March 13, 2014

Tai Arnold Named Dean, School for Graduate Studies, SUNY Empire State College

Tai Arnold is the dean of the college's School for Graduate Studies. Photo/Empire State College

Tai Arnold is the dean of the college's School for Graduate Studies. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 14, 2014) SUNY Empire State College today announced that Tai Arnold has been named dean of the college’s School for Graduate Studies. She has been serving as acting dean since 2013, and was selected for the permanent position following a rigorous national search.

"Tai is a tremendous asset to the School for Graduate Studies and Empire State College and I am pleased that she will provide leadership for the growth of our high-quality, robust graduate programs," said Merodie A. Hancock, president of SUNY Empire State College. "Tai has decades of experience across the higher-education environment, understands how to move graduate education forward and is a very strong advocate for the faculty, staff and students. I am excited as she becomes a permanent member of our leadership team and look forward to our continued work together."

“Dr. Arnold brings many strengths to this position, particularly in terms of her depth of knowledge, experience and expertise in higher education,” said Acting Provost Deb Amory. “During the search process she presented an insightful analysis of the state of graduate programs nationally, as well as a compelling vision for our own future. Finally, she brings a collaborative and supportive leadership approach to the office that will serve the school and the college well.”

“Empire State College’s School for Graduate Studies is a recognized leader in master’s-level education, providing quality educational experiences in innovative and flexible formats,” Arnold said. “With a solid set of programs and a talented faculty, the school has a promising future and it is an exciting time to undertake the leadership. I am honored to have been selected as the dean of such a fabulous organization.”

Arnold has been at the college since 1998 and has served in a variety of roles, including assistant vice president for academic programs, director of program development and assistant to the vice president of academic affairs.

During her tenure as acting dean, Arnold served as chief academic, fiscal and administrative officer for the School for Graduate Studies. She ensured the quality of the graduate programs, led planning and secured resources. She also represented the school internally and externally, including as liaison with programmatic accrediting organizations.

Her key accomplishments include:

  • initiating academic strategic planning, which is ongoing
  • facilitating successful IACBE accreditation of the MBA in management
  • articulating a model for faculty teaching and advising obligation.

She also provided leadership of an unprecedented program development initiative that included a B.S.N., an M.S. in nursing and three online master’s: an M.A. in adult learning, an M.A. in learning and emerging technologies and an M.B.A. in global leadership.

Arnold also was instrumental in establishing “Credit Where Credit is Due: Veteran and Military Pathway to the MBA,” which was funded by a $530,000 grant from the Graduate Management Admissions Council’s Management for Education for Tomorrow Fund, as well as a B.A., B.S. and B.P.S. in public affairs, and several graduate certificates.

In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Arnold is a mentor and associate professor at the college and is advising and assisting students with degree programs and course selection/creation.

In 2011, Arnold was a State University of New York system administration provost fellow, selected for a semester-long fellowship program with SUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs. In that role, she reviewed and approved, on behalf of the SUNY provost, academic program proposals for SUNY institutions, as well as teacher education programs, including those developed for the state’s Race to the Top program.

About Tai Arnold

Arnold earned her Ph.D. in education with a concentration in adult learning and higher education, her M.A. in education with a concentration in student development and B.A. in psychology, all at American University.  

She publishes in professional journals on topics such as “Integrative Learning and the Individualized Prior Learning Assessment Narrative” in The Journal of Continuing Higher Education; “Assuring Quality:  Reliability and Validity in Individualized Prior Learning Assessment” in The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessment Corner; “The Student as Educational Partner:  Empire State College’s Approach to Learning” in Assessment Update; and “Assessing Prior Learning Assessment” in All about Mentoring. 

She also serves on many committees and task forces at the college and externally for organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, American Association for Adult and Continuing Education and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Prior to coming to Empire State College, Arnold served in several key administrative positions at American University in Washington, D.C.

About SUNY Empire State College

Established in 1971 as the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, Empire State College educates many of its students online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at nine international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available at:


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)