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Line of new graduate students at orientation

2020 Graduate Student Orientation

Message from the Dean

Dear new graduate students,

Dean Mark Wallace outside Alumni Hall, home of the Graduate SchoolWelcome to Vanderbilt!  I know this is not exactly how you envisioned your first semester of graduate school would be, but I applaud your tenacity at not letting a pandemic stand between you and your goals.  Normally, we would welcome you to campus, invite you to Alumni Hall for lunch and host a resource fair, but under the current circumstances, that is not an option.

This year, for your safety and convenience, we are opting for online orientation.  We have asynchronous, self-paced modules for you to review, that introduce you to the important offices, services and resources that will support and enhance you throughout your graduate student experience.

If you haven't already reviewed it, I encourage you to visit the Return to Campus website, where you will find the most current information on the state of the campus, community messages from university leadership and a comprehensive list of FAQs.  Visit this page frequently, as it is updated often and is the centralized portal for COVID-19 information and its impact on the Vanderbilt campus and fall semester.

There are a few essential resources I'd like to point you to, the first being the VandySafe App.  This app contains a wealth of information on campus safety with additional support for the Return To Campus.  VandySafe also includes a self-assessment tool, allows you to report a concern, and has quick links to support services.

The other important resource is the Student Care Network.  This is a holistic network of services and resources pertaining to health and wellness, and encompasses the following offices:

We will expand more on these resources in the orientation modules, but I wanted you to be aware of these services.  With the stress of moving to a new city and starting graduate school during a pandemic, we hope you'll utilize these resources to manage your wellbeing during this time of great change.

As you arrive on campus, we remind you to take the established safety precautions seriously: 

  • Wear face coverings/masks at all times
  • Physically distance at least 6 feet apart
  • Practice good hand hygiene by regularly washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
  • Avoid large gatherings

These safety protocols are just as important off campus and in your personal life as they are on campus and in your educational activities, and are essential for a successful fall semester.

Campus won't be like this forever. With each of us being considerate of others and making the conscious decision to commit to the public health guidelines, we can and will have a productive semester.  When we emerge on the other side of this pandemic, we hope to celebrate your arrival like you deserve.

Again, welcome.  I wish you much success in this new chapter of life!

Be well and stay safe,


Mark Wallace
Dean of the Graduate School


Brightspace Orientation Modules

New Graduate School students were enrolled and should have received a link to the orientation modules in Brightspace.  You must be enrolled in the course to access these asynchronous, self-paced modules. Links below will be made available by August 17.

Orientation opens on Monday, August 17, 2020. 


Hand on keyboard with text noting Orientation Modules; click on this to access Brightspace image of books on a shelf with text stating reference materials. Click here to access PDF documents relevant to new students aerial view of campus with banner that says important links. Click here to find links to imporant campus resources