Lewis Kicks Off Winthrop Master Search
Three weeks after Hanson announced he would leave his post, Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 and Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67 kicked off the hunt for a new master in a meeting with student residents last night in the Winthrop Junior Common Room.
The group discussed the general process for the selection before brainstorming names of faculty members for a long list from which the shorter list of candidates will be selected.
After this initial meeting, Senior Tutor Courtney Lamberth will select four students to serve on the student advisory committee that will conduct the remainder of the search.
But Lewis said he will have to explore a more closed search process if The Crimson does not promise to not print the names of the candidates.
He said if the names of candidates may be published, professors might be deterred from seeking the job.
“Some of the most difficult conversations I have are to call them and tell them, ‘Thank you so much but we’ve selected Joe Blow to be master,’” Lewis said. “If that kind of winners and losers conversation got exposure, a lot of people would probably not allow themselves to be part of the process.”
Lewis said he does not know what more closed, alternative selection process he would choose.
If the current procedure continues, Lamberth said she will select the four students to serve on the committee within the next week.
“I’d like it to represent the diversity of perspectives in the House,” Lamberth said. “I really want the students to take the process seriously. You really have to be invested in the House and the process.”
She has already selected three tutors and one Senior Common Room (SCR) member to serve on the committee.
The tutors are Anita M. Bowles, G. Stuart Mendenhall and Brian L. Martin. The SCR member is Mangelsdorf Professor of Natural Sciences J. Woodland Hastings.
Lamberth said she hopes to convene the advisory committee before Thanksgiving.
The advisory committee will invite a short list of faculty members for interviews at the House. The advisory committee will then give Lewis and Dingman their suggestions.
University President Lawrence H. Summers, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences William C. Kirby and Lewis will make the final selection.
Lewis said the only quality he considers necessary for the candidates to possess is “a genuine and natural liking of undergraduates and a desire to engage with undergraduates and respect undergraduates.”
Lewis said the student advisory committee should look for tenured professors who are neither at the beginning nor end of their tenured career.
“We want professors who have full lives at Harvard without being masters,” Lewis said.
Lewis said this is also the only appointment at Harvard where it is appropriate to ask a job candidate about his or her spouse.
The search process begins with a long list of names of tenured faculty members from past searches and suggestions from students, tutors and the current masters.
In the past, some students and faculty have criticized Lewis for the lack of racial diversity among House masters.
“We’re very interested in getting names of persons of color,” Lewis said.
He said the dean’s office will provide the student advisory committee with a list of all tenured faculty members of color.
—Staff writer Anne K. Kofol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.