Dr. Tia N. Dumas has been appointed associate dean of the Clemson University Graduate School after serving four years as the unit’s assistant dean for professional development and inclusive excellence.
“Dr. Dumas’ thoughtful approach, experience, and expertise are respected throughout Clemson, and I look forward to her leadership in the Graduate School,” according to Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School John Lopes. “The GRAD 360° professional development program she has created and grown is one of the most valuable assets the Graduate School offers our students and has quickly become a model for other universities nationwide,” he added.
Dumas counts the creation and growth of GRAD 360° as one of her proudest accomplishments at Clemson thus far. “We were able to learn from, partner with and lead graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff to establish what we needed: a nationally recognized holistic and equitable system of graduate student professional development,” she said. Likewise, Dumas is proud of her transdisciplinary work with University and community leaders to “help realize Clemson’s commitment to lifelong learning, innovation, and inclusive excellence while recognizing the humanity of our work and daring to live out our values.”
Dumas says mentoring graduate students and witnessing the impact of their own transformations in graduate school on others is one of the best things about her job – and that doesn’t go unnoticed. “She is a familiar and highly respected representative of the Graduate School,” says Graduate Student Government President Kaitlyn Samons. “It is obvious in everything she does that her motivation is doing what is best for graduate students and making it possible for them to be their best selves.”
One of her projects as an associate dean will be leading the Graduate School in a new initiative to support graduate faculty mentorship. See sidebar for more information about her top priorities.
Dumas is also a Provost’s Fellow collaborating with Dr. Shontavia Johnson, associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation, to facilitate strategic partnerships that advance ClemsonForward and help prepare all Clemson students for diverse careers. This collaboration includes building coalitions between Clemson and South Carolina institutions that serve historically underrepresented student populations. Dumas also holds a clinical appointment in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development.
Before coming to Clemson in 2016, Dumas was a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Dumas worked closely with the Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education, the Mary K. Oxley and University of Louisville Foundations design team, and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to improve and sustain a clinical model of educator preparation in five Signature Partnership Initiative (SPI) schools.
Dumas considers the following her first top three priorities in her new position:
• To gain an understanding of current support and training for graduate faculty mentoring.
• To identify goals and objectives that support the Graduate School’s role in facilitating strategic academic partnerships that advance Clemson’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
• To continue to build and enhance an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable infrastructure for GRAD 360° programs and services.
Dumas earned her Ph.D. in counseling and personnel services at the University of Louisville. For more than 12 years before earning her Ph.D., she partnered with university and community leaders at the University of Oregon and at Louisville to promote historically underrepresented students’ holistic success by creating and implementing systems and services that support academic achievement, leadership development, and civic engagement.
Her two most recent publications:
Wilson, M. E., Hirschy, A. S., Braxton, J. M., & Dumas, T. N. (2020). Inviolable norms of primary role advisors. NACADA Journal, 40(2), 74–84. https://doi-org.libproxy.clemson.edu/10.12930/NACADA-19-23
Dumas, T. N. (2020). Effective mentoring for diverse leaders. In D. S. Chapman & A. Wilkerson (Eds.), From student to scholar: Mentoring underrepresented scholars in the academy (pp. 167–180). Palgrave Macmillan.