While Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby announced yesterday that Lewis will step down at the end of this academic year as part of an effort to reorganize the College’s administration, Lewis said the move comes as a surprise.
“I learned in the past two weeks that the dean of the Faculty had decided to reorganize,” Lewis said. “That was unexpected.”
“I had hoped to stay until the quadricentennial , but things don’t work out as you hope,” Lewis quipped.
Kirby said the change is part of an administrative reshuffling that aims to integrate the Office of the Dean of Harvard College—which oversees the student experience outside the classroom—and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education, currently headed by Benedict H. Gross ’71.
“This possibility has been studied for a number of years,” Kirby said in an interview yesterday. “This change will try to address the artificial separation of our support of the academic and non-academic lives of our students.”
“We will be consulting broadly with students, faculty and staff as we proceed,” Kirby said in a press release.
Kirby said the potential reorganization has been on his mind since shortly after he arrived as dean last summer.
But his plan to act on the idea was not public knowledge until yesterday.
Robert P. Kirshner, Quincy House master and a member of the Faculty Council, said he only heard of Lewis’ impending departure Sunday night.
“There was no hint that he was going to be leaving,” Kirshner said.
Department chairs were informed of the restructuring this morning.
The move, Kirby said, makes sense in the context of the ongoing review of the undergraduate curriculum.
A committee headed by Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Nancy Maull will hammer out the details of the merger of Gross and Lewis’ offices.
Gross, who was appointed by Kirby just last summer, said today that he will remain as a leader of the ongoing curricular review. He said he is unsure whether he will assume a new combined deanship.
Lewis, on the other hand, is out.