The search for a new assistant provost for information systems has begun, according to Albert Carnesale, University provost, who discussed the newly-created position in an interview yesterday.
The new assistant provost will oversee the activities of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Administrative Data Project after they are combined and moved into the Provost's office.
"The driving force behind this is to prepare for the transition of the Administrative Data Project from being a planning exercise toward actual implementation," Carnesale said. "This will be a sizable investment over several years to modernize and transform Harvard's management information systems."
The Administrative Data Project, created in 1993, is aimed at streamlining the data systems used by the University to process information.
"This is going to be a major change." Carnesale said. "This will truly modernize Harvard's manage ment information so I get everything from the financial systems to human resources systems to electronic communication systems."
Carnesale also said that he "does not anticipate any changes" to the health benefits package scheduled to take effect for all Harvard staff on January 1.
Leaders of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) have repeatedly assured members that they can expect some changes in the benefits package before it takes effect.
"I don't understand that," Carnesale said of the HUCTW statements, adding that he does not foresee a re-opening of health plan enrollment. "It is now December, and these plans are effective January 1."
"No representative of the [Joint Committee on Benefits] has even implied to me that any such thing is forthcoming. I find it hard to imagine how someone could make a change that would be effective January 1," he added.
Carnesale had little to say about recent calls from students for University divestiture from Nigeria but said the issue will likely come up in a meeting of the Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.
"Unless it would be true that no one on the advisory committee thinks that this is an issue worth discussing, which is unlikely, it would be discussed," he said.
Carnesale said he was "quite optimistic" about the progress of the five year University Campaign, especially in the wake of a booming stock market. He said he expected "substantial giving at the end of the year." The current short term goal is to reach the midway point of the $2.1 billion campaign by January.
University administrators have made many trips to Washington this year in an attempt to protect federal funding of student loans and research. Carnesale said that in the coming years, the University will have to make an even greater effort to protect its funding.
"We have to be able to defend programs and be willing to absorb some of the hits." Carnesale said "I believe these pressures will increase."
Lastly, Carnesale says he expects a very smooth transfer of the reins of the Kennedy School from himself to Joseph S. Nye, who will assume the deanship in January