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Alexa Sand Named USU Associate VP and Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

Friday, Jun. 22, 2018

Alexa Sand

Alexa Sand will transition into her new role as USU Associate VP and Dean for Research and Graduate Studies July 1, and will remain a professor in the Department of Art and Design.

Alexa Sand has been named associate vice president for research and associate dean of Graduate Studies at Utah State University. Sand will transition from her faculty position into her new role July 1, and will remain a professor in the Department of Art and Design within USU’s Caine College of the Arts.  

Sand received her bachelor’s in art history and anthropology from Williams College and her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research in art history has produced a book, titled Vision, Devotion, and Self Representation in Late Medieval Art, that was published in 2014, and numerous essays and book reviews. 

“Research has always been a core value for me, and I believe it lies at the heart of everything a university does,” said Sand. “It informs our practice of teaching, it generates student learning, it advances our mission of discovery and innovation, and it connects us individually and as a body to the wider world.”

Sand’s contributions to undergraduate research at USU date back to 2004 when she was asked to mentor one of the first Undergraduate Research Fellows. That led to her serving in leadership roles in the national Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and to the establishment of Research in the Arts Day to highlight student research in the Caine College.

“The applicant pool for this Associate VPR and dean position was very strong,” said Richard Inouye, associate vice president for research and associate dean of graduate studies, who served as chair of the search committee. “We had three outstanding finalists, each of whom would have been an excellent addition to our team, but Alexa stood out. Her substantial experience in building undergraduate research made her the best choice for this position.” 

In her new position, Sand will report directly to Mark McLellan, the vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. She will be responsible for helping execute the vice president and dean’s vision to grow and develop the USU’s student research portfolio.

“Alexa brings a wealth of experience in undergraduate research and will push for innovative approaches to supporting graduate research,” said McLellan. “We are excited to add her energy and innovation to our efforts.”

Sand was preceded in this position by Scott Bates, who recently was appointed interim department head for the Psychology Department. During his tenure in Research and Graduate Studies, Bates managed the undergraduate research program and built the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellows program to include 50 doctoral students who are supported in departments across campus.

“My experience working in Research and Graduate Studies has been personally transformative” Bates said. “Being a part of this innovative, student-focused, team has been among my most rewarding professional experiences. I am proud of our accomplishments and thrilled to have someone as capable as Dr. Sand coming on board to take on one of USU’s most storied and treasured programs, undergraduate research.”

The mission of USU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies is to facilitate a culture of excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity that spans the lifecycle of faculty and students through operational, training, funding and compliance support.

Contact: Thomas Sorenson,

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