New assistant dean of Graduate School expanding development offerings

Kristina Quynn
Kristina Quynn

Kristina Quynn takes an innovative approach as she inspires researchers, scholars and creative professionals from many disciplines to write for success. Now, in her new position as the assistant dean of the Graduate School, Quynn leverages these strengths to lead both writing support and professional development initiatives offered by the Colorado State University Graduate School.

“Dr. Quynn’s promotion to assistant dean of the Graduate School stems from her deep commitment to the personal and professional development of graduate students as well as postdoctoral scholars. Her leadership is crucial to our student and postdoc success initiatives,” said Mary Stromberger, dean of the Graduate School.

Quynn will identify and build initiatives serving the unique needs of the graduate student and postdoc community. She will continue as the director of CSU Writes and expand the offerings, further formalize participation in professional development, support CSU Postdoc Association (CSUPASS) initiatives, support Graduate Student Council initiatives, and work closely with the Graduate School’s associate dean to prioritize mentoring, diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice commitments.

“This is a time of wonderful transformations for CSU, and the Graduate School, as we expand our programs to support the evolving professional development needs of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows,” said Quynn. “I am excited about working on new projects with our brilliant faculty, coordinators, and students across campus to enrich our inclusive programs and courses. I believe that professional development should meet participants ‘where they are,’ to be meaningful to their professional lives, skill-building needs, and personal interests.

Enhancing personal and professional growth

Under the leadership of Dean Stromberger, the Graduate School continues to ensure the highest academic program standards and is further investing in innovative enhancements to personal and professional growth programing.

“Analysis of the CSU Graduate Student Experience Survey, as well as input from the CSU Graduate Education Council, Graduate Student Council, Graduate Center for Inclusive Mentoring, and graduate faculty, demonstrated both a desire and need to provide graduate students with additional personal and professional development opportunities to better support their overall success,” explains Dean Stromberger. “The assistant dean position provides the strategic leadership for necessary to move forward.”

Personal and professional development initiatives include CSU Writes offerings, the spring and fall Graduate Professional Development Series, Inclusive Pedagogy Training, and the Mentor Mondays series. The virtual GradCO series, developed in collaboration with other Colorado graduate programs, is the newest initiative. The 2021-22 sessions are offered virtually.

Current and upcoming development offerings include numerous opportunities for graduate students to grow outside the classroom and laboratory with sessions themed around foundational skills for career development, mentoring, building emotional intelligence, becoming more culturally competent, writing for success, and learning to balance graduate work with personal wellbeing. The Ram Individual Development Plan and Competencies Road Map, provide students with additional access to development support.

Cultivating engagement between peers in different programs

As assistant dean, Quynn is particularly excited to frequently engage with and support students and postdocs from across many different disciplines.

“Targeted professional development supports students’ wellbeing and better prepares them for lifelong success,” explains Quynn. Community building through professional development is another area of priority for Quynn. “When students select the many sessions offered each semester, they also have opportunities unique to CSU to engage with peers outside their program and to expand their personal network.”

“Targeted professional development supports students’ wellbeing and better prepares them for lifelong success.”

— Kristina Quynn, assistant dean, CSU Graduate School

As Quynn continues to grow development opportunities, she aims to provide sessions for students just beginning their academic journey, students who will become future faculty, and those students beginning their careers in a variety of industries.

“As assistant dean, it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to provide innovative programming and to guide students as they identify other areas of development that add to the technical expertise or scholarship specific to their programs.”

Research and Awards

Quynn held a split appointment between the Graduate School and the Department of English until her promotion to assistant dean in Fall 2021.

She founded CSU Writes in 2015 with grant funds from the Ripple Effect. The program continued and grew with support from the Graduate School, the Provost’s Office, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The program primarily serves graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who write for publication, submission, and/or degree completion. CSU Writes consists of three streams including GRAD, FACULTY, and DOC. A fourth stream, TEAM, is in development.

Quynn’s research includes studies on sustainable writing practices among research writers as well as producing scholarship on career-sustaining writing support for researchers in academe. She has presented at national conferences about write-on-site models and writing retreats. Quynn also presents locally about faculty women writing support. Future projects look to clarify the writing productivity methods of collaborative teams. Her earlier research in literary studies is n narrative theory, contemporary Irish and Transatlantic literature and film, experimental fiction, and modes of criticism.

She is currently the director of the Academic Management Institute; on the Board of the Colorado and Wyoming Network of Women Leaders, and was recently elected to the board of the Consortium on Graduate Communication. Quynn received the 2021 Career Impact Award for her significant contribution to students’ careers and career readiness. She is the recipient of the 2018-19 College of Liberal Arts Curricular Innovation Award.

Graduate School events

The Graduate School encourages the remarkable potential within every unique graduate student and postdoctoral scholar through offerings geared at unleashing success.

  • The Graduate Professional Development Series: This series provides 10-12 professional development sessions each semester with content specifically developed for graduate students. Postdocs are welcome to attend.
  • The GradCo Series: Select professional development opportunities are hosted by partnering Colorado institutions each semester. Sessions are free and open to graduate students and postdocs in any discipline.
  • CSU Writes: A writing facilitation program designed for professional researchers and academic writers (primarily graduate students, postdocs, and faculty) who are interested in boosting their productivity as they develop a sustainable writing practice. CSU Writes offers trainings, community writing groups, and information sessions; participants will meet peers from a range of departments. More than 80% of CSU Writes’ writers, for instance, come from STEM disciplines.
  • Competencies Road Map: Use this guide to develop six core competencies (personal development, work management, diversity and inclusion, communication, teamwork, and leadership) in three areas to enhance personal and professional success. The systematic approach of the road map helps students build competencies using CSU resources.
  • The Ram Individual Development Plan (Ram IDP): This guide helps students identify professional development needs, refine career objectives, and promotes personal growth. The IDP functions as a communication tool to enhance dialogue between mentors and their mentees.
  • Graduate Student Showcase (GradShow): Held annually in November, this interdisciplinary showcase celebrates research, entrepreneurship, and creativity and is open to graduate students in all disciplines. Students present their work, build communication skills, connect with other graduate students and faculty, learn about other disciplines, and gain conference experience.
  • The Graduate Center for Inclusive Mentoring: Equips mentors with the expertise and resources needed to help mentees meet their goals and expectations. The program highlights resources on campus, offers professional development activities (e.g., Mentor Mondays), provides faculty mentoring training, and connects mentors to mentees.
  • Mentor Mondays: A series discussing effective mentoring relationships and their critical role in the graduate community. The series includes new sessions each fall and spring.
  • Inclusive Pedagogy Training: Aids participants in the development of competencies in creating an inclusive classroom environment; recognizing and mitigating bias; diversifying the curriculum; facilitating classroom discussions on free speech; and cross-cultural dialogue.

Graduate School events and offerings may be added to your personal calendar and you can request reminders using the options at the top right corner of our events calendar.