Pam Benoit remembers graduate school as a wonderful experience. Her fond memories are part of the reason she is looking forward to her new position as dean of the MU Graduate School.
Benoit, the interim dean since September, will continue to oversee the graduate school and plan to further develop programs that help departments work together more efficiently.
“This is one area where there is a lot of exciting research happening where students are excited about the research,” Benoit said.
Before her permanent appointment, Benoit worked as the assistant and associate dean until she took the interim dean position. She served as the chair of the department of communication before entering the graduate office. Despite her own apprehensions, Benoit applied for a position at the graduate school.
“Then I got it,” Benoit said. “I came over to the graduate school and I fell in love with the job. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to work with graduate students to try to make the graduate experience as good as it can be.”
A search committee chose Benoit as the new dean after a nationwide search, MU Provost Brian Foster said.
As the graduate dean, Benoit won’t run each graduate program, Foster said. Instead, Benoit’s job is to more broadly facilitate programs, make policy and be a recruiter.
“She’s imaginative, she’s experienced, she brings a lot to the job,” Foster said. “I think she’s a great candidate.”
And she says she can sympathize with her graduate students. As the first member of her family to graduate college, Benoit remembers her family teasing her by asking, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Now she has one that pays $135,000 a year.