Joseph F. Murphy is the Frank W. Mayborn Chair and associate dean at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. He has also been a faculty member at the University of Illinois and The Ohio State University, where he was the William Ray Flesher Professor of Education. In the public schools, he has served as an administrator at the school, district, and state levels, including an appointment as the executive assistant to the chief deputy superintendent of public instruction in California. His most recent appointment was as the founding president of the Ohio Principals Leadership Academy. At the university level, he has served as department chair and associate dean.
He is past vice president of the American Educational Research Association and was the founding chair of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). He is co-editor of the AERA Handbook on Educational Administration (1999) and editor of the National Society for the Study of Education (NSSE) yearbook, The Educational Leadership Challenge (2002).
His work is in the area of school improvement, with special emphasis on leadership and policy. He has authored or co-authored 18 books in this area and edited another 12. His most recent authored volumes include Understanding and Assessing the Charter School Movement (2002), Leadership for Literacy: Research-Based Practice, PreK-3 (2003), Connecting Teacher Leadership and School Improvement (2005), Preparing School Leaders: Defining a Research and Action Agenda (2006), and Turning Around Failing Schools: Lessons From the Organizational Sciences.