Meet our Deans

Steve Matson

Steven W. MatsonSteven W. Matson, professor and former chair of the department of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill became dean of The Graduate School on July 1, 2008.

A member of the faculty since 1983, Matson is widely respected for his teaching, mentoring and research in the field of genetics and molecular biology, said Bernadette Gray-Little, executive vice chancellor and provost, in announcing the appointment.

On the national level, Matson is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award and has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, where he served as an editorial board member from 2000 to 2005.

At Carolina, he has taught courses a variety of courses, including: Current Topics in Biology, Advanced Molecular Biology, Advanced Cell Biology and honors sections of Genetics and Molecular Biology. A 2004 recipient of the University's Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and a 2005 Institute of Arts and Humanities Leadership Fellow, Matson is also a member of the Chancellors Advisory Committee, Bank of America Distinguished Professorship review panel and Honors Program Faculty Advisory Board. He is a past member and chair of the Pre-health Professions Advising Task Force and has served on various University administrative review committees through the years.

Matson's research focuses on DNA repair, conjugative DNA transfer and enzymatic mechanisms and biological roles of DNA helicases. His laboratory's long-term goal is to understand the molecular role of several helicases in the bacterium E. coli and the budding yeast S. cerevisiae.

A native of Coos Bay, Ore., Matson earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Colgate University. His master's and doctoral degrees are from the University of Rochester, both in biochemistry.

Dean Matson's homepage

Hoi Ning Ngai

Hoi Ning NgaiHoi Ning Ngai, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, joined The Graduate School on September 1, 2017 to assume oversight and responsibilities for supporting the overall graduate student experience. She works closely with directors and staff in Admissions and Enrolled Students as well as Diversity and Student Success to promote and provide resources to students throughout the graduate student life cycle.

As part of her portfolio, Ngai collaborates with partners across campus on the Graduate Student Orientation, the December commencement, the May hooding ceremony, and the Boka W. Hadzija Award for Distinguished University Service. She meets regularly with the leadership of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation to identify and address key areas of interest and concern for graduate and professional students across schools, departments, and programs. Additionally, she serves on various boards and committees, including the Campus Health Services Advisory Board, the Committee on Student Conduct, the Graduate School Administrative Board (including the Academic Policy Committee), and the Graduate School Professional Development Advisory Council.

Ngai believes strongly in the importance and value of self-reflection in undergraduate and graduate education, especially in terms of helping students become more aware of their identity, beliefs, values, and goals as they pursue advanced degrees and post-graduate opportunities. Additionally, she is focused on helping students better explore and engage with campus resources in order to make the most out of their graduate experience.

To this end, Ngai is in regular communication and consultation with Directors of Graduate Studies, Student Services Managers, the Learning Center, the Writing Center, the Dean of Students Office, the University Ombuds Office, Campus Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of University Counsel, the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office, and other campus resources to provide appropriate guidance and support to students dealing with challenging circumstances that may potentially impact their ability to progress, succeed, and thrive.

Prior to arriving at UNC-Chapel Hill, Ngai served as the Director of Academic Advising and Support at Kenyon College and an Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Advising at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Higher Education from UCLA. While at UCLA, she served as a Counseling Assistant at College Academic Counseling. Additionally, she worked closely with staff at the Graduate Student Resource Center and the Graduate Writing Center, as well as leadership within the Graduate Students Association.

Ngai is a first-generation college and graduate student who grew up in Brooklyn and Queens with immigrant parents in low-income housing. She attended Hunter College High School and Stuyvesant High School, as well as as the French Culinary Institute, in Manhattan. She has a fondness for bacon and ice cream, separate and together. She cannot drive a car or ride a bicycle, but she can make a mean pork shoulder. Her first name (Hoi Ning) means "peaceful journey" in Cantonese (Chinese). She appreciates the power of social media in promoting conversation and dialogue when used appropriately.

Stephanie Schmitt

Stephanie Schmitt is the Associate Dean for Academics in The Graduate School. In this position, she is responsible for administrative oversight for graduate education assessment efforts such as the campus-wide Program Review Process. This includes approximately 8 external reviews each year and an equal number of closure meetings and midpoint evaluations for prior reviews. The review process is conducted for all undergraduate and graduate programs at the university in concert with the Provost's Office and includes the preparation of a self-study, a site visit by external reviewers from peer institutions, and extensive follow-up from the recommendations such as program responses and midpoint progress evaluations.

Stephanie also has oversight for several academic initiatives, including The Graduate School's professional development workshops and courses, international efforts such as the Preparing International Teaching Assistants Program, admissions and enrolled student services for graduate programs, and major data collection and reporting initiatives within The Graduate School. Other academic initiatives falling within the scope of Stephanie's responsibilities include facilitating new and revised degree/program requests for graduate studies at Carolina, overseeing the graduate certificate policies process, chairing the Academic Policy Committee of The Graduate School's Administrative Board, maintaining the university's polices on graduate faculty designation, and updating academic policies like the Graduate Handbook relevant to graduate education.

Stephanie also represents graduate education interests on various university-wide committees, including the Student Data Stewards, Friday Center Advisory Board, International Advisory Council, Curriculum Committee, Diploma Task Force, and Academic Planning Task Force.

Prior to coming to The Graduate School Stephanie was an executive with a management consulting firm and served as a nonpartisan policy analyst with the North Carolina General Assembly. An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stephanie earned her BA in International Studies and Political Science, her MPA from the School of Government, and her PhD in Public Policy. She has participated in and worked closely with programs at Carolina Leadership Development, Carolina Women's Center, and the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, for which she was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece honor society and the Frank Porter Graham Graduate & Professional Student Honor Society.