Vice President and Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Laura A. Carlson, Professor of Psychology

Laura Carlson, professor of psychology, was appointed vice president and associate provost and dean of the Graduate School in 2013. In addition to serving as dean of the Graduate School, her major responsibilities include coordinating the work of the Provost’s Advisory Committee (PAC), overseeing the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars and the Moreau Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowships Program, acting as the secretary of the Academic Council, and collaborating with the University Committee on Women Faculty and Students. Carlson also oversees faculty leadership development through NDLead.

Carlson’s tenure in the Graduate School began in 2009, when she was named associate dean for professional development. During her time in this position, she formed a campus-wide professional development team that offers services and programs within the areas of research, teaching, career, and ethics, including training in grant- and fellowship-writing, career exploration, teaching preparedness, and the responsible conduct of research.

Within the Department of Psychology, which she joined in 1994, Carlson has served as director of graduate studies and associate chair. Her primary research interest is spatial cognition—how we mentally represent the places and objects around us—and she has won grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation in support of this work. She directs the Department of Psychology’s Spatial Language & Spatial Cognition Lab.

Carlson received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, her master’s from Michigan State University, and her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been an associate editor for Cognitive PsychologyMemory & Cognition, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. In 2005, she co-edited the Oxford University Press volume Functional Features in Language and Space.

As a teacher, Carlson has been recognized on multiple occasions at Notre Dame: twice with a Kaneb Teaching Award and then again with a Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.