President James McCarthy: A Suffolk University Town Hall
Recorded on: Tuesday, February 7
July 9, 2012
I am pleased to announce that Michael J. Bell, who served as the interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Merrimack College for three years, has been appointed interim provost of Suffolk University, effective today.
Michael will serve while the University conducts a provost search. We expect to have a provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs in place by the end of spring semester 2013. I look forward to working closely with Michael in the meantime as he assumes the duties of chief academic officer, responsible for all academic and student services units.
Faculty from all three schools interviewed three candidates for the interim provost's position. When faculty and academic leaders convened to discuss the candidates, a clear and strong consensus emerged in support of Michael Bell's appointment.
As interim provost at Merrimack, Michael reorganized the divisional structure of the college, helped the faculty revise its governance system and its Faculty Handbook, and restored a collaborative relationship between faculty and administration following a time of turmoil. He was senior administrative fellow at Merrimack College before joining Suffolk University.
Michael also has served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Franklin Pierce University, where he worked on the transition from college to university status, and as vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill., where he also was a professor of English. Before he became a higher education administrator, Michael was chair of the Department of American Studies at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and a member of the College faculty in the Departments of American Studies and Anthropology. He was executive director of the Iowa Jewish Heritage Project for the State Historical Society of Iowa. He also was a member of the English Department faculty at the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit,
Michael holds a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The World From Brown's Lounge, an ethnography of black middle-class play; co-editor of Faithful Witness: Essays in Honor of Ronald Goetz; and has published essays and done research in the areas of African-American folklore, American labor lore, American Jewish culture, popular culture, performance studies, critical theory, historic preservation and the history of folklore scholarship.
Chief of staff
Jennifer C. Murray also joined the University this month as chief of staff in the President's Office. In this new position, Jen will be rresponsible for carrying out the operational responsibilities of the Office of the President. She will support me in leading an effective senior management team and will coordinate with the entire University on matters related to the President's Office.
Jen is extremely well qualified to serve as a senior utility player. She joins Suffolk University with more than 25 years of experience as a senior adviser to three university presidents, CEOs of multi-national corporations and a former New Hampshire governor. During her career she has held leadership positions at the University of New Hampshire, Cone Communications, Converse Inc., New Balance, Fidelity and RYKÄ's Another Chance Foundation. Jen also served as press secretary to former New Hampshire Governor Hugh J. Gallen.
She has worked closely with boards of trustees and boards of directors, led search committees, and organized presidential and gubernatorial debates. She also has facilitated strategic planning initiatives in both the public and private sectors.
Office relocation and contact information
Michael is moving into what had been the president's office on the 13th floor of the Stahl Center. His telephone extension is 8120, and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will find Jen and me down the hall in the new president's office, which formerly was the provost's office. Jen's extension is 1911, and her email is email@example.com
Please join me in welcoming Michael and Jen to Suffolk University
James McCarthy, President
Dear Suffolk University Students,
As we begin a new academic year together, I wanted to extend a warm welcome both to new students and to those of you returning to Suffolk. I hope you had a great summer and were able to read a book or two, rest a bit, and recharge your batteries.
You were on our minds during a busy summer here at Suffolk, and I thought you would find it interesting to hear some highlights of what we have in store for you this year:
We understand that college life can be challenging and often stressful. That’s why I want to emphasize that all of us—administration, faculty, staff—are focused on ensuring that you have everything you might need to take care of yourselves.
One very important change is that students now have 24/7 on-call coverage for mental health concerns so that you are better served in the evening and on weekends. We want to make sure you have the support you need when you need it. The Counseling Center now is joined with Health and Wellness Services, and we are in the process of creating a more integrated model of mental health and health and wellness services. Our goal is for our on-campus unit to serve as a source of referral for any specialized services you may need.
We are fine-tuning the commencement schedule this year to address a number of needs, most importantly the desire among graduating students for more tickets for family and guests.
There have been occasions when most undergraduates who received degrees had access to only three tickets each. As a result, some of the first emails I received when I arrived in February were from graduating students and parents asking if we could accommodate more family members and friends at commencement ceremonies. That wasn’t always possible in the past, but this year we will hold separate ceremonies for the Sawyer Business School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Law School, all at the Bank of America Pavilion. Ceremonies for the graduate programs will no longer be held separately from their respective schools.
