Courtney C. Coile Is Named Provost and Dean of Wellesley College

Courtney C. Coile
Image credit: Lisa Abitbol
Author  Stacey Schmeidel
Published on 

Wellesley, MA – Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson today 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.

Coile’s term will begin July 1, 2024.

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’s work has been widely published in academic journals, and she has co-authored three volumes, including one forthcoming, in the Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World series (University of Chicago Press). She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Population. Her work has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and PBS NewsHour. Coile also is co-author, with Wellesley economics professor Phillip Levine, of Reconsidering Retirement: How Losses and Layoffs Affect Older Workers (Brookings Institution Press, 2010).

In announcing Coile’s appointment as provost, Wellesley President Paula Johnson noted, “As a distinguished professor and an internationally recognized scholar on the economics of aging and health, 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 added, “Her service and leadership roles have given Courtney a deep understanding of the many aspects of our academic program and Wellesley College more broadly. She has had the opportunity to work with and learn from faculty and staff from across campus, and they appreciate her ability to listen, collaborate, and lead.”

Coile came to Wellesley as an assistant professor of economics in 2000 and rose to professor in 2014. During her Wellesley tenure she has earned an impressive reputation as an advisor and mentor to young women in the field of economics.

Coile also has a strong record of service to Wellesley College. She currently chairs the Department of Economics—a position she has held since 2021—and the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid. She has served as chair of the Agenda Committee and as a member of the Committee on Faculty Appointments, the Advisory Committee on Merit, the Budget Advisory Committee, the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy, and the Re-accreditation Steering Committee. She was also the inaugural director of the Knapp Social Science Center.

Coile holds an A.B. in economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT.

Coile commented, “I am honored to serve as the next provost and dean of Wellesley College and grateful for the trust President Johnson has placed in me. 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.”

In her new role, Coile will be the chief academic officer and second officer of the college, leading an expansive range of operations within the Office of the Provost and across the college. She will have overall responsibility for all aspects of academic life and will manage a wide range of academic-adjacent and non-academic departments and programs. She will work closely with the president, members of the president’s senior leadership team, and the faculty, and will have high visibility with trustees and alumnae, to advance Wellesley’s priorities.

Coile succeeds Andrew Shennan, who announced in September that he would be stepping down from the role after more than two decades in the dean’s office.