John J. McCarthy was appointed Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School in 2012. Dean McCarthy is a Distinguished University Professor and was formerly Special Assistant to the Provost and Head of the Department of Linguistics .
Dean McCarthy is a native of Medford, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard in 1975 with a BA in linguistics and Near Eastern languages, and he received his PhD in linguistics from MIT in 1979. After stints at UT Austin and AT&T Bell Labs, he joined the UMass Amherst Linguistics Department as an associate professor in 1985. He was promoted to the rank of professor in 1989 and distinguished professor in 2005. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. He received the Chancellor's Medal in 2004, the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity in 2005, and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009.
Dean McCarthy is a specialist in the fields of phonology and morphology, the study of the structure of sounds and words in human language. He is the author or editor of 10 books and over 100 shorter works . His current NSF grant, with co-PI Joe Pater, is entitled Investigations in Optimality Theory: Typology, Learning, and Modeling .
Dean McCarthy has chaired more than 25 doctoral dissertation committees and served on about 50 others. In 2009, his former doctoral students presented him with a Festschrift entitled Phonological Argumentation: Essays on Evidence and Motivation.