Dean Announces Leadership Transition

Susan Marquis (center) with the current and former chairs of the Pardee RAND Board of Governors, Jim Lovelace and José Greer

Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

February 25, 2021

After transforming the Pardee RAND Graduate School and serving for nearly 13 years as the school’s fourth dean, Susan Marquis has announced she will be stepping down at the end of the summer, leaving the school and RAND for her next endeavor.

“My decision has not come easily or quickly, and it is decision that I make with the mixed emotions of leaving colleagues, students, and an organization that I respect immensely and love fully,” Marquis said in a message to students, faculty, and staff. “Now is, however, the right time.

“With our 2020 student cohort, all major elements of the redesigned school are in place, building on and expanding the exceptional education and experience Pardee RAND has long offered our students,” she said.

RAND president and CEO Michael Rich added, in his message to RAND staff, “I have worked closely with Susan since her arrival and have relied on her partnership to help position the Pardee RAND Graduate School for a new era of problem solving. Susan leaves Pardee RAND stronger than ever and well-positioned to continue empowering talented and highly motivated students to ‘be the answer’ for many years to come.”

Noting that Marquis is also stepping down from her position as RAND vice president of Innovation, Rich added, “Susan has been integral to strengthening RAND’s environment for innovation, helping to develop our strategy and guiding our RAND-Initiated Research investments to contend with underappreciated or over-the-horizon issues, take thoughtful risks, and make important methodological advances.”

“We have a strong team of talented deans, stream leads, faculty, advisors, counselors, and administrative staff. The school, students, and the next dean could not be in better hands.”

—Susan Marquis

Marquis said she is excited to “begin a new phase in my career, one focused on more direct action toward improving lives and providing opportunities for people in our communities.”

She and her husband will be returning to their home outside of Washington, D.C., in Virginia.

“This next phase picks back up the direction I was pursuing when [former RAND president] Jim Thomson offered me the honor of becoming dean of Pardee RAND in 2008,” she said. “And it is a thread I’ve continued throughout my time as dean while working on my book I Am Not A Tractor! and in the establishment of the school’s Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream.”

In terms of her legacy, Marquis says she is proud of the way the school has “pushed forward on strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community and in communities throughout the U.S. through a holistic admissions process, the Faculty Leaders Program, the new Social Justice and Racial Equity thread within our program, and the Community-Partnered Policy and Action academic stream and community partnerships.”

Rich concurred: “She has been a significant voice in RAND’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the graduate school as well as across the organization.”

Marquis is also pleased with the way the school has increased its nonacademic offerings.

“Student support has become increasingly comprehensive – Career Services, near-elimination of student debt upon graduation, increased scholarships, parental leave, and now student housing – while also maintaining the personal and individual care that our school administration has for our students,” she said.

Rich added, “Over the past year, despite significant pandemic disruptions, she steered the graduate school through the necessary adaptions to enable virtual collaboration and learning while keeping students, faculty, and staff safe.”

The role of dean, of course, frequently involves fundraising. Rich praised Marquis on that score, too: “Throughout her tenure as dean, Marquis has elevated RAND and Pardee RAND’s fundraising aspirations and performance, raising millions of dollars to support students and programs. Her work with philanthropists has enabled Pardee students to graduate with little or no debt and, most recently, helped to establish Pardee Commons, the school's first housing community, which will provide a safe, supportive, and more affordable housing environment for students and their families.”

In his message, Rich also announced the commencement of a search for the next Frank and Marcia Carlucci Dean of Pardee RAND and vice president, Innovation, for RAND.

Alum Jeffrey Wasserman (cohort '85), who served as assistant dean for Academic Affairs at Pardee RAND and vice president and director, RAND Health, will lead the search for Marquis's successor. Rich added that RAND will form a diverse search committee that will leverage best practices and an inclusive process to attract internal and external candidates.

Marquis noted that she has announced her departure far in advance so she could do her part to ensure the best possible transition to the next dean.

“We have a strong team of talented deans, stream leads, faculty, advisors, counselors, and administrative staff. The school, students, and the next dean could not be in better hands,” Marquis noted.

“I will not be leaving for about six months, and there is still much work to be done. My hope is that by the time I head East, the next dean will be fully in place and everyone will be looking at their watches saying ‘Wait, is she still here?’”

—Monica Hertzman