Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles yesterday announced the appointments of Professor of English Lawrence Buell as dean of undergraduate education and of Mason Professor of Music Christoph J. Wolff as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Both Buel and Wolff, who will take over for dean David Pilbeam and dean Brendan A. Maher respectively, will start their new jobs in July. The two posts are three year appointments which may be renewed, Knowles said in an interview yesterday.
Knowles, a biochemist, said that although the scholars' academic fields were not critical to their appointments, he is pleased that humanists will fill the two posts.
"I am glad there is academic complementarity," Knowles said.
Knowles said that when considering candidates to replace Pilbeam, he sought "somebody who was intellectually broad--sympathetic to and knowledgeable about subjects from astronomy through Romance languages and from sociology to zoology."
Buell, who specializes in 19th century American literature, "can cover the spectrum," Knowles said.
Buell came to Harvard only two years ago after more than 20 years at Oberlin College, where he served as dean of admissions, chair of the English Department, and chief officer of an Oberlin-based foundation that exchanges with Asian institutions.
His extensive administrative experience at Oberlin prepared him well for his upcoming role, Buell said.
Knowles said that although Buell joined the English Department relatively recently, he "already had shown real leadership in the faculty."
Buell will serve on the Educational Policy Committee, a new body formed and chaired by Knowles and charged with reviewing the undergraduate curriculum.
"It seems to me that we are surely going to improve our overall educational program by ... having some sort of oversight body that is predominantly faculty," Buell said.
Buell said he plans to continue teaching undergraduates after he assumes the deanship.
Wolff, a scholar of Bach who currently teaches a course on Baroque music, has been at Harvard for 16 years and served as chair of the Music Department from 1980 to 1988.
He also worked as acting chair of the department and as acting director of the University library in 1991.
As acting director while pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53 was on leave, Wolff played a major role in helping to analyze the University library system, Knowles said.