Dean's Office

Robin Poston

Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and Associate Provost for Graduate Education

Dr. Robin Poston is Dean of the Moody Graduate School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and Associate Provost for Graduate Education at SMU, which is home to over 4,700 graduate students studying in over 100 programs. She is a member of the Cox Business School faculty in the Information Technology and Operations Management Department.  Prior to joining SMU, from 2014-2022 she served as the Chair of the Business Information and Technology Department then Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis, where she received the Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award.  Dr. Poston is also the prior Director and currently a Research Fellow with the System Testing Excellence Program at the FedEx Institute of Technology at The University of Memphis. She routinely speaks about advances and innovations in software testing at events attended by hundreds of academic and industry professionals, including IEEE’s International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering and meetings supported by the International Test and Evaluation Association. 

She has served as an Associate Editor for two highly ranked journals, the European Journal of Information Systems and Decision Sciences Journal, both of which provide critical views on technology, development, implementation, strategy, management, and policy for information systems to a global audience. Dr. Poston’s current research focuses on understanding the alignment within the IT unit among developers and testers, client managers’ responsibilities, and agile development and testing. She has published articles in publications such as Management Information Systems Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences Journal, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Computer, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Information Systems Management, and in major international conference proceedings.

Dr. Poston has over 20 years of experience in the information systems field working for KPMG Consulting, Educational Computer Corporation, Meta Group Research, and Convergys, and consulting with several Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Today, she works with organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security and Air Force Institute of Technology and has conducted projects and educational programs for the Defense Information Systems Agency of the Department of Defense, FedEx Corporation, First Tennessee Bank, St. Jude/ALSAC, and others. Dr. Poston received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The University of Pennsylvania (1987), master’s degree in Accounting from The University of Central Florida (1992), and Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Michigan State University (2003).


Alan Itkin

Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Chief of Staff, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and Adjunct Lecturer in World Languages and Literatures

Dr. Itkin oversees administrative, admissions, recruitment, professional development, student life, fellowship, and other functions of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies under the direction of Dean Poston.

Dr. Itkin holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California Berkeley. Prior to joining SMU, he served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Education and Research in the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University.  He also maintains an active research profile as a scholar of modern German culture and Holocaust literature.  His academic monograph, Underworlds of Memory: W. G. Sebald’s Epic Journeys through the Past, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2017, and he has held the titles of Senior Lecturer in German at Vanderbilt University and Visiting Assistant Professor of Literary Cultures at New York University.

Dr. Itkin teaches as adjunct lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literatures.

Stevie Otto

Assistant Dean of Recruitment and Admissions, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Stevie Otto works closely with graduate departments across the institution to help promote their doctoral programs to prospective students.  She is also a valuable resource for interested students who want to learn more about the graduate student experience at SMU and who need help starting the application process.

A native of Houston, Stevie is a graduate of Southwestern University and the University of Iowa.  She has worked in higher education for several years, starting as an academic advisor and transitioning into admissions and recruitment.  Before coming to SMU, she most recently served as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  She has worked in Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies throughout her entire professional career and enjoys being able to help students take that next step in their own professional development.

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Rachel Ball-Phillips

Director of Graduate Fellowships and Awards, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Rachel Ball PhillipDr. Ball-Phillips helps graduate students learn about, select, and successfully apply for external fellowships and awards. Prior to joining the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Dr. Ball-Phillips directed National Student Fellowships and the President’s Scholars at SMU. 

Dr. Ball-Phillips holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in South Asian History from Boston College, and an M.B.A and a B.A. in History from SMU. During her time as a graduate student, she conducted language study and research through multiple American Institute of Indian Studies language grants, a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, and a Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy Fellowship. She has taught in the William P. Clements Department of History since 2014, and maintains an active research profile as a scholar of South Asian History. She is currently completing work on her manuscript Film in the Archives: Tracing Regionalism in Indian Cinema.

Dr. Ball-Phillips also serves as the President of the Fulbright Association Dallas Chapter.

