Photo of Mary Churchill

Mary L. Churchill

Associate Dean, Strategic Initiatives & Community Engagement
Program Director, Higher Education Administration
Professor of the Practice

Dr. Mary L. Churchill is associate dean of strategic initiatives & community engagement at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, where she is responsible for leading the college’s strategic initiatives. In addition, Dr. Churchill directs the Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement Office, which sets the strategic direction for the college’s community engagement and advocacy work.

In 2021, Dr. Churchill took a public service leave to serve as the chief of policy and planning for Mayor Kim Janey in Boston where she managed college and university relationships for the mayor, supported the launch of the mayor’s Children’s and Youth Cabinet, and coordinated the implementation of a city-wide COVID-19 mask mandate. Before her time at Boston University, Dr. Churchill served as vice president for academic affairs at Wheelock College, where she helped lead the merger of Wheelock College and Boston University and before that, she served as associate provost and dean at Salem State University. She has held leadership roles in universities and colleges in the Northeast for over 30 years. These include positions at Northeastern University, Queens College CUNY, Bentley College, and Emmanuel College.

Dr. Churchill is an international voice for social justice and change management within higher education. She is the creator and editor of Higher Ed Policy and University of Venus at Inside Higher Ed and has written over 100 op-eds and blog posts published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Guardian (UK), the Conversation, CommonWealth magazine, and the Washington Post. Dr. Churchill is a strong advocate for social justice and equity in education. She serves on a number of local and national boards, including the Women’s Network Executive Council at the American Council on Education, Benjamin’s Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology board of trustees, the EMPath program committee, and Boston Public School’s Universal Pre-K Advisory Board. Internationally, she has worked extensively with government and university partners and has received several Fulbright awards.

PhD, Sociology, Northeastern University

MA, Philosophy, Northeastern University

BS, Psychology, Michigan State University

When Colleges Close: Leading in a Time of Crisis
Mary L. Churchill and David J. Chard
2021. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore.

Links to online publication locations:


The Conversation:

Inside Higher Ed:

Advancing Women Leaders Through Advocacy and Policy (American Council on Education)

Community-Engaged Work with Boston Public Schools

Finishing: Designing a Writing Habit