Campus & Community

Jerome T. Murphy to step down as Dean in 2001

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Jerome T. Murphy, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1992, announced that he will step down as Dean in June 2001. After a year’s sabbatical, Murphy will return to the School and continue to teach as the Harold Howe II Professor of Education.

During his eight years as Dean, Murphy presided over a period of strategic expansion at the School, including the development of seven new master’s programs addressing topics such as the arts, brain sciences, and school leadership. He created the Askwith Education Forum speaker series, which is free and open to the public, and brings scholars, activists, artists, and policymakers to speak on topics relevant to education and learning. As part of the School’s focus on using research findings to improve classroom practice nationwide, Murphy established a dedicated office to work with Massachusetts public school systems. Murphy also led the School’s record-breaking capital campaign, which tripled the number of endowed professorships, and raised $111 million dollars, the largest sum ever raised by a school of education.

“Jerry Murphy has provided outstanding leadership during a particularly dynamic period in the history of the School,” President Neil L. Rudenstine said. “Dean Murphy has been at the center of the national debate on school reform, and he has encouraged active engagement by faculty and students with critical issues in the field of education. Jerry has brought vigor and insight to the School, and I am personally grateful to him for the exceptional ability and collegial spirit with which he has served Harvard and the School of Education.”

“Serving as dean has been an experience that I will always treasure.” Murphy said. “It has afforded me the opportunity to work closely with an extraordinary group of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. The School is in excellent shape, and now faces a number of choices. I feel strongly that planning for the next steps should be led by a dean ready to remain in the position for an extended period of time.

“This is also a time of enormous and accelerating changes in the education field. Harvard’s School of Education is playing a pivotal role in the pursuit of public goals and the rapid increase in knowledge about learning and development. More than ever before, the nation needs to harness this knowledge to benefit children, particularly those who are poor.”

A specialist in the politics of education, Murphy conducted some of the earliest studies of the implementation of “Great Society” education programs and made substantial contributions to data-collection techniques in educational evaluation. His teaching and research focus on administrative practice and organizational leadership, government policy, program implementation and evaluation, and qualitative methodology. He has participated in numerous international exchange meetings on educational issues, including a trip to Cuba this past April. Murphy is best known for his development of innovative programs in education.

Before assuming the deanship, he was instrumental in the creation of the School of Education’s Urban Superintendents Program and in the expansion of its Programs in Professional Education. The Urban Superintendents Program is the nation’s first and only comprehensive program that prepares school leaders to address the challenges of large, urban districts. The doctoral program stresses an expanded conception of the superintendent’s role as a community, educational, and managerial leader. Programs in Professional Education (PPE) is a series of intensive programs in professional development that serve more than 2000 teachers, administrators, and other school leaders each year. PPE’s most well-known programs include the Seminar for New Presidents, which has prepared one of every six U.S. university presidents.

Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After a brief career teaching math in the Manhasset Public Schools, he moved to Washington, D.C., and served in the Johnson Administration, first in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare developing legislation, and then as associate director of the White House Fellows program. He also served as associate staff director of the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children.

After completing his doctorate in educational policy, he founded and directed the Massachusetts Internships in Education. Murphy joined the Harvard faculty in 1974 and became a full professor in 1982. He served as associate dean of the School from 1982 to 1990.

President Rudenstine said that he will consult early in the fall with Dean Murphy and others at the School about an appropriate process for identifying new leadership.


Strategic expansion of the School’s academic programs

Upon becoming Dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE), Murphy initiated major reviews of programs including Learning Technologies, International Education, Learning and Teaching, and the School’s master’s degree program. These resulted in the establishment of seven new programs: Arts in Education (1996), Technology in Education (1997), Higher Education (1997), International Education (1998), Mind, Brain, and Education (1999), School Leadership (1999), and Gender Studies (2000).

Support for the next generation of education researchers With funding from the Spencer Foundation, Murphy dramatically increased support for doctoral students focusing on research. Since 1995, GSE has awarded merit-based fellowships, funded student research projects, and hosted an annual student research conference.

Partnerships with local schools

The Office of School Partnerships, established by Murphy in 1996, supports GSE’s work with Massachusetts public schools. The office developed an intensive ongoing professional development program for the Boston Public Schools, funded by FleetBoston Financial Corporation in 1997.

Major initiatives addressing diversity

After commissioning a report examining diversity in the classroom, Murphy created the Standing Committee on Diversity in 1997, instituted faculty seminars to assist with teaching practices and curricula development, created the Diversity Innovation Fund to support student-initiated ideas, hosted several student retreats, and sponsored schoolwide workshops.

Record-breaking capital campaign

Murphy led GSE’s $111 million capital campaign, the largest sum ever raised by a school of education. Achievements include the endowment of 16 professorships, thus tripling the School’s number of named faculty chairs, and earmarking more than $11 million in gifts for financial aid.

Chair honors Murphy

In September 1999, President Neil L. Rudenstine announced that Murphy would be the inaugural holder of the new Harold Howe II Professorship of Education. Funded without Murphy’s knowledge, the chair will be renamed the Jerome T. Murphy Professorship of Education upon Murphy’s retirement from the Harvard faculty.