August 1, 2019

August 1, 2019


Marion Underwood Selected as the New Dean of Graduate Studies

Retiring Dean Austin Cunningham Will Continue to Teach Physics at University

June 10, 2015

Dr. Marion Underwood

Dr. Marion Underwood will assume the roles of dean of Graduate Studies and associate provost on Sept. 1.

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, provost and executive vice president of UT Dallas, has announced the appointment of Dr. Marion Underwood as dean of Graduate Studies and associate provost. Underwood will succeed Dr. Austin Cunningham, who is retiring as dean this fall, but will continue on the faculty as a professor of physics.

“Dr. Austin Cunningham has performed admirably during his time as dean of the Graduate School, and filling this position is no easy task,” Wildenthal said. “Replacing Dean Cunningham’s 20 years of experience requires a person with exceptional skills as both an administrator and an academician. Dr. Marion Underwood is one of our foremost researchers, and she has shown the necessary drive and skill needed to build on our previous successes and, indeed, help the graduate school grow and prosper. 

“In the process, I am sure that Marion, working with our faculty, students and potential students, will increase the quality of our graduate studies and drive the expansion of our graduate school to include even more budding scholars,” Wildenthal said.

As Underwood takes on the dean’s role, Wildenthal said the graduate studies office will be expanding its purview to include additional attention to the university-wide operations of recruiting and graduating even better doctoral students, while also providing leadership of the mandated periodic review of the University’s doctoral programs.

Underwood, who will assume her new role on Sept. 1, said she is looking forward to building on Cunningham’s successful work.

Dr. Marion Underwood is one of our foremost researchers, and she has shown the necessary drive and skill needed to build on our previous successes and, indeed, help the graduate school grow and prosper.

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal,
UT Dallas provost and executive
vice president

“UT Dallas was founded as an institute of graduate studies. Dean Cunningham has done a fantastic job guiding and building the graduate program,” Underwood said. “I’m happy to have the opportunity to continue to improve the quality of graduate education here: to recruit even better graduate students, to make the quality of our doctoral and master’s programs even stronger, and to tell our story better so that our programs get the recognition they deserve.

“Our graduate programs are a key part of the University’s path to becoming a Tier One school,” she said. “We want to make sure we have high-quality programs, and we want to ensure that faculty and grad students are equipped to succeed in attracting research funding.”

Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychological Sciences in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), has served as associate dean for programs and administration for BBS since 2013, and has been a UT Dallas faculty member since 1998. Her research examines how children develop peer relationships, investigating the developmental origins and outcomes of socially aggressive behavior. Underwood is also fascinated by how adolescents use text messaging and social media and how their digital communication relates to their adjustment. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health since 1995, and she will continue her active research program.

Underwood received master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Duke University, and she received the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. She is a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science.

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