John J. McCarthy, senior vice provost for academic affairs, has been named acting provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy while Provost Katherine Newman transitions to a new role as senior vice president for academic affairs at the President’s Office in Boston. McCarthy’s appointment is effective immediately.
When Newman’s appointment becomes effective Jan. 1, said Subbaswamy, McCarthy will become interim provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and remain in that role until a permanent provost is named.
“John has been a part of UMass for 32 years, rising through the faculty ranks and assuming leadership roles ranging from department head, graduate school dean and chair of the Faculty Rules Committee,” said the chancellor. “As a result of his current position as senior vice provost, John is very familiar with all the initiatives, opportunities and challenges currently facing academic affairs. I am confident he will carry out the responsibilities of this office in an exemplary manner.”
“I am very grateful to the chancellor for the trust he has placed in me to lead academic affairs during this important time in our campus’s history,” said McCarthy. “I have spent nearly my entire academic career and well over half my life as a member of our community. During that time, I have witnessed much change, but I have never been as hopeful about the future of our institution as I am now.”
McCarthy, who was appointed senior vice provost two years ago, stepped down in May as dean of the Graduate School, a post he held since 2012. He also served as vice provost for graduate education from 2012-15, special assistant to the provost from 2011-12, and chair of the linguistics department from 2009-11 and 1993-96.
Last February, Subbaswamy appointed McCarthy to head a campus task force to coordinate responses to presidential executive orders and changes in federal policies that affect students and other members of the campus community.
In addition to the Rules Committee, he has chaired the Faculty Senate’s Budget Planning Task Force, Program and Budget Council and the General Education Council. He also co-chaired the Joint Task Force on Curriculum, Credits and Costs.
A member of the faculty since 1985, McCarthy is a Distinguished Professor in linguistics, where he specializes in the fields of phonology and morphology, the study of the structure of sounds and words in human language.
He is a recipient of several of the campus’s top honors including the Chancellor’s Medal, the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity and the Distinguished Teaching Award.
McCarthy is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Linguistic Society of America, Massachusetts Academy of Sciences and the Cognitive Science Society. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992.
He received his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his A.B. at Harvard University.