Karen P. DePauw is Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education and tenured Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Since her arrival at Virginia Tech, her major accomplishments include building a strong and diverse graduate community, establishing the innovative and national award-winning Graduate Life Center (GLC), creating the signature academic initiative known as Transformative Graduate Education (TGE), which includes the Global Perspectives Program (GPP). She has been recognized nationally as a leader in innovative use of technology in graduate education.
As an academic administrator, Dean DePauw has been a strong advocate for diversity and equity in higher education and has spoken at national conferences on changing roles and responsibilities of faculty, on preparing the future professoriate and on the change facing the 21st-century university. Dr. DePauw has held several leadership roles in graduate education. She was a founding member and Facilitator/Chair for the Virginia Council of Graduate School (VCGS), served as President of the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) 2007-2008, served as Chair of the 2010 Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), and served as Chair of the GRE Board. She has been a panelist, speaker and presenter at regional affiliates (CSGS, WAGS), national meetings and workshops (CGS, NSF IGERT, Advance/NSF), and international conferences (European University Association, Council of Doctoral Education). She served as the Principal Investigator for a planning grant from NSF/AGEP to develop a model for the Virginia Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (VAGEP). The Graduate School (K. DePauw, PI) was selected as research partner in the CGS initiative, “Modeling Effective Research Ethics Education in Graduate International Collaborations” (2012-2014). In 2016, she received the Professional Contribution award from Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) and the inaugural Debra W. Stewart Award for Outstanding Leadership in Graduate Education 2016.
Dr. DePauw is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of adapted physical activity, disability sport and disability studies. She has published extensively, and has presented keynote and scholar lectures (nearly 200) around the world. Her scholarship has focused on inclusion, equity issues, the social construction of disability, and the sociology of the body. In recognition of her scholarly contributions, she was elected as a member of the American Academy for Kinesiology in 1997. Throughout her academic career, she has served in leadership positions for numerous national and international associations, received numerous honors and awards, and has worked extensively with the United States Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Olympic & Paralympic Congresses since 1984.
Dr. DePauw earned the A.B. in Sociology from Whittier College, M.S. in Special Education from California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Texas Woman’s University. In the 1970s, she taught with the Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County Schools and California State University – Los Angeles before moving to Washington State University to become a faculty member. In 1989, she became associate dean and then Dean of the Graduate School until she was hired at Virginia Tech in 2002.