Mercer to step down as Graduate School dean at year’s end
Mercer to step down as Graduate School dean at year’s endJune 14, 2005Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Effective Dec. 31, John Mercer will step down as dean of Syracuse University’s Graduate School. Following a brief leave in 2006, he plans to return to the Department of Geography, which he chaired for eight years, to continue teaching and research.
Mercer served the Graduate School for the last six years as both associate dean and dean. “My tenure as dean has been a rich and rewarding experience from which I have learned a great deal. It allowed me to build new and productive collegial relationships, which I value and will treasure in the years ahead,” says Mercer. “I look forward to being active in scholarly work and engaging again with both graduate and undergraduate students.”
“John has provided stability, wisdom and leadership for the Graduate School at a time when the University has been working to improve its graduate programs and increase graduate research,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. “His contributions have made a huge improvement to the quality of graduate study at Syracuse. He will be a tough act to follow.”
Under Mercer’s leadership, the Graduate School introduced new administrative structures, such as the Graduate Council, that have enhanced graduate education at Syracuse. Mercer also managed the reorganization of the University’s Graduate Fellowship awards system, allowing Syracuse to offer more generous stipends to graduate students. As a result, the University has become much more competitive nationally in attracting top doctoral candidates.
Mercer also has worked closely with David Smith, vice president of enrollment management, and Donald Saleh, associate vice president and dean of Graduate Enrollment, in a productive partnership between the Graduate School and the Graduate Enrollment Management Center.
“It has been a privilege to collaborate with John Mercer over the past four years,” says Smith. “His strong leadership in advancing the cause of graduate education at SU has been a hallmark of his deanship and the source of considerable inspiration to all of us who have worked closely with him. John is a man with creative vision and immense energy who has helped to reshape our graduate enterprise in very positive ways.”
Mercer came to Syracuse in 1980 as an associate professor in the Department of Geography. After serving as its graduate director from 1981 to 1989, he became department chair from 1990 to 1995. Following two years as undergraduate director, he returned for a second term as chair from 1997-2000. During his chairmanship, the department was ranked sixth nationally (along with the University of California-Berkeley) in the National Research Council assessment of doctoral programs (1995) and maintained its reputation as a national and international leader in the field of geography.
Mercer is recognized for his published research on comparative urban development in North America; urban housing markets and racialized segregation in the U.S. and Canada; the impact of immigrants on urban housing markets and their settlement patterns in Canadian and British cities; and urban governance and policymaking. A participant in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Freshman Forum for almost 15 years, he has taught courses across all instructional levels, from first-year to graduate seminars on urban geography, cities of Europe, research design and quantitative methods. His current primary interests are comparative urban development and urban transformations under rapid globalization.
Mercer began his university teaching career at the University of Iowa in 1969 and taught at the University of British Columbia from 1973 to 1980. He has been a visiting fellow at the Center for Urban and Community Studies at the University of Toronto and at the ESRC (UK) Center for Housing Studies at the University of Glasgow.