The Graduate School Team

Student Success and Program Development


Kouider Mokhtari, Ph.D.

Interim Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School
Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Chair

Kouider Mokhtari, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (Ohio University), is the Associate Vice President for Research and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Texas at Tyler. He also serves as the Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor and Director of the K-16 Literacy Center. His research focuses on metacognition and reading comprehension by first and second language readers. He has published extensively in these areas and his work has been widely cited. More about Dr. Mokhtari’s research, teaching, and service work can be found here and here.



Cindy Davis, Ph.D.
Manager, Graduate Program Integrity
The Graduate School 

Cindy Davis, Ph.D., is the Manager for Graduate Program Integrity at the University of Texas at Tyler. She has worked in higher education for over 15 years, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels and as a graduate program director. She has published in a variety of outlets, including the journals Administrative Theory & Praxis, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, PS: Political Science & Politics,and in edited volumes including Toward a More Livable World: Social Dimensions of Sustainability and Civic Education in the Twenty-First Century: A Multidimensional Inquiry. Her research interests include cultural competency and ethics in public institutions. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond, VA, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. 



Afton Rumsey, Ph.D.
Manager, Graduate Student Retention
The Graduate School  

Afton Rumsey Ph.D. is Coordinator for Retention and Student Success of the Graduate School at the University of Texas at Tyler. She has worked in higher education for over 15 years in various leadership roles including institutional effectiveness, research, and data analytics as well as teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is a proud UT Tyler alum with a M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Resource Development with a specialization in organizational development and change management.


Manager, Graduate Student Success
The Graduate School



Grayson Lawrence
Coordinator, Program Development Support
The Graduate School

Grayson Lawrence currently serves as the Graduate Program Support Coordinator and has been working in the Graduate School since March 2022. He graduated with a BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2021, where he ran track for the Patriots from 2017-2021. He prides himself on understanding situations that students may encounter throughout their academic careers. He uses his experiences to resolve issues that impede students’ success in the Graduate School.



Cindy Sprayberry
Administrative Assistant III
The Graduate School 

Cynthia Sprayberry is the Administrative Assistant III and the Thesis and Dissertation Coordinator for the Graduate School at the University of Texas at Tyler.  She has worked at UT Tyler for eight years serving in the School of Education Administrative office and Certification office.  Before joining UT Tyler, she worked in the private sector for 18 years as an administrative/executive assistant.  She holds a MA in History and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from UT Tyler.