You may have noticed bits and pieces of our new University brand already. Everything from our logo to the language we use in our communications has been revisited and revised. In fact, you can see the new University imagery at the top of this website. It includes updated typography and a dynamic new flame-and-shield symbol.
The flame is a direct reference to the torch in our university seal and symbolizes upward movement, energy, and the light that knowledge provides. The shield symbolizes our academic strength. It’s one exciting step in being able to tell our story in a more cohesive way, and there is more to come.
Once again, welcome to Suffolk. There’s plenty to learn – in class and beyond – and fun to be had in the city and on campus. I’m very excited about the upcoming year; I hope you are too.
Have a great fall!
As we start another academic year, I wanted to take a moment to welcome everyone back. I have enjoyed meeting with many of you already this month and look forward to talking with many more of you as the year progresses.
It was a busy summer at Suffolk, and I want to pass along some news on things we’ve been doing and introduce you to some new people.
We are fine-tuning the commencement schedule this year to address a number of needs, including the demand for more tickets for graduating students’ guests. Some of the first emails I received after I was appointed, even before I arrived in February, were from graduating students and parents asking if we could accommodate more family members and friends at commencement ceremonies. That wasn’t always possible in the past, given limited venue options in Boston and our commencement structure.
This year, though, we will hold separate ceremonies for the Sawyer Business School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Law School, all at the Bank of America Pavilion. Ceremonies for the graduate programs will no longer be held separately from their respective schools. With this schedule, each graduating student will be able to receive at least five tickets for family and friends, and some will be able to request a sixth ticket. We hope this will make it possible for students to celebrate their achievements with all their family and close friends.
In July I asked a task force of senior administrators to review all options to enhance counseling and mental health services available to our students. The task force spent the summer researching the best ways we can provide ready access to quality and comprehensive care. As a result, we are strengthening our existing programs and making some changes to better support students – personally as well as academically.
We are devoted to the total wellness of our students, and we are committed to strengthening programs that will support that wellness. Faculty, staff, and fellow students have a collective responsibility in this regard.
I am pleased to be working with three new members of the administrative team, who are with us on an interim basis: As I mentioned in an email this summer, Michael J. Bell is serving as the interim provost while we conduct a nationwide search. Mary Pat Wohlford is interim director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Robert Sabal, a 2012-13 American Council on Education Fellow, is visiting us this year from Emerson College.
Many of you already have met Michael, who joined Suffolk in July as interim provost after serving in a similar position at Merrimack College. We expect to have a provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs in place by the end of spring semester 2013. In the meantime, Michael has assumed the duties of chief academic officer, responsible for all academic and student services units.
With the beginning of the academic year, Mary Pat Wohlford became interim director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. She had been executive vice president for research and institutional effectiveness and professor of Health Policy and Management at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. I look forward to working with Mary Pat as she develops Suffolk’s organizational infrastructure to further support research activities and research centers.
We also welcome visiting fellow Robert Sabal, associate professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, who requested that our university host him for a mentorship experience geared to academics transitioning into higher education leadership. He will work closely with Vice President Danielle Manning, Interim Provost Bell, and me on a variety of projects. The University believes in “learning by doing” not only for students, but also for leaders, so Rob will be engaged in important projects such as implementation of the strategic plan.
Beginning this fall and for the rest of the academic year, I will be holding simple, weekly breakfast gatherings on campus with faculty and staff to meet as many of you as possible and to hear from you directly about what we can do to make Suffolk a better place for those who work here, as well as for those who study here. We will be randomly scrambling names for invitations, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at one of these events. These will be continued next year to ensure we reach everyone. Stay tuned for further details.
It’s been gratifying to see the great enthusiasm among faculty, administrators and staff as we begin anew. My wish for you is that the coming year will be intellectually stimulating and academically rewarding as we all work together for the benefit of our students and the University as a whole.
It’s been gratifying to see the great enthusiasm among faculty, administrators, and staff as we begin anew. My wish for you is that the coming year will be intellectually stimulating and academically rewarding as we all work together for the benefit of our students and the University as a whole.