Michael Murphy promoted to AVP

Over 15 years, more than 25,000 students have called Michael Murphy Carnegie Mellon?s Dean of Student Affairs. On Wednesday, that changed when the University announced that Murphy will be promoted to the position of associate vice-president. The position of associate vice-president did not previously exist at the University.

Murphy previously oversaw Student Activities, Student Life, and Housing. His new position will extend his purview over student development and campus life without all the day-to-day tasks associated with the Dean of Student Affairs.

?I will, in this new role, be taking on a variety of projects and initiatives still very much involved in student life, but at what might be seen as more of a strategic level,? Murphy said.

Murphy began working for Student Affairs at the University almost 25 years ago. At the time, Carnegie Mellon was a university Murphy described as ?a place that had a lot of hard edges?: There was an 18 percent attrition rate between the first and second years at the University. Murphy says it was his task to ?create a warmer climate on campus.?

?When I took the ombudsman job, it was clear that students wanted to step up to greater leadership opportunities on campus, particularly out of the classroom and that was the cornerstone,? Murphy said. ?The opportunity for students to feel that the campus was their own was a critical part of that foundation. So we looked into ways we could be supportive of those opportunities.?

Associate Dean of Student Affairs Jennifer Church will be filling Murphy?s job in an interim capacity until a permanent choice is made on a new dean. The job will be open during the 2005?2006 academic year. ?My goal is that I have time to well serve the student population and that the community is as vibrant a place with me in this interim role as it has been with Michael in this role,? Church said.

Church has been with the University nine years and has worked closely with Murphy. ?I think [Dean Murphy] is pretty visionary in the way he views the college experience and the way a student should experience campus life,? she said.

In extending Murphy?s commitments in Student Affairs, Church takes a role Murphy recalls as being supportive even beyond what students know. Murphy states that he self-identifies as an educator rather than an administrator: ?When you wake up in the morning and believe you?re an educator ? even if you?re accused of being an administrator ? then you work the challenges of higher education,? he said. Murphy plans to pursue postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania on fusion of personal and professional success and hopes that it will benefit Carnegie Mellon.

?I have spent my whole professional life at Carnegie Mellon. Ideally, I?ll be able to make the same claim 20 years from now. It is a special place,? he said.