Associate Dean James Fraser standing in front of limestone wall.

New leadership for FAS Graduate Studies

James Fraser has been named the new Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) where he’ll serve the approximately 1,850 graduate and professional students within the Faculty of Arts and Science. Dr. Fraser, a physics professor, will focus on issues ranging from the students' experience, coursework offerings, new programs and funding, to teaching fellowship opportunities.

“Graduate students are absolutely integral to the Faculty of Arts and Science: research and scholarship, teaching and learning, and collegial governance,” says Dr. Fraser. “I have the opportunity to work with some of them on one-on-one, but most of my role now is in supporting the faculty members who support the graduate students, particularly the graduate chairs and heads.”

"There is potential for impact in this role across 30 departments and that is one of the reasons why I was attracted to it. I see that we have wonderful things happening in FAS and it’s a matter of pulling those people together, sharing best practices and working towards a consensus – this is who we are, this is what we are trying to do, grounded in what we are already very successful at.”

Dr. Fraser has had an opportunity to supervise over 30 graduate students and says a good day for him is when he gets a chance to sit around a table and talk to members of his student team about their progress on research and their plans for the future.

“It is an absolute privilege to mentor graduate students. With the start-up of Laser Depth Dynamics here in Kingston (now IPG Photonics (Canada) Inc.), I have had the added pleasure of still working with some of my former students now for over a decade. Some of them also serve as external mentors to my current students. Needless to say, I learn a huge amount from them no matter level they are at.”

FAS recently hosted a one-day Graduate Summit, bringing together the Dean, Associate Deans from FAS and School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, Advancement, Finance, Department and Program heads, Graduate Chairs, and graduate student leaders to consider the challenges and the opportunities for graduate studies in our Faculty.

“The Working Group that planned the summit came up with the perfect title for the day: ‘Imagining the Future of FAS Graduate Studies’. The summit helped identify priority areas that we will take on during my term in this role. I firmly believe challenges and interesting questions will not be solved by one discipline. We want our grad student researchers to be moving from their current positions to have an impact on both the local and global stage. We must help those students while they are here to build up the capacity to go across disciplines and see scenarios from multiple perspectives.”