Yale President Richard Levin has named Thomas Duffy, deputy dean of the School of Music and director of University bands, as the acting dean of the school for the 2005-2006 academic year.

Duffy will serve as acting dean while the administration searches for a replacement for outgoing dean Robert Blocker, who is leaving Yale this summer to become provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

A longtime fixture at the Music School, Duffy said he is excited to return to campus after a year-long leave from Yale.

“I am honored to have been asked to fill this position,” Duffy wrote in an e-mail. “I hope to be able to provide what is needed to present the next dean with a school that is in great shape.”

Duffy has been credited with helping raise money for the recent renovations of Sprague Hall and Leigh Hall as well as recruiting new faculty to the school. Levin said he selected Duffy after consulting with the school’s faculty.

“Of course I knew Tom Duffy had been a very valuable contributor to the school as deputy dean,” Levin said. “I think he’ll do an excellent job. He’s a very fine administrator, very fair-minded and very well-liked.”

Levin said he hopes to tap a permanent dean sometime in the next academic year.

“I’m trying to get a search committee together,” Levin said. “We will begin the search soon; it will be international.”

Blocker said that while he had not been a part of the decision to appoint Duffy, he was confident in Duffy’s ability to lead the Music School.

“His administrative leadership is admired and respected,” Blocker wrote in an e-mail. “He will do an excellent job in this capacity.”

Duffy, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in musical composition from the University of Connecticut, pointed to his past administrative duties at Yale as preparation for him to assume the responsibilities of the deanship. He has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1982 and said his time as the director of University Bands has taught him about running a large, multifaceted organization.

“The kind of multi-tasking skills that one needs to conduct, direct, manage, tour and fund-raise all seem to have applications in my new position,” he wrote.

Duffy said he was recently elected as the vice president of the College Band Directors National Association and would miss the Yale bands after 23 years of directing them. During his years at Yale, Duffy has also served as chair of the Special Programs in the Arts and as a resident fellow of Pierson College.

First as associate dean and more recently as deputy dean for the past five years, Duffy said he has become familiar with the Music School’s administration.

“I have been party to almost every aspect of running the school,” he wrote.

Duffy will have to step down from his position as director of the Yale Bands next year, but his students say they believe his abilities will be put to good use as interim dean.

“I think he knows what the job has in store,” Yale Bands President Michael Chan ’06 said. “He’s a great conductor, but he also knows how to manage things.”

Concert Band musician Michael Casserly ’05 agreed, saying that he thinks Duffy will do a “wonderful job.”

“He always manages to balance his dean duties with his band duties,” Casserly said.

Casserly said that the bands’ leaders are currently trying to determine who will direct the bands in Duffy’s stead.