Skip to content

Clemson University Graduate School

Leadership Team


John M. Lopes, Ph.D.

Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

John Lopes oversees all activities within the Graduate School. This includes advising the Provost on policy related to graduate education, overseeing all processes from application through graduation, and professional development for graduate students and faculty. He leads the Graduate School staff in working closely with academic units to support their goals and mission, developing and supporting innovative initiatives in graduate education, and evaluating and maintaining the exceptional quality of programs offered at Clemson. He is involved in recruiting, admissions, orientation, professional development, and inclusive excellence. He also works with faculty and staff to ensure that Clemson is effectively advocating for graduate students.

Natasha Croom outside with a water feature behind her.

Natasha N. Croom, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Natasha Croom works with the Office of Graduate Admissions, student academic progress processes, orientation and onboarding initiatives, funding efforts (i.e., assistantships, fellowships), recognition awards, and the Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan in the Graduate School. She serves as the non-voting Chair of the Graduate Council, as well as the Graduate Fellowship and Awards Committee. Foregrounding an equity lens, she works collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and other divisions and units across campus to resolve dilemmas that may interfere with a graduate student’s overall well-being and academic success.

Croom is a tenured Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development in the College of Education. As a critical race feminist qualitative scholar-practitioner, her scholarship focuses on disrupting intersecting systems of oppression (i.e., racism, sexism, classism, etc.) at the individual, group, institutional, systemic, and ideological levels of higher education. Through her praxis, she strives to work in and with communities to support the creation of policies, procedures, practices, opportunities, and spaces constructed from equity-based ideologies throughout and beyond post-secondary education environments and contexts. Prior to her Graduate School role, she served as Special Advisor to the Dean for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence in of the College of Education and as Program Coordinator for the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership. Croom earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from Iowa State University, a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University (College Station), and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Dr. Dominy

Brian N. Dominy, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Policy and Program Effectiveness

Brian Dominy leads the Policy and Procedure Review Program in partnership with Misty Stewart (Director of Student Success), Dena Smith (Executive Assistant to the Dean), and the faculty and student representatives on the Graduate Advisory Committee. This program involves a systematic, holistic, and guided review of the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures ensuring support for equity and inclusion, student health and wellness, and faculty/staff workload balance. Dominy also leads Graduate Academic Program Self (GAPS) Reviews in partnership with Cairen Withington (Director of Program Review and Effectiveness) to support graduate faculty in their continuous improvement of all graduate degree and certificate programs at Clemson.

Dominy earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, a Ph.D. focusing on Computational Biophysics at The Scripps Research Institute, and was a Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science at Clemson University in 2005. He is a computational biophysical chemist and received an NSF CAREER award in 2010 for his research in the development and application of computational models to study the physiochemical driving forces underlying biomolecular function and evolution. His service responsibilities as a faculty member have focused significantly on the development and assessment of academic programs at the departmental, college, and University levels at Clemson. Prior to joining the Graduate School in 2018, Dominy served as the interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (graduate and undergraduate studies) for the newly formed College of Science from 2016–2018.


William G. Ferrell, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Curriculum, Academic Integrity, and Grievances

Bill Ferrell is the nonvoting chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, Graduate Academic Grievance Committee, and the Graduate Academic Integrity Committee. In addition to leading the meetings, he also provides advice to faculty and students on matters within the purview of these committees.

He is Fluor International Supply Chain Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering in the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences. His research and teaching interests are in supply chain logistics. Recently, his students have been focusing on research related to designing systems and facilities that support horizontal and vertical collaboration in logistics.

Van Puymbroeck

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Professional Development, Health and Well-being

Marieke Van Puymbroeck focuses on a diverse portfolio of activities including the GRAD 360° program with Jodi Cox and Rebecca Towe; supporting the Graduate Diversity Doctoral Fellowship in collaboration with the Office of Access and Equity; developing mentorship training for faculty in cooperation with the National Research Mentoring Network; improving teaching assistant training; supporting mental health initiatives; and the 3-Minute Thesis™ initiative.

Van Puymbroeck earned her B.S. in therapeutic recreation at Longwood College (now University), her M.S. in therapeutic recreation from the University of Florida, and her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Florida. Her research has been funded by ACL, NIH, AOTA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many other agencies. Van Puymbroeck’s research focuses primarily on the use of yoga as a therapeutic intervention for people with neurological issues and fall prevention programs for older adults. Prior to joining the Graduate School, she Puymbroeck served as professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

Admissions Team

Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment (OPEN)

The director of graduate admissions and recruitment oversees the operations of the Graduate Admissions Office by providing leadership and administrative direction for the implementation of the recruitment strategies and admission policies and procedures of the Graduate School.

