College Road

Reports From Around Campus

Portrait of Courtney Coile

Photo by Lisa Abitbol

Photo by Lisa Abitbol

Coile Named Provost

In February, President Paula A. Johnson announced the appointment of Courtney C. Coile, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Economics at Wellesley, as the College’s next provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu ’56 Dean of the College, succeeding Andrew Shennan.

Coile is a distinguished teacher and an internationally recognized scholar on the economics of aging and health, with a particular focus on retirement and disability. She brings a global and interdisciplinary approach to her work, including in her roles at the National Bureau of Economic Research as co-director of both the Retirement and Disability Research Center and the International Social Security Project.

Coile currently chairs the department of economics and the committee on admission and financial aid. She has served on numerous other key College committees and was the inaugural director of the Knapp Social Science Center.

“Courtney brings impeccable academic credentials and an abiding commitment to providing an exceptional liberal arts education for women to her new role as provost and dean of the College,” Johnson said.

“In my 23 years on the faculty, I have seen firsthand the power of a Wellesley education, driven by our faculty’s exceptional teaching and scholarship and our students’ remarkable talent and ambition. I look forward to listening to and working collaboratively with the entire Wellesley College community as we advance the goal of inclusive excellence and prepare our students to be leaders and changemakers,” Coile said. Her term begins July 1, 2024.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty Unionize

In January, Wellesley non-tenure track (NTT) faculty voted to unionize and be represented by the Wellesley Organized Academic Workers (WOAW), affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The College’s approximately 120 NTT faculty include faculty on term appointments, instructors in science laboratories, and postdoctoral scholars. According to the College, they make particular contributions to teaching in the science laboratories and the writing and language programs. Erin Battat, lecturer in the writing program and a member of the WOAW-UAW organizing committee, said in a statement from the WOAW-UAW after the election that she was looking forward to negotiating a contract. “Together we’ll make Wellesley a better place to teach, learn, and grow,” Battat said.

“Throughout this process, we have supported our NTT faculty’s right to decide for themselves this critical question, and we respect their choice,” Andrew Shennan, provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu ’56 Dean of the College, wrote in a letter to Wellesley faculty and staff after the election. “We look forward to working productively with the WOAW-UAW leadership and laying the groundwork for future cooperation.”

KSC Construction 

The water will be fine—soon. Extensive renovations are underway at the Chandler Pool in the Keohane Sports Center. The facility is currently closed to allow replacement of the structure around the existing pool and to install a new HVAC and ventilation system. During the spring semester, Wellesley’s swimming and diving team practiced at Babson College and Dana Hall, and they concluded the season at the NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, N.C., where they competed in eight total events. Chandler Pool is expected to reopen with a splash in fall 2024.


Science Complex Honored

The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) selected the Wellesley College Science Complex as a 2023 award winner for built design excellence in the educational facilities category, which celebrates exemplary innovation, investment from committed clients, and the power of architecture to design buildings and spaces that transform communities. “We are very proud of the Wellesley community for their hard work not only for this incredible achievement, but for being awarded LEED Platinum in sustainable design,” Michelle Maheu, Wellesley’s director for planning, design, and construction, said in announcing the award. In its citation, the BSA wrote that the Science Complex was transformed into an “inviting, sustainable, and flexible village for STEM education. The project, originally built in the 1920s and expanded in the 1970s and 1990s, involved a careful mix of removal, renovation, and addition. It converts a dark, fortress-like complex that consumed more energy than any other campus structure into a bright, engaging place certified LEED Platinum.”


“You want to feel as an artist that you wield your powers well and for good and in a way that serves humanity.”

By the Numbers /
Clapp Library Renovation

boxes of books moved to off-site storage


items from Special Collections moved to the fifth floor of the Davis Museum


pounds of steel going into the new mechanical superstructure


Library and Technology Services staff members serving the College community from the modular buildings by the Science Complex

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