Lisa Brandes, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Graduate Student Life

A Graduate School alumna, Lisa Brandes returned to Yale in 1996 to help create the McDougal Graduate Student Center. She received her B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. At Yale, she earned her M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science, with a specialization in international relations. Her research focused on the domestic sources of foreign policy, especially the impact of gender on public attitudes toward war and peace issues. Lisa held faculty positions at Tufts and Wesleyan Universities prior to returning to Yale Graduate School as a Director and Assistant Dean.
Since the McDougal Center’s creation in 1996, Lisa has worked with graduate student Fellows, student leaders, administrators, and staff to develop a wide range of social and cultural events enhancing graduate student life and fostering a sense of community among graduate students, postdocs, and their family members. For the Graduate School, she provides recruitment assistance to departments and programs, oversees New Student Information and Orientation Week, plans school-wide Dean’s events, and helps coordinate Commencement activities. For the university, she serves on working groups and projects to enhance student services, and coordinates the graduate affiliate program with the residential colleges.
Lisa has served as an officer within regional and national political science associations and women’s groups. More recently, she has been active in graduate education issues and graduate student services networks within NASPA & NODA, writing articles, conducting research, and making conference presentations on graduate student life, especially student services, mental health, parenting, and orientation.
Lisa lives in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven with husband Scott McLean, a professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University, their son Charlie, a student at Edgewood School, and 1 elderly cat. She is active in local political, church, and community groups, and enjoys gardening, baking, arts and scifi.
See her profile on Facebook ( or contact her via email ( or 203.432.2583.