Sarolta Takacs Named Winthrop Senior Tutor

Following up on a promise to appoint more junior Faculty members as senior tutors, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy R. Knowles said yesterday he was "very pleased" that Sarolta A. Takacs, associate professor of classics, had been elevated to that position in Winthrop House.

In a letter to the members of their house dated Monday, Winthrop Masters Cynthia R. and Paul D. Hanson announced that the tenure of acting Senior Tutor Marina C. McCarthy would end after this year, with Takacs moving in this summer.

Takacs is currently on leave at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and was unavailable for comment.

In an effort to attract junior Faculty to the senior tutor position, Knowles last year extended the time limit for junior Faculty service for professors who also serve as senior tutors. Takacs, who has been at Harvard for three years, is the first to accept under this new policy.

"Dean Lewis and I have been eager to increase the involvement of the Faculty in the houses, and my decision to extend the 'clock' of a junior Faculty colleague who serves as a senior tutor was part of that," Knowles wrote in a fax.

He said that the time limit could be extended by up to two years, for a total of four years of service. Theoretically, Takacs will be employed half-time as a tutor during her term.

Margaret Bruzelius '74, senior tutor of Eliot House, chuckled as she explained the half-time nature of her job.

"We all laugh when we say that," said Bruzelius, also a lecturer on literature. "There are times when I'm beside myself I'm so busy, but that's true of everybody. But I'm sure [Takacs] is perfectly capable of doing both."

John P. Gerry, senior tutor of Quincy House and laboratory coordinator in the department of anthropology, said he would expect Takacs' jobs to conflict to some degree.

"It's difficult to balance a full-time Faculty appointment which becomes half-time with the senior tutor position," Gerry said. "But it's certainly not impossible, and it is the ideal the Dean is looking for."

Many professors use their years as junior Faculty to make a name with published research and teaching. Hanson said Takacs was interviewed extensively about the effect her appointment as tutor would have on her academic career.

"We quizzed her at length about this. You don't want to bring anyone in if it presents obstacles to their long-range career," Hanson said. "But she's the kind of person that loves to have a full plate as a work schedule goes and sees this position as invigorating."

Hanson said that historically senior tutors have been Faculty members, although Takacs will be unique as a full junior Faculty member.

"The joy she gets in teaching is not limited to the classroom but extends beyond," he said. "Living in the house is an expression of her desire for more contact with the students. She was a good match."

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said in an e-mail that Takacs had contacted him this winter after the Winthrop position was advertised and was selected after recommendations from Faculty colleagues and a personal interview