Janette Muir, Michelle Marks Accept New Posts

Posted: January 9, 2012 at 11:01 am, Last Updated: January 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

By Robin Herron

Provost Peter Stearns has announced two changes in his administrative staff.

As of Jan. 3, Janette Muir, associate professor in New Century College (NCC), became the associate provost for undergraduate education. As of July 1, Michelle Marks, associate provost for graduate education, will assume the post of vice provost for academic affairs.

“I am really delighted at the new roles Janette Muir and Michelle Marks will be undertaking,” Stearns says. “The combination adds to our commitment to undergraduate education and adds to our capacity for appropriate further academic planning.”

Muir replaces Rick Davis, who is now executive director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Marks will replace Linda Schwartzstein, who will rejoin the faculty.

Janette Muir

Janette Muir. Creative Services photo

Of her new role as associate provost, Muir comments: “As we all know, there is tremendous change happening at Mason. Our numbers are growing, the landscape is changing, and new leadership is emerging. I’m very pleased to be part of the provost’s team and look forward to representing and celebrating undergraduate education, an area at the core of the university’s mission.”

Muir, who also has affiliations with Women and Gender Studies and the Higher Education Program, teaches courses in political communication and rhetoric and has written several articles on presidential campaigns and political activism. In the fall, she taught a course on social movements and community engagement.

Experiential learning has been a hallmark of Muir’s teaching. During her community activism class, students engaged in community-based research and service learning projects.

She has taken students to New Hampshire to follow presidential primary campaigns, encouraged their involvement in civic engagement during the general election and involved them in convention planning for major conferences.

She also facilitated a course on intergenerational dialogues that paired Mason undergraduates with students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Mason.

Muir joined Mason in 1988 and served as associate dean of NCC from 2000 to 2005. Prior to that, she was the Basic Course director in the Communication Department. More recently, she has served on the Faculty Senate as chair of the Academic Policies Committee and as a faculty representative on the Board of Visitors.

Some of her professional achievements include:

  • Winner of the Mason Teaching Excellence Award
  • Past president of the Eastern Communication Association
  • Past editor of Communication Quarterly
  • Recognized as a Centennial Scholar in the field of communication

Muir has also been a long-time participant in Mason Speakers, the university’s speakers bureau. She is a strong advocate for a balanced work and family life and, in collaboration with Fairfax County government and Mason representatives, she has developed workshops on life after retirement.

Muir has a PhD in rhetoric and political communication from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; an MA in speech communication from Wake Forest University; and a BS in behavioral science and a BS in communication from Palm Beach Atlantic College.

Michelle Marks

Michelle Marks.

“I’m looking forward to finding new challenges and new opportunities as vice provost,” says Marks.

The vice provost for academic affairs is responsible for campuswide academic administrative leadership of new program development, distributed campus planning and development and space and facilities planning; oversight of academic advising and related retention initiatives; oversight of the Offices of Undergraduate, Graduate and Distance Education; oversight of the Office of the Registrar and academic policies; and institutional coordination of assessment and accreditation processes.

The vice provost also provides academic leadership and guidance to international initiatives and personnel issues and works closely with the deans and vice presidents, as well as Facilities Management, Office of Budget and Planning and University Life.

Associate provost since 2009, Marks was formerly a professor in the School of Management and served as a half-time faculty fellow for graduate education.

As associate provost for graduate education, Marks achieved the following:

  • Implemented a subsidized health insurance policy for graduate students.
  • Designed and implemented a tuition structure for out-of-state doctoral students that helps the university recruit and fund them more easily.
  • Provided new sources of funding for doctoral education to help attract and retain strong students, including:

―A competitive PhD program award that provides three years of $150,000 funding to boost graduate stipends to competitive levels; 10 doctoral programs are now or have been selected to receive this additional funding.

―Doctoral completion grant programs that help students finish dissertations in a timely manner.

―Boosted recruitment funding to academic units to help programs get their most desired students.

  • Took over the management of the Graduate Student Travel Fund, more than doubled the funding for this program and automated the process from paper-based to completely online.
  • Created the Office of Graduate Fellowships, hired a director and developed a plan for capturing more federal and private fellowship funding

Marks has taught courses in organizational behavior, leadership and human resource management in both MBA and undergraduate programs. She has done research and consulting in the areas of team and multiteam effectiveness, leadership and conflict management.

Marks joined the School of Management in 2002. Prior to her appointment at Mason, Marks was an assistant professor at Florida International University, a Consortium of Universities research fellow at the U.S. Army Research Institute and a project manager for the Management Research Institute.

She earned an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and MS and PhD degrees in industrial/organizational psychology from Mason.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu