EPPS Names New Associate, Assistant Deans

UT Dallas’ School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) has named a new associate dean for graduate programs and assistant dean for undergraduate studies.

Dr. Tom Brunell, professor of political science, will oversee the graduate students, and Dr. Sarah Maxwell, clinical assistant professor in criminology and public policy, will work with students seeking bachelor’s degrees.

Brunell succeeds Dr. Euel Elliott, professor of political science, who helped oversee a major expansion of the school during his 15 years in the position. Dr. Kruti Dholakia-Lehenbauer, clinical professor in public policy and political economy, formerly assisted the undergraduates.

Dr. James Marquart took over as the school’s new dean this fall, replacing Dr. Brian Berry.

Brunell, whose research focuses on elections, said he is looking forward to helping EPPS expand the number of graduate students working toward master’s and doctoral degrees. The number of graduate students has grown substantially in recent years as EPPS  enlarges the scope of its programs. This fall, about 225 students are enrolled in the graduate degree programs.

Brunell’s main responsibilities will be raising awareness of the school’s graduate offerings and attracting more and better students to UT Dallas.

“We have a number of important and unique new graduate programs that have started in the last five years,” he said. “We now just need to make sure potential students know about these programs and then help them pursue their interests once they’re here. If they’re PhD students, we’ll make an effort to help them find good academic positions when they leave us.”

EPPS offers students the advantage of a thoroughly interdisciplinary experience, Brunell said. This type of education should prepare them better for competing for positions in an increasingly complex and global marketplace and academic environment. 

Brunell will continue teaching and conducting research in political science. Maxwell’s teaching duties also will continue. 

“I think we have an opportunity to really do some good things for the school, and I want to do my part,” Brunell said.

Maxwell will work with EPPS’ 1,300 undergraduates, and she’s eager to get to know more of them. Maxwell is new to the school – having come here last year from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona – so she’ll be learning more about what UT Dallas has to offer right along with the students she counsels.

Before joining Arizona, she worked for a national nonprofit and also as a consultant on a host of government and foundation initiatives. Maxwell believes her experience in the field of public policy and overseeing large-scale contracts and programs should help in her administrative role.

As assistant dean, her time will be split between internal and external responsibilities. She’ll be involved in schedule planning and will help students with academic issues or plans for post-graduation.

As EPPS works to attract more students to its programs, Maxwell also plans to participate frequently in off-campus events that include potential students and community leaders. She believes the school is poised for major growth in the years ahead because it trains students for careers that are on the rise.

“I feel like my previous outside recruiting and marketing experience will help us in telling our story to more people,” she said. “I’m looking forward to facing the challenges, and I think this school has a great future ahead.”

Marquart said he is eager to work with Brunell, Maxwell and the rest of the faculty to develop a strategy for bringing more students to EPPS and offering those students greater opportunities for employment when they graduate.

“I think Dr. Brunell and Dr. Maxwell are dedicated to making our school a better place for students,” he said. “I think they’re both going to play major roles in helping EPPS grow and get even stronger academically.”

Dr. Tom Brunell, a professor of political science, will oversee the graduate students, and Dr. Sarah Maxwell, clinical assistant professor in criminology and public policy, will work with students seeking bachelor’s degrees.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].