Graduate School Staff

Dr. Dorris R. Robinson Gardner  

Dean, Division of Graduate Studies

Telephone:  (601) 979-2455


Dr. Dorris R. Robinson-Gardner has served the higher education community for more than forty years. She has served at public, private, two-year, and four-year colleges and universities earning tenure and promotion as an assistant professor, associate professor and professor.  Further, she served as the State Coordinator for Academic Programs at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, recommending approvals of new academic programs for two-year and four-year colleges and universities and certification of out-of-state colleges and universities to offer academic programs in the State of Arkansas.  She has provided leadership as a faculty chairperson, coordinator of graduate programs, and associate dean for academic studies.  She has been a Fulbright Scholar to China, and Korea, lectured nationally and internationally including Germany, France, and Cuba, served as a reviewer for federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, several publishing companies and consultant evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities.

In 1997, she became Dean of the Graduate School at Jackson State University.  Under her administration, graduate enrollment increased by 90%, retention rates climbed to 82% and the graduation rate increased to 79%.   In 2000, the Carnegie Commission classified the university as a doctoral research-intensive university and in 2005 reclassified it as a research university, high research activity. She developed CyberOrientation and CyberAdvising providing graduate students with access to on-line orientation and advising and a series on Best Practices in Graduate Education.

Under her leadership, she assisted university departments in developing partnerships including those with Howard University, the University of California system, University of Nebraska, Washington State University, University of Iowa, University of Massachusetts, University of Florida, Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education Programs (NAGEP) and the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi (AGEM).  These programs focused primarily on increasing doctoral degrees for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

She holds degrees from Arkansas Baptist College and Ouachita Baptist University where she was Phi Delta Kappa and Alpha Epsilon Lambda.  She received her Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and was among the first African-Americans to receive this degree.  Dr. Gardner is Immediate Past President of the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools (CHBGS) and serves on the Boards of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS), the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Yale University R25 REID Scientific Advisory Board.  Previously, she served as the President of the Mississippi Association of Graduate Deans.   She is married and has four children and three grandchildren.

Dr. Darcie Bishop, Associate Dean
(601) 979-2455   e-mail:

 Graduate School Staff

Ms. Verdean Potter, Director of Admissions
(601)-979-2455, e-mail:
Ms. Deborah Washington, Coordinator, Student Services
(601) 979-4323, e-mail:
Mr. Byron A. Quick, Coordinator of Retention and Assessment
(601)-979-4324, e-mail:
Admissions Program Managers
Ms. Fatoumatta Sisay, Senior Program Manager
(601)-979-0342 email:
TBA,  Program Manager
TBA, Program Manager