Faust Foresees 'Long and Successful Term'

President-elect Drew Gilpin Faust said in a phone interview this evening that Harvard has been reinvigorated during the tenure of Interim President Derek C. Bok, and that she is now ready to continue the University’s expansion into Allston and watch over the completion of the curricular review.

When asked how long she would stay in office, Faust said only that she hoped to have “a long and successful term,” noting Bok’s prediction at an earlier press conference that she would serve 30 or 40 years.

On the subject of her predecessor, Faust said that of all of former University President Lawrence H. Summers’ qualities, the one she wished she could emulate most were his “sharp analytic skills.”

“Larry has always been very good at identifying problems and analyzing problems,” she said. “He made me think harder and think better.”

But on the question differences between the genders, Faust sang a different tune than Summers.

“I think women have the aptitude to do anything, and that includes being president of Harvard,” she said.

Faust said that Bok had presided over a year of healing. She added that she was impressed by two recent committee reports to reform general education at the College and improve the quality of teaching.

“I think that the committee has made a real, concerted effort to address many of the issues that were raised by the Faculty in discussions during the fall,” Faust said in the nine-minute interview.

She added that she would “back off” in bringing the review to an end.

“It’s really the Faculty’s business,” she said.

The president-elect also praised the report by the Task Force on Teaching and Career Development, which examined pedagogy at Harvard and was led by the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Theda Skocpol. She said that “she was struck by the kind of imagination that is demonstrated in the report,” and that the notion of taking the quality of teaching into account in tenure and pay decisions would “encourage people to be the best teachers they can.”

Faust planned to meet with members of both the student and faculty advisory committees to the presidential search on Sunday night.

—Staff writer Paras D. Bhayani can be reached at pbhayani@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Claire M. Guehenno can be reached at guehenno@fas.harvard.edu.