January 5, 2017

McCabe named associate dean of Graduate School and director of Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

As the inaugural head of this new office, McCabe is charged with building out its core programs, including professional development, and overseeing the rollout of the Academic Pathways Fellowship.

Clare McCabe (Vanderbilt University)

Clare McCabe, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, has been appointed associate dean of the Graduate School and director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Mark Wallace, dean of the Graduate School, announced today. The appointment was made effective Jan. 1.

“I am delighted to have Clare joining the Graduate School in this new role,” said Wallace. “I am deeply impressed with her commitment to mentoring and to the training of the next generation of leaders both inside and outside of the academy. She has an exciting vision for our new Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and I am greatly looking forward to working with her in order to implement our shared vision for enhancing postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt.”

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs was established within the Graduate School late last year to coordinate the oversight of postdoctoral programs and support the needs of the more than 500 postdoctoral scholars working throughout the university under the aegis of a single shared office. As the inaugural head of this new office, McCabe is charged with building out a number of its core functions and services.

Foremost among them is developing a suite of professional development services for postdoctoral scholars. McCabe says the first step is to leverage existing campus resources like Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching. “If they’re interested in academic positions, we need to give them opportunities to teach, we need to give them opportunities to work on proposals and we need to give them opportunities to mentor graduate and undergraduate students,” she said. “And we need to develop analogous programs for postdocs planning on an industrial or other career.”

She will coordinate with Vanderbilt’s Postdoctoral Association, a postdoc-led networking and career development group, to facilitate further enrichment opportunities as well, such as coordinating seminar exchanges with postdoctoral associations at other research universities.

Another important item on McCabe’s to-do list is to begin tracking outcomes of current and former postdocs in greater detail to ensure the office is providing these researchers the right tools for success in their future careers, both academic and otherwise.

She’ll also work closely with the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Research and Training Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, which already offers a robust range of services and activities to biomedical postdocs, in order to identify best practices that can serve the broader university postdoctoral community.

McCabe will also oversee the rollout of the Provost’s Academic Pathways Fellowship program, a new initiative to prepare early-career researchers from diverse backgrounds for academic careers. She is a co-principal investigator on a $2 million NSF grant to pilot the Academic Pathways model for STEM researchers, with a focus on women of color. The first cohort of Academic Pathways scholars will arrive on campus this fall.

Prior to this appointment, McCabe mentored a number of postdoctoral researchers and served as the director of graduate studies for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Chemistry.