Scott Phillips

Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Interim Director
E-209 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

As Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions, Scott is responsible for system administration of the online application and CRM systems (Slate, Admit, and Prospect) as well as providing training for those systems. He works with graduate departments to create and implement communication plans, ensures the integrity of data within the student information system, and manages the change-of-term process.

portrait of aaron ducksworthAaron Ducksworth

International Admissions Coordinator
E-209 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Aaron serves as a liaison to academic departments, program coordinators, and prospective applicants with regard to admission procedures, and coordinates the admissions process for international applicants.

portrait of alisha mawAlisha Maw

Domestic Admissions Coordinator
E-209 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Alisha receives and processes digital and mail-in transcripts, provides recruitment support, manages the Bachelor-to-Graduate process, and coordinates the admissions process for domestic applicants.

Administrative Team

staff-dena-smith.jpgDena Smith

Executive Assistant
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Dena is the executive assistant to the Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School and acts as office manager (Military Friendly designated staff).

staff-candice-blassingame.jpgCandice Blassingame

Administrative Assistant
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Candice welcomes Graduate School visitors to the office and provides processing of graduate assistantships and fellowships, student payroll, several other forms and procedures, and departmental procurement.

staff-rebecca-towe.jpgRebecca Towe

Administrative Coordinator
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Rebecca provides support to the deans and various Graduate School Committees and is a member of the GRAD 360° professional development team.

Communications and Marketing

staff-jill-bunch.jpgJill E. Bunch

Director of Communications
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Jill directs the Graduate School’s internal and external communications and marketing, acts as managing editor of publications and multimedia content, and oversees staff in charge of admissions recruitment and the final review of student thesis and dissertation manuscripts. She is a member of the GRAD 360° professional development team.

staff-mike-posey.jpgMike Posey

Marketing & Engagment Stategist
D-139A P&AS Building
Clemson SC 29634

Mike leads Graduate Admissions' marketing and recruitment efforts via Slate, the Graduate School's student relationship management system. He also handles the marketing and communications efforts for the Master of Traffic Safety Administration program, which is housed iin the Graduate School.

staff-bob-freeman.jpgBob Freeman

Public Information Specialist
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson SC 29634

Bob reviews student thesis and dissertation manuscripts to ensure proper formatting, produces Graduate School print publications and online content, and assists with the creation and curation of forms, internal publications, and print graphics.

Pathways Initiatives

LeAndrea Robinson

Pathways Initiatives Coordinator
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson SC 29634

LeAndrea provides support services to graduate students in fellowships and similar award programs that support academic success of students from underrepresented backgrounds through collaborative strategic recruitment, retention, liaison, and evaluation initiatives.

Professional Development


Jodi Cox

Director of Graduate Training and Mentoring
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson SC 29634

Jodi directs and manages programs and services for GRAD 360°, the Graduate School’s comprehensive professional development program for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. In addition to developing and hosting PD events, she is creating a portfolio of mentoring programs focusing on the needs of international students and students from historically underrepresented identities in graduate education.

Program Review


Cairen Withington

Director of Program Review and Effectiveness
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Cairen works with Dr. Dominy and Graduate School leadership to ensure that the Graduate School fulfills its mandates to perform comprehensive reviews of all graduate programs, to ensure that academic leaders have the data they need to set goals and improve program effectiveness, and to continue the Graduate School’s recent efforts to collaborate with academic units to ensure the best possible outcomes for graduate students.

Student Success


Misty Stewart, Ed.D.

Director of Graduate Student Success
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson SC 29634

Misty works with the Graduate School leadership team, faculty, campus organizations, and staff to enhance measures of student success for graduate students. She oversees onboarding, student engagement, retention strategies, and developing programs to aid students in completing their graduate degrees.


Kelsey Loftus

Business Analyst
E-106 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

Kelsey provides data analyses with a university-wide scope to support the Graduate School and the goals of Clemson University to become a “Top 20” research institution. Directs and manages the Graduate Assistantship and Fellowship tracking system along with the related processes and data.


Lisa Sembach

Strategic Data Manager
E-201 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

In her work as a liaison between the Graduate School and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Lisa develops, prepares, analyzes and presents institutional data in support of the mission and vision of senior leadership within the Graduate School, including application, enrollment, and graduation metrics.