Cornell’s Graduate School announced Thursday that Janna Lamey will serve as its next assistant dean of student life.
Lamey –– currently a manager of the Graduate Education Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine –– will start serving in her new position on Oct. 8, according to Barbara Knuth, vice provost and dean of the graduate school.
As assistant dean, Lamey will focus on “the big picture of student well-being,” according to Jan Allen, associate dean for academic and student affairs.
Lamey’s position has been restructured in light of increased efforts over the past several years to “provide top-quality graduate and professional student services,” Allen said. Lamey will delve into issues — such as fostering a sense of graduate community, promoting social-academic balance and aiding stress management — more rigorously than assistant deans have been called to in the past.
“While the Graduate School focuses primarily on the academic experiences and academic life of the graduate students here, we recognize the importance of all the areas of a graduate student’s life and experience, whether that’s social or cultural,” Allen said.
Along with being responsible for programming activities and events, launching initiatives and serving as a liaison during crisis, Lamey will also be involved in determining the needs of graduate and professional students and obtaining feedback from them on programs already in place.
“For the first bit, I’m planning on taking some time and really diving into meeting with graduate students and professional students and finding out what their issues are,” Lamey said.
According to Lamey, meeting individually with students and faculty for feedback will be an ongoing and important aspect of her position.
"It will be almost constant engagement with graduate students," Allen said.
Lamey has worked with graduate students at Cornell for 10 years. Her experience in the field goes back even further. Before she came to the University, Lamey also worked with professional students in the Family Medicine Residency Program at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
Lamey said her favorite part of the job "is working with the students, to be honest with you."
"It's been really an honor to get to know them and to be able to help them along the way," she said.
Lamey is a "jack of all trades" in her current position, but, as assistant dean of student life, she will have the opportunity to "hone in on student activities and life," she said.
Lamey said she will partner with other offices on campus in order to create a "culture and environment that supports graduate and professional students."
Mitch Paine, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, expressed enthusiasm about Lamey's appointment.
As the GPSA continues to look strategically at issues that affect graduate students across campus, Pain said that "we really want to work with the Graduate School."
Paine added that the new hires of Lamey, as well as Allen, will help set a direction for collaboration between the GPSA and the Graduate School. He said that he is "very excited" to work with a full staff at the Graduate School.
Lamey, too, shared her "personal enthusiasm" for the future.
"I'm really committed to making this a better place for all," Lamey said. "I'm looking forward to it. It'll be a nice challenge."