The Office of Graduate Studies

Our People

Marion K. Underwood, Ph.D.

Dean of Graduate Studies
Associate Provost
Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychological Sciences
[email protected]
972-883-2234
FA 3.104F

Dean Underwood works to elevate the quality of graduate education and to advocate for graduate students, in collaboration with the Graduate Council, the Office of Graduate Studies team, and the faculty.  She consults with students and faculty about academic issues and is frequently available to provide the very last signature to many forms and requests that come through our office.


Ben Porter, Ph.D.

Associate Graduate Dean for Graduate Student Success
[email protected]
972-883-2234
FA 3.104G

Associate Dean, Ben Porter, works closely with the Dean and Associate Dean to create and facilitate student development activities and other opportunities to improve graduate education and well-being. Ben oversees the day-to-day operations of the Office of Graduate Studies, social media, and is working with student groups to form the UT Dallas Graduate Student Association.


Elizabeth L. Rugg, Ph.D

Associate Dean for Research and Professional Development
[email protected]
972-883-4227
FA 3.102D

Associate Dean, Elizabeth Rugg, works closely with the Dean and Associate Dean to develop and facilitate professional development efforts. She also evaluates degree plans for graduating students, ensuring that all requirements are met, and facilitates efforts in modernizing and streamlining many of the processes in the Office of Graduate Studies.




Lila Foroutan

Special Events Coordinator
Master’s Thesis Contact
[email protected]
972-883-4722
FA 3.104D

Special Events Coordinator, Lila Foroutan, oversees the Doctoral Hooding ceremony, Graduate Professional Week, and helps coordinate various other Office of Graduate Studies events. She is also the web developer for the Graduate Studies website and the contact for Master’s thesis students.


Josefine Green

Assistant Graduate Reader
Doctoral Dissertations
[email protected]
972-883-5346
FA 3.104A

Assistant Graduate Reader, Josefine Green, works directly with Amanda Aiuvalasit to assist doctoral students in their final semester, checking their dissertations for formatting and helping them to ensure that their dissertations are of the highest quality possible.



Tamra Jackson

Administrative Assistant II
[email protected]
972-883-2234
FA 3.104

Administrative Assistant, Tamra Jackson, supports the Graduate Dean and staff initiatives and acts as liaison to process the flow of information from academic program associates, faculty, staff and the Registrar’s Office to ensure efficient day-to-day operations in the Office of Graduate Studies.




Rebecca G. Newcomb

Degree Plan Evaluator III
[email protected]
972-883-2687
FA 3.102B

Degree Plan Evaluator, Rebecca G. Newcomb, reviews and evaluates degree plans to ensure the proper completion of degree requirements for graduating students and ensure degree integrity. She also works closely with faculty and staff across campus to provide and enhance the resources necessary for graduate student success.


Robert Pearson, Ph.D.

Director, Graduate Career Services
[email protected]
972-883-3888
FA 3.102E

Director of Graduate Career Services, Rob Pearson, works to support graduate students as they think about the next stages of their careers. He organizes workshops and programs on career development for graduate students and is available to consult one-on-one.



K. Eric Van Leeuwen II

Program Specialist I
[email protected]
972-883-4249
FA 3.102D1

Program Specialist, K. Eric Van Leeuwen, evaluates degree plans for graduating students, ensuring that all requirements are met. He is also working with new and existing technology to streamline many of the processes in the Office of Graduate Studies, including verification and certification of degrees and recruiting.