UNLV is pleased to announce that Alyssa Crittenden, Ph.D., will serve as the new Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate College, effective July 1, 2022. Crittenden, an anthropologist and human biologist, has been a faculty member at UNLV for over a decade, serving in multiple roles focused on graduate education throughout that time.
“Dr. Crittenden has a proven record of successful leadership as the graduate coordinator in the Department of Anthropology,” said President Keith E. Whitfield. “Her work to usher in a more holistic admissions process demonstrates an innovative mindset and a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.”
After joining the university as a visiting assistant professor in 2011, Crittenden served as Lincy Assistant Professor from 2012 to 2017. She became an associate professor in 2017, graduate coordinator in 2019, and will be a full professor on July 1. Since 2020, she has served as chair of the Graduate Council as well as chair of the Graduate College Executive Committee, contributing to the strategic plan of the college and playing a key role in representing the faculty voice in its governance. She sits on master’s and Ph.D. committees from multiple academic units and is currently chairing two doctoral committees within Anthropology.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Crittenden to our leadership team,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Chris Heavey. “Her background and perspective will help us advance our Top Tier mission in the area of graduate education, including strategic recruitment to grow and diversify our graduate student body along with enhanced support for graduate faculty and graduate program staff.”
In her new position, Crittenden will oversee all aspects of education for the university’s 4,237 graduate students, from The Grad Academy to securing and expanding access to financial resources to support student success.
“I am grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to working with the outstanding team at the Graduate College to continue cultivating an environment that serves our vibrant and talented graduate students and the campus community,” Crittenden said.
Crittenden fills the role vacated by Kate Korgan, who recently took the helm as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
“I have every confidence in Dr. Crittenden’s leadership and her commitment to excellence in graduate education,” Korgan said. “Her experience as an administrator working with graduate students and her insightful research reflect a Grad Rebel spirit that will serve to elevate the Graduate College, its faculty, and students.”
Korgan acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Emily Lin, who has been serving as the acting dean of the Graduate College. “Dr. Lin has been a rock for the Grad College. Her ongoing dedication to the mission of the college inspires us and I am deeply grateful for her leadership.”
Crittenden’s research interests include behavioral and reproductive biology, political ecology, human nutrition, and evolutionary anthropology. She works with members of the Hadza community of subsistence foragers in Tanzania to explore how the health of women and their children is affected by environmental and political change, shifts in diet, and differential access to biomedical care. Crittenden recently extended her work to exploring the impact of the environment on reproductive outcomes cross-culturally, including in the United States.
Her work is published in top-tier academic journals, and highlighted in popular media outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, and BBC. Crittenden is the recipient of the 2021 Conrad Arensberg Award from the American Anthropological Association for furthering anthropology as a natural science. She remains committed to the open science movement and works to share her research findings widely.
Crittenden holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, San Diego, all in anthropology. She also completed an interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.