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Karla Murdock Named Next Director of the Mudd Center for Ethics Karla Klein Murdock, professor of cognitive and behavioral science at Washington and Lee University, has been named the next Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and director of the university’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.

Karla-Murdock-photo-August-2020-scaled-342x350 Karla Murdock Named Next Director of the Mudd Center for EthicsKarla Klein Murdock

Karla Klein Murdock, professor of cognitive and behavioral science at Washington and Lee University, has been named the next Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and director of the university’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.

W&L Interim Provost Elizabeth Oliver announced Murdock’s appointment, which is effective July 1, 2021. She succeeds Brian Murchison, who will conclude his three-year appointment and return to the law faculty at the end of this academic year.

“I am delighted that Karla has agreed to serve as the next director of the Mudd Center,” said Oliver. “Over the course of her career at W&L, she has demonstrated a sincere interest in the interdisciplinary study of contemporary topics through her leadership of our popular ‘Questioning’ series and participation in Mudd Center events. She will be a wonderful asset to the center as it continues to explore important ethical issues in the years to come.”

The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. The center is committed to fostering serious and thoughtful conversation about important ethical issues in public and professional life. In addition to an annual yearlong speaker series, the center publishes The Mudd Journal of Ethics, a peer-reviewed academic journal of undergraduate work on a wide range of topics, and sponsors an undergraduate ethics conference.

Murdock came to Washington and Lee in 2005 as an associate professor of psychology. She became a core faculty member in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability in 2013 and served as head of the Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science from 2015-19. In 2018 she was appointed as an inaugural faculty fellow in the Office of Community-Based Learning.

She received her B.A. in psychology with minors in sociology and classical studies from Indiana University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia.  Prior to joining the faculty at W&L, she was associate professor of psychology in the University of Massachusetts Boston Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program.

Murdock’s technology and health research lab investigates the implications of cellphone use for emerging adults’ sleep quality and psychological functioning. In collaboration with cognitive psychologist Wythe Whiting and students in the cognition in context lab, she examines the developmentally specific effects of cellphone-related auditory stimuli on cognitive performance. Murdock’s W&L teaching portfolio has included courses in clinical psychology, developmental psychopathology, research design and analysis, applications of cognitive and behavioral science, and positive psychology. She is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, and the Journal of Adolescence.

She was on the organizing committees for Questioning the Good Life, Questioning Passion and Questioning Intimacy, three year-long seminar series devoted to the transdisciplinary study of contemporary topics, and was a guest lecturer in the Mudd Center’s 2019-20 series on the Ethics of Technology, presenting her work on “The New Appendage: Cellphones in Cognitive and Behavioral Context,” with co-investigator Wythe Whiting.

She currently serves on the President’s Advisory Committee, as chair of the Provost Search Committee and as a Department Head Mentor. Her past service to W&L includes a term as faculty representative to the Board of Trustees and membership on the University Strategic Planning Steering Committee, as well as the Student Affairs Committee, the Faculty Review Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee and the Community Engagement/Service Learning Advisory Committee, among other appointments.

“The Mudd Center challenges us to confront big-picture questions that could be easily overlooked in lives that tend to focus on producing and achieving,” said Murdock. “It provides a safe and stimulating intellectual space that also nudges us outside of our comfort zones. Best of all, the Mudd Center supplies opportunities for us to benefit from serendipitous crossed paths and cross-pollinated ideas as we move among students, faculty and staff from all corners of the university. Brian Murchison and his predecessor Angie Smith have created fertile soil for our growth as thinkers and citizens, and I can’t wait to do my part to nurture the Mudd Center’s mission.”