Cora Bagley Marrett Named New Provost at UMass Amherst Effective Aug. 1

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Chancellor David K. Scott has recommended the appointment of Cora Bagley Marrett, professor of sociology and Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMass, effective Aug. 1.

Her appointment, the culmination of a nationwide search, has also received the approval of UMass President William Bulger.

"I have been privileged to work with Cora Marrett in a variety of forums over the last eight years," said Chancellor Scott, "and have long admired her ideas and work in education, research, outreach, and policy. I can think of no one better suited intellectually, philosophically, and administratively to lead the academic enterprise in the age of knowledge that must lie ahead."

"I am very pleased to become part of an institution that envisions higher education as a place of dreams, of action, and of leadership," said Marrett. "I value the opportunity to engage with students, faculty and staff at the University of Massachusetts in advancing learning for the Commonwealth."

Marrett has been a member of the faculty in the departments of sociology and Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1974, serving as associate chairperson of sociology from 1988-91. Early in her tenure on the Madison campus, she completed a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California. From 1990-92, she directed the United Negro College Fund/Andrew Mellon Programs and from 1992-96, she was assistant director at the National Science Foundation, where she created and was the first person to lead the directorate of social, behavioral and economic sciences.

Prior to 1974, she taught at Western Michigan University, where she was nominated for a University Teaching Award, and at the University of North Carolina.

Marrett will also be appointed to a tenured full professorship at UMass.

Marrett’s numerous public service activities include membership on various committees of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress. She is active in many professional organizations and has published extensively in her field.

Marrett received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., in 1963, and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965 and 1968, respectively.

Patricia Crosson has served as interim provost since 1994. Chancellor Scott praised Crosson’s "excellent work through a complicated and difficult period in our history, which has positioned the institution in an ideal way for the years ahead."

After a sabbatical year, Crosson will return to the faculty of the department of educational policy, research and administration in the School of Education.