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Rob Pearson

Director of Graduate Career Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Dr. Rob Pearson provides support for graduate students and postdocs as they leverage their academic training to prepare for the range of diverse career paths available to them.

Dr. Pearson holds a Ph.D. and M.F.A. in musicology from Brandeis University and a B.A. in music from UC Davis. Prior to joining Southern Methodist University, Dr. Pearson built new graduate career development programs at Emory University and UT Dallas. Dr. Pearson’s career advice for doctoral students and postdoctoral trainees has been featured numerous times in InsideHigherEd. He has also served in faculty positions at the University of North Texas and the New England Conservatory of Music. His scholarly work addresses how listeners make meaning from 18th- and 19th-century music and his work has been featured in 19th-Century Music, the A-R Music Anthology, and the Oxford Handbook of Public Music Theory.

Dr. Pearson serves as President-Elect of the Graduate Career Consortium and is involved in professional development initiatives of the American Musicological Society. He is also a member of the National Postdoctoral Association.

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Kerri Bennett

Associate Director and Diversity Officer, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Kerri Bennett works with Ph.D. and Dedman College Master's students to provide administrative support for student progression, maintaining academic records, and processing students for graduation. Kerri is the main point of contact for dissertation format checks, Graduate Student Travel Grants, and similar resources offered by the Moody School Dean's Office, while serving as Diversity Officer for the graduate school. She also manages candidacy to completion for PhD's under the Moody School purview. 

Kerri has over 17 years of experience in Higher Ed from Recruiting, Admissions, to Student Finance. She joined SMU in Fall of 2016 and has enjoyed working closely with the talented students who have come through the various programs. While helping motivate others to further their education, she also obtained an MBA with a concentration in Marketing.  

Joe S. Hoselton

Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Joe Hoselton assists directly with graduate applicants and departments in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, offering support and communications within the graduate instance of Slate. Additionally, he serves as the primary resource for all graduate programs at SMU operating within this instance of Slate, managing the infrastructure, automations, and user access as well as offering training, consultation, and recommendations to best maximize its potential.

Born and raised in DFW, Joe completed his undergraduate studies in Music from the University of Texas at Arlington and then went on to complete his Master of Music in Music Education right here at Southern Methodist University. Joe began his career at SMU in 2001, spending two decades in the Meadows School of the Arts as the music recruiter initially and finally as the Director of Graduate Admissions. In 2023 he transitioned into his current role overseeing Slate, the system through which we manage graduate admissions for Dedman, Lyle, Meadows, Perkins, Simmons and the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Joe enjoys the opportunity to apply his SMU admission experience and perspective toward the continued development of Slate as a key resource to faculty, staff, and applicants.

Kelsey Kiser

Associate Director of Communications and Student Life

Dr. Kiser provides external and internal communication strategies and implementation to the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and she assists with the support of graduate student life on campus.

Dr. Kiser holds a Ph.D. in African American Literature from SMU, an M.A. in English from SMU, and a B.A. in English from the University of Portland. Prior to joining the Moody School, Dr. Kiser applied her research, analysis, and communication skills in the private sector, working as a marketing analyst at firms like KPG Capital and The Blackman Real Estate Group. In all her endeavors, Dr. Kiser utilizes how language and form work together to make meaning. Her scholarship, which lies at the intersections of African American literature, cultural studies, and surveillance can be found in Modern Drama and the College Language Association Journal (CLAJ). Her academic book, Secret Selves: Surveillance and Twentieth-Century African American Literature, is forthcoming December 2025 and is under contract with Lexington Press, an academic division of Rowman & Littlefield.

Karen Wray

Executive Assistant to the Dean

 Karen Wray is the Executive Assistant who supports the Moody School's Dean and Associate Provost of Education. She is also the building manager and handles general questions for STABLE requests as well as security access needs. Karen has over 30 years of experience in business administration. She joined SMU in the spring of 2017.