College of Liberal Arts


The Office of Research and Graduate Studies strives to advance the educational mission of the College of Liberal Arts by providing the infrastructure that faculty, graduate students, and academic units within the College need in order to fund, conduct, and disseminate compelling and innovative research. Research by College faculty and students exemplifies our contribution to the people of Texas, to the academic community in the nation and beyond, and to the development of human knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences.  Strong research is critical to the education we provide to our undergraduate and graduate students; indeed, a successful research mission is inseparable from our educational mission.


Esther Raizen, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research • 232 2094 • GEB 3.212

Esther Raizen was born in Israel and came to the US in 1982. She holds an M.A. in Jewish History from Tel Aviv University (1982) and a Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin (1987). She has been invested in language pedagogy and technology-enhanced instruction since the early 1990s. At UT Austin she has taught Modern and Classical Hebrew language courses and occasional Hebrew literature courses. Dr. Raizen has served as undergraduate and graduate advisor for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and as Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies from 2006 to 2010. She was Principal Investigator on a number of grants, among them the ROTC Language and Culture Project grant and the Flagship Zero to Two grant, both of which involve instruction in critical languages.


Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, Ph.D., Executive Assistant • 232 2094 • GEB 3.208

Lauren Apter Bairnsfather supervises Liberal Arts Grants Services, conducts institutional research for Dean Diehl, and serves as contact for decentralized graduate fellowships, Humanities Research Awards, Lecturer and Graduate Coordinator Travel Grants, and the Liberal Arts TA Task Force. She holds a B.A. in Plan II and Middle Eastern Studies (The University of Texas, 1996), an M.A. in Social Sciences (University of Chicago, 2000), and a Ph.D. in History (The University of Texas, 2008). Previously a museum professional, Dr. Apter Bairnsfather has worked in higher education for over ten years. 

kathy photoKathy Thatcher, M.Ed., CRA, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist • 232 0760 • GEB 4.306

Kathy Thatcher assists faculty and graduate students with federal grant submissions. She holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from UT Austin (2010) and is a Certified Research Administrator (2009). In seventeen years with the University and ten years as a research administrator, Ms. Thatcher has worked with offices across campus including, most recently, the Community College Leadership Program's Center for Community College Student Engagement and the Section of Neurobiology.


Vivian Smyrl, Post-Award Specialist • 232 1479 • GEB 4.306

Vivian Smyrl assists faculty and graduate students in coordinating with the Office of Sponsored Projects concerning post-award issues.  She holds a B.A. in Plan II (1985) and an M.A in history (1994) from UT Austin and has worked with federal education grants for eighteen years. 

Jason Leubner, Ph.D., Grants and Contracts Specialist • 232 0716 • GEB 4.306

Jason Leubner assists graduate students with federal and foundation grant submissions and coordinates foundation submissions with the University Development Office. He holds a Ph.D. in English (UT Austin, 2012) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (UT Austin, 2006) and has two years experience researching and writing grant proposals.



Office Location:

Dorothy L. Gebauer Building (GEB), 3rd Floor

Mailing Address

College of Liberal Arts
Office of the Associate Dean for Research
116 Inner Campus Drive Stop G6000
Austin, TX 78712-1257