Dean Search in Limbo, Timetable Still Unclear

The Long Haul

Henry Rosovsky--Corporation member, professor and now acting dean of the Faculty--may have agreed to take on a one-year appointment in University Hall, but he's admittedly got one foot out the door.

"I am going to be in this job for a year," Rosovsky says. "I do not think it will be longer."

Amid promises of a short-term appointment, Rosovsky agreed to return to his old post after A. Michael Spence, then-dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), suddenly announced plans to resign in April.

But only months later, President Derek C. Bok also announced his plans for departure next June, leaving the occupancy of Harvard's two highest posts uncertain for the near future.

Given the time that finding a new president will probably take, some administrators say Bok's resignation will probably delay the choice of a new FAS dean, a decision administrators had once hoped to make by December 1990.

Although Bok has pledged to pare down a short list of dean candidates to offer his successor, observers say a new Harvard president is likely to re-open a larger search for Spence's permanent replacement.

Bok promptly appointed a faculty advisory committee in April, soon after Spence announced his plans to become dean of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business this fall.

That committee includes Bernard Bailyn, Adams university professor; Roderick MacFarquhar, Williams professor of history; George M. White-sides, Mallinckrodt professor of chemistry; Helen Vendler, Porter university professor; Jurij Striedter, Reisinger professor of Slavic languages and literatures; and Edward O. Wilson, Baird professor of science.

"He hopes to develop a short list with the advice of this group and his intention is to provide the president-elect with that list," Rosovsky says of Bok's plans.

But the administrative commotion surrounding Bok's resignation has led some to question how important the advisory committee will be. Harvard officials said last week that the six-member advisory committee has not met since Bok's sudden announcement in June.