Dr. James C. Murdoch Appointed New Dean Of School of Social Sciences at UTD
11-Year Veteran of University is Director of The Bruton Center

Dr. James C. Murdoch, a longtime scholar, educator and administrator at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has been appointed dean of the university’s School of Social Sciences, replacing Dr. Rita Mae Kelly, who died on Oct. 14.

Murdoch joined UTD in 1990 as an associate professor of economics and political economy. In 1995, he served as a senior fellow in the Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society at UTD. The following year, he became professor of economics and political economy in the university’s School of Social Sciences, a position he still holds today. Murdoch served as associate dean and college master of the School of Social Sciences from 1996 to 1999, when he was appointed director of the school’s Bruton Center for Development Studies. The internationally known center conducts basic and applied research on the trends, forces and public policies that pertain to urban and regional development.

In addition to performing his responsibilities as dean, Murdoch will continue to head the Bruton Center until a replacement is found, university officials said.

“Jim Murdoch is a widely recognized scholar, noted both for the breadth and depth of his research,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, UTD executive vice president and provost. “He is also highly valued by his faculty peers and university administration as a colleague deeply dedicated to the welfare of the entire university community.”

Prior to joining UTD, Murdoch held various teaching and administrative positions at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama and, before that, at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, Louisiana.

He earned a B.S. degree in economics from Grand Valley State College in Allendale, Mich., and a Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Murdoch has authored or co-authored numerous articles in the areas of environmental economics, public economics and defense economics in many prestigious scholarly journals. His current research includes the application of spatial analysis to the study of air pollution and the spatial effects of civil wars on economic growth. His work on the health effects of air pollution has led to grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while the civil wars research is funded by the World Bank.

UTD’s School of Social Sciences offers students an opportunity to study and research people – individually and in groups – and to test ideas about social, political and economic institutions. The school offers undergraduate degrees in six areas of study: crime and justice studies, economics and finance, government and politics, public administration, sociology and geography. Graduate-level degree programs lead to master’s degrees in applied sociology, public affairs, applied economics and geographic information sciences, as well as a doctoral degree in political economy.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].