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Chemical researcher Stacey Bent named new vice provost for graduate education

Rod Searcey/Stanford News

Last week, Provost Persis Drell announced Stacey Bent Ph.D. ’92 will assume the role of vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs on Sept. 1. The Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering will succeed Patricia Gumport Ph.D. ’87, who launched the office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) in January 2007.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Stanford’s graduate student and postdoctoral community as the next vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs,” Bent told Stanford News. “The office works collaboratively across the university to offer educational opportunities to our students, and I’m looking forward to helping them take steps to have a successful and fulfilling experience at Stanford.”

The office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) seeks to advance the graduate education and postdoctoral experience at Stanford. Recently, these efforts have been under scrutiny for not sufficiently meeting the needs of graduate students. Issues of graduate student affordability, rising healthcare costs and mental health received much campus and community attention. The VPGE office has made attempts to respond to graduate students’ concerns, to mixed reception.

On April 26, Gumport delivered a presentation to the Faculty Senate on the state of graduate student affairs, in which she discussed these issues, which Bent will likely be tasked with addressing as the new vice provost.

Drell said that she and University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne are excited to have Bent join the Executive Cabinet.

“Stacey brings the experience of a passionate researcher who has worked with graduate students and postdocs closely for decades,” Drell told Stanford News. “She is eager to learn about the experiences and perspectives of graduate students and postdocs across the institution and to focus on what is needed to support their success and well-being.”

Bent began teaching and researching at Stanford in 1998. Before that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories and an assistant professor of chemistry at New York University. Bent completed her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and earned her Ph.D. in chemistry under the advisement of chemistry professor Richard Zare at Stanford.

The Bent Research Group focuses on understanding surface and interfacial chemistry and applying this knowledge to a range of problems in semiconductor processing, nanoelectronics, nanotechnology and sustainable and renewable energy. It is housed is within the Department of Chemical Engineering, but Bent also holds courtesy appointments in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemistry.

Over the course of her career at Stanford, Bent has headed several departments and initiatives — including the Academic Steering Group on Education, the Department of Chemical Engineering and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy. She has also served on the American Chemical Society’s Presidential Commission on Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences and Stanford’s Commission on Graduate Education, which, in 2005, recommended the creation of the office she will soon lead.

Contact Patrick Monreal at pmonreal ‘at’ stanford.edu

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