Deborah Nelson named Deputy Provost for Graduate Education

Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor in English Language & Literature and the College, has been named to a three-year term as Deputy Provost for Graduate Education effective Sept. 1, Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum announced. She will succeed Cathy J. Cohen, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor in Political Science and the College and the inaugural Deputy Provost for Graduate Education, who will return full-time to the faculty.

Nelson will work closely with the deans, department chairs, and directors of graduate studies to determine the next steps for the Graduate Aid Initiative and for graduate education more generally at Chicago.

“Debbie will be the point person for establishing and implementing University-wide policies for graduate student education and life,” Rosenbaum said. “This effort is fundamentally important for the intellectual well-being of the University.”

Nelson is an expert in late 20th-century American literature, gender studies, American ethnic literature, poetry and poetics, autobiography, photography, and Cold War history. In addition to numerous journal publications, Nelson is the author of Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America (2001), an examination of the discourse of privacy beginning with its emergence as a topic of intense anxiety in the late 1950s.

"I’m honored to accept this appointment. Graduate education, which always has been at the heart of the University’s mission, is a dynamic and evolving enterprise. I look forward to working with the deans, faculty, and students to help shape the graduate experience we offer as we continue to define what it means to be a first-rate graduate institution."

After receiving her Ph.D. from the City University of New York, Nelson joined the University faculty in 1996. She served as director of graduate studies in the English department from 2004-2005 and as director of the Center for Gender Studies from 2006-2009.

As a capstone to her term as director, Nelson and the Center for Gender Studies faculty launched “Women at Chicago,” a joint faculty, staff and student endeavor that chronicled and examined the history and role of women scholars at the University.