In a recent all-campus e-mail, President Falk announced upcoming staffing changes for the positions of provost and dean of the faculty starting in July. Peter Murphy, who currently serves as dean of faculty, will return to his faculty position as professor of English in July, while Provost Will Dudley ’89 has chosen to remain in his position for another term.
Both administrators have served since July 1, 2011, when the terms of then Dean of Faculty Bill Wagner and Provost Bill Lenhart came to an end. According to Falk, “the positions of dean of the faculty, dean of the College and provost are filled by regular members of the faculty, who typically serve one or two three-year terms before returning to full-time teaching and research.”
Dean of Faculty
Prior to serving as dean of faculty, Murphy was the chair of the English department for four years. He also served as chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Departments and Programs and was a member of the Faculty Steering Committee, the Faculty Review Panel and the Multicultural Center Advisory Committee. From 1995 to 2000, he was the dean of the College.
Murphy is eager to return to the English department next year. “It is exciting to be able to return to being a professor, the work I love best,” Murphy said. “My current job has taken me quite far away from students, and I am really eager to get back.”
Despite being enthusiastic about his return to the classroom, Murphy reflected on his time as dean of faculty with pride. “It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with Falk and with really talented colleagues on senior staff,” Murphy said. “In my time as dean, I think we have done a good job of increasing the collaboration and transparency in the work of our office, and I think all of us in the dean of faculty’s office are quite proud of that.”
Murphy looks forward to fulfilling the remainder of the term, hoping to see more changes in the current academic year before vacating the position, as he does not consider his work done. “Of course I have almost a year to go before I am done!” Murphy said.
Dudley is a graduate of the College, who served as chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) and member of the Committee on Educational Policy, the Faculty Interview Panel and the Committee on Diversity and Community. Prior to becoming provost in 2011, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). He joined the College as a professor of philosophy in 1998.
The provost position was altered slightly in 2011, coinciding with Dudley’s appointment. At the time, Falk made the decision to appoint Fred Puddester as vice president for finance and administration, along with the provost, as part of his senior administration realignment plan (“New roles outlined, created for senior administrators,” Sept. 23, 2010). The position of vice president for finance and administration was meant to allow for longer-range financial planning to support the institutional planning done by the provost.
“That position took on some of the responsibilities that the provosts position used to have. That includes the responsibility for the controller’s office and our real estate operations,” Dudley said. “[Puddester] and I work hand in hand. My role with respect to finances has to do with priority setting. On the senior administrative team, the provost is in charge of allocating resources and the vice president for finance and administration is in charge of managing the resources.”
Dudley thinks these changes have had a positive effect on the College. He noted that the provost has managerial responsibility for admissions, financial aid, the libraries, the art museum, the Zilkha Center, the science center and institutional research, to name a few. “The fact that I don’t have to be responsible for accounting or keeping track of the debt means that I have more time than my predecessors did to work with those groups and support what they do,” Dudley said. “That’s a large part of this job and is one of the most important benefits of the reorganization is that the provost has more time to give those people the support they need.”
Dudley is excited to serve another term as provost. “I like the job,” Dudley said. “This is the beginning of my third year, and after two years, I feel like I’m up to speed and have learned the ropes, and I’m excited to keep doing it,” Dudley said. “I enjoy working with Falk and his senior team. It takes a year or two to figure out what you are doing and having invested that time, now I feel like it is good for myself and the College to stick with it.”