As the university’s first and only vice provost of graduate studies, Dr. Venkat Allada has led graduate education efforts at Missouri S&T for over a decade. Effective Jan. 1, he now serves as special advisor to the provost to help ensure a smooth transition as the office of graduate studies merges with Missouri S&T’s office of research and sponsored programs.
Since becoming vice provost of graduate studies at Missouri S&T in 2007, Allada has significantly raised the university’s graduate education profile by increasing recruitment and retention of high-quality doctoral students, attaining record enrollments of doctoral students, earning high levels of student satisfaction for services provided by the office of graduate studies, and creating new professional development opportunities for graduate students.
“Dr. Allada is an innovative leader and a trailblazer in graduate education,” says Dr. Robert J. Marley, Missouri S&T provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.
“He is a strong advocate for graduate students on issues that impact their well-being such as mentorship, workload, funding, safety, diversity and inclusion, student outcomes, and professional development,” Marley says. “During his 10-year tenure as vice provost of graduate studies, he laid down solid groundwork for creating a vibrant graduate education culture at Missouri S&T. We appreciate Dr. Allada’s distinguished and exceptional service, dedication to this institution, and collaborative, team-based approach. Under his dynamic stewardship, graduate education at S&T is now well-aligned with the university’s strategic goals.”
Marley adds that Allada’s “sharp, laser-like student-centric focus” and emphasis on collaboration are “the hallmarks of Dr. Allada’s tenure.”
“Dr. Allada and his team have worked hard to strengthen diversity and inclusion networks on our campus and developed innovative initiatives for professional development, campus internationalization, and graduate recruitment,” Marley says. “I am thankful that Dr. Allada has agreed to join my office team to help with the smooth transition of the office of graduate studies and work with me on special projects.”
“The most gratifying achievement of my tenure as vice provost of graduate studies has been the numerous thank you notes and words of gratitude that my staff and I received from our students for making a positive difference during their stay at S&T,” Allada says. “Our guiding mantra has been to always keep our students’ interest front and center. I am thankful to my colleagues and partners who helped us achieve outstanding success in our student-centric graduate education,” including the Council of Graduate Coordinators and Staff, Council of Graduate Students (CGS) and the Provost’s Leadership Cabinet. “It has been a privilege to supervise and nurture a high-performing graduate studies team,” Allada says. “We created an office culture that is welcoming, respectful and helpful to all stakeholders.”
A decade of accomplishments
The office of graduate studies was formed in 2007 as part of a campus reorganization, and Allada was named vice provost for graduate studies to oversee the new operation. Under his leadership, the office provided new programming to meet the demands of the fast growth in graduate enrollment. The office and its staff were recognized for providing outstanding student services, attaining a 93 percent student satisfaction rate for technical editing services and a 98 percent student satisfaction rate with services of the office’s staff advisors.
Also during Allada’s tenure, graduate enrollment increased by 39 percent, from 1,414 in the fall of 2007 to 1,964 in the fall of 2017. Doctoral enrollment – a recent focus of the university – more than doubled from 344 in 2007 to 689 in 2017, while master’s degree and graduate certificate enrollment rose 19 percent, from 1,070 in 2007 to 1,275 in 2017.
Allada also helped secure $3.1 million in recurring state funding through the University of Missouri System to recruit, retain and place more doctoral students at Missouri S&T. As a result, many graduate students are receiving 100 percent tuition and supplemental fee scholarships in addition to their stipends.
Under Allada, the graduate studies office also implemented the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) graduate student competition, beginning in 2015. This competition requires graduate students to explain their theses in under three minutes. Allada also initiated the Graduate Leadership Development Program, which was adopted by the four-campus University of Missouri System. Allada served as faculty advisor for the Council of Graduate Students and will continue to advise that organization in his new role.
Allada has been active as an officer of the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools and served as conference chair of the organization’s annual conference in 2016 in Chicago. He has also served on various Council of Graduate Schools committees and was an invited panel speaker at national events.
As part of a new organizational structure at S&T, a national search is underway for the position of vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies.