Senior Administrative Appointment

deniseTo the Williams Community,

I am happy to report that, after helpful consultation with the Faculty Steering Committee, I have asked Denise Buell, associate dean of the faculty and professor of religion, to serve as dean of the faculty, and she has accepted. She will succeed Peter Murphy beginning July 1, 2014.

Denise brings to the position a range of deeply relevant experience.

In addition to her seven years as department chair, she’s served on many of the college’s standing committees, including the Committee on Appointments and Promotions and the Faculty Steering Committee, the latter as chair. She was also an important contributor to the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Relations Between Programs and Departments. This fall, as associate dean of the faculty, she’s tackled a wide variety of projects, including furthering the work of the ad hoc committee, chairing a taskforce on long-range faculty planning, and establishing, with Karen Swann, associate dean for institutional diversity and professor of English, a program of drop-in lunches with the associate deans.

This work has drawn on her experience as a teacher and scholar. Her research, which includes two books (Making Christians and Why This New Race), have advanced our understanding of the origins of Christianity, especially in relation to race, ethnicity, and intra-Christian polemics. This fall, she was the keynote speaker at a symposium on “Ethnicity in the Bible” at the Annual Meeting of the Swedish Exegetical Society.

In this new position, she’ll be building on the effective work over the previous three years of Peter Murphy. Our deep thanks go to them both and to the Steering Committee for its thoughtful counsel.


Adam Falk