UAB Graduate School Associate Dean Jeffrey A. Engler, Ph.D., will be spending the 2016-2017 academic year off campus – way off campus.

jeffrey englerDr. Engler has been named Dean-in-Residence for the Council of Graduate Schools, a one-year appointment that will take him to Washington D.C. He will take a sabbatical from UAB to start his term in August.

“This is an exceptional honor,” said UAB Graduate School Dean Lori L. McMahon, “and one that Jeff has clearly earned through his long-standing commitment to the best practices in graduate education at UAB and across the nation. We are extremely proud of Jeff’s accomplishment, which also puts a bright spotlight on UAB.”

In his new role at CGS, Dr. Engler plans to examine what the ever-changing job market demands for its entrants – and what that means for the future of graduate education. Economic development has long been an interest of Dr. Engler’s, and while at UAB, he has tracked how graduate students have contributed to Alabama’s economy. He hopes being in Washington will allow him to take a more national perspective on the career demands that graduate students will face upon graduation.

“The rise of what we call the freelance economy [with business models similar to that of Uber] where people work flexible hours and often as independent contractors is going to impact our graduate students as they pursue their careers,” Dr. Engler said. “What are the skill sets that graduate students need to have to be able to thrive and lead in an economy that is increasingly focused around working on specific short-term projects as opposed to working for one company for an extended time?

“As a secondary part of the project, I want to understand the ways in which graduate education needs to support our students as they pursue their leadership and career goals.”

Dr. Engler is excited about his CGS work environment – new colleagues as well as proximity to government think tanks and agencies that will provide a wide array of perspectives on the issues he wishes to research. However, he says he will miss his daily interactions with UAB students, staff and faculty, as well as Johnny Ray’s barbecue, Guthrie’s chicken fingers and Milo’s.

Dr. Engler completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara (B.S. 1971) and graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. 1977). Dr. Engler joined the faculty at UAB in 1982 as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In 2006, he moved to his current position – Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the UAB Graduate School. Dr. Engler is the Director of the UAB PREP Scholars Program and was the Director of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program from 2006 through 2012.

Charles (“Chuck”) Caramello, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, will also serve as a 2016-2017 CGS Dean-in-Residence.

Dr. Daniel Bullard, Professor, Department of Genetics at UAB, has been appointed as Interim Associate Dean and will lead the PREP program while Dr. Engler is away. Dr. Bullard will also work with Dean McMahon on efforts to enhance recruitment and retention across all UAB graduate programs.