Carlson named Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Marcy J. Carlson
Marcy J. Carlson

Marcia (Marcy) J. Carlson, Sewell-Bascom Professor of Sociology at UW–Madison, has been appointed associate dean of the Graduate School. She has served as associate dean in an interim capacity since October 2022.

In partnership with the dean, the associate deans of the Graduate School provide institutional leadership for graduate education across campus.

Carlson received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1999, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. She then spent seven years as assistant to associate professor at Columbia University in the School of Social Work before coming to UW–Madison in the fall of 2008.

Her primary research interests center on the links between family contexts and the well-being of children and parents, including differences by socioeconomic status and implications for public policy. She served from 2016-2021 as Director of UW’s Center for Demography and Ecology (CDE). She is currently on the executive committees of CDE and the Institute for Research on Poverty, and she is a Faculty Affiliate of the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

With respect to graduate education, Carlson has mentored numerous doctoral students, served on many dissertation committees, and regularly taught graduate seminars over the past two decades. She served for five years as principal investigator (PI) of CDE’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 training grant in demography, after serving for four years as CDE’s Associate Director for Training, where she coordinated funding and training for more than 40 PhD students from multiple disciplines. Most recently, she worked with colleagues from five other universities to develop an NIH-funded program, called ‘NextGenPop’, focused on bringing scholars from underrepresented backgrounds into population research and graduate education; the first cohort of 18 undergraduates was hosted on UW’s campus in June 2022.

The associate dean’s responsibilities focus on the graduate student experience and the allocation of resources supporting graduate education. As associate dean, Carlson guides the delivery of student services including funding, professional development, and communications, and helps develop practices for the recruitment, retention, and completion of a diverse graduate student body.

Carlson also serves on the Graduate School leadership team and the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee.

In her time as interim associate dean, Carlson has been involved with coordinating policies and approaches around fellowships and funding, planning a university-wide event on holistic admissions practices, and helping to finalize and begin implementing the new strategic plan for graduate education.

Note: This story was originally posted on October 10, 2022, and was updated in September 2023 to reflect Carlson’s permanent appointment as Associate Dean.