Improving Graduate Education Experience a Focus for New Associate Dean for Academics

Josephine Martell

April 3, 2023

By Katya Hrichak

The Graduate School’s new Associate Dean for Academics, Josephine Martell, Ph.D. ’22, may be new to the Grad School, but she brings over 20 years of professional experience at Cornell to her role, including five years as a staff member at Cornell and as a graduate student. Martell began her new position on March 27.

In this role, Martell will be focusing on faculty and graduate student mentoring, providing direction and oversight to academic programs and policies, addressing academic integrity issues, overseeing the graduate student grievance and curriculum registration processes, and working with students on issues with their academic progress and faculty committee relationships.

“Having been a graduate student myself at Cornell, I hope I bring a nuanced perspective to this work, and I look forward to contributing to the mentoring efforts already underway at the Graduate School,” she said. In addition to her role at the Graduate School, Martell will continue as a co-lead of the NIH-funded Cornell FIRST program, which aims to diversify faculty in the biological, biomedical, and health sciences and understand which strategies are most effective and sustainable at an institutional scale. Martell, who is a problem-oriented researcher, will continue to conduct communication-focused research in a variety of social justice and conservation contexts.

Prior to beginning her new position, Martell most recently led the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Office of Research Development. While at CALS, she took advantage of Cornell’s Employee Degree Program to complete a Ph.D. in natural resources and the environment that she began years before when working as a conservation/animal welfare lobbyist.

“After I earned my Ph.D. last year, I knew I wanted to stay at Cornell, but I was interested in finding a different path that allowed me to pursue my own scholarship while also continuing to contribute to Cornell in a leadership capacity,” Martell said. “This role was a unique opportunity to follow both of those paths.”

Martell looks forward to helping improve the graduate education experience at Cornell for graduate students, faculty, and staff.

“We are fortunate to have Josephine as the newest member of our leadership team,” said Kathryn J. Boor, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education. “She brings with her a distinctive perspective on graduate education at Cornell and insights that will help us continue to improve the graduate experience.”