context of industrial capitalism and empire. Throughout his professional career, he has maintained a broad theoretical interest in bridging the study of culture and meaning with political economy, history, and lived experience. Dr. Lugo’s research and writing projects contribute to Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies, and to the anthropology of capitalism, the anthropology of borderlands and colonialism, the anthropology of Mexico, and the anthropology of gender and feminism. 

Areas within the Graduate College:

  • Academic programs - Graduate programs and policies (courses, degrees, minors, concentrations, etc.) and program review. Executive Committee and Program Sub-committee meetings.
  • Doctoral programs in the Social Sciences
  • Educational Equity Programs and other diversity initiatives: Illinois Partners for Diversity (IPD), Grad Mentoring @ Illinois, Summer Pre-Doctoral Institute (SPI), Community of Scholars (COS) Campus Visit Program, and Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)
  • Graduate College Fellowships


Siobhan Somerville

Siobhan Somerville is an associate professor in the Departments of English and Gender and Women’s Studies and Conrad Professorial Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  She is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of African American Studies and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.  In 2013-14, she is a Resident Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies.  She holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University.

With expertise in the interdisciplinary fields of queer studies, American studies, African American studies, and feminist studies, Somerville’s research focuses on the intersections of race and sexuality in U.S. culture, particularly in literature, cinema, and law.  She is the author of Queering the Color Line:  Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Duke UP, 2000) and numerous articles in journals such as American Quarterly, American Literature, GLQ, Criticism, and Journal of the History of Sexuality.  Somerville has served on the Executive Committee of the Division of Gay Studies in Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association and the Nominating Committee of the American Studies Association.

At the University of Illinois, Somerville has served as Interim Director of Gender and Women’s Studies and Co-Chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on LGBT Concerns.  She has also served on the Chancellor’s Committee on Diversity, the advisory committee of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, the LAS committee on joint appointments, and the Academic Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity and Inclusion.  She has been involved in several interdisciplinary initiatives, as co-organizer of the ongoing Queer Studies Reading Group, as a former project leader of an INTERSECT grant on “Cultures of Law in Global Contexts,” and as co-organizer of a 2010-11 Focal Point project on “Race, Region, and Sexual Diasporas.”

Areas within the Graduate College:

  • Interdisciplinary initiatives: Focal Point and INTERSECT
  • Doctoral programs in the Humanities and Arts
  • Mentoring programs for faculty


Assistant Deans

Anne Kopera

Anne Kopera joined the Graduate College in September 2007. As Assistant Dean she is responsible for Graduate Student Academic Services (GSAS). GSAS provides services to currently enrolled graduate students and graduate programs in the areas of registration, records, student petitions, special situations, and conflict resolution. A native of Chicago, Kopera completed her A.B., M.A. (both in English) and M. Ed. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She worked for NETCHE, a consortium of small Colleges in Nebraska, providing career and academic support services. She then coordinated advising services for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she eventually served as Director of the Arts and Sciences Advising Center and Assistant Dean for Advising Services.



Sharee Robinson

Sharee Robinson joined the Graduate College in October 2005. As Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance, she manages many of the resources within the college and has primary responsibility for the administration of graduate assistantship and fellowship policies. Robinson provides leadership for the Budget Office, Human Resources, Facilities Management, and the Fellowship Office.  Working closely with the Fellowship Board and the Dean of the Graduate College, Robinson is responsible for administering campus-level graduate fellowships and grant programs totaling some $5.5 million.

Robinson also provides leadership for the Office of External Fellowships and serves as the institutional representative for a number of externally funded fellowship programs, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship, and the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program.

Robinson received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University.  After working for FMC Corporation for nine years, she began her career with the University of Illinois in 2001 as a member of the Finance Design and Implementation Team for the UI Integrate Project. She was a manager in University Accounting Services prior to beginning her work in the Graduate College. 


Alexis Thompson

Alexis Thompson is Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs. In this role, she oversees the Graduate College Career Development Office, Thesis Office and Postdoctoral Affairs Office. She is committed to providing resources and support to help graduate students and postdocs excel in their current roles and throughout their careers. She also plays an active role in many Graduate College-wide events, including the annual mentoring workshop for faculty, the Graduate College Symposium and Commencement. Currently as part of the grant from the Council of Graduate Schools on enhancing financial literacy, she is working with units across campus to increase student awareness and use of financial education programs.

Thompson completed bachelor of science degrees in Chemistry and Physics from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined the Graduate College in 2008 and previously served as the Assistant Director of Career Development and the Director of the Postdoctoral Affairs Office.