OCS, OIP To Merge Under Umbrella

The Office of Career Services and the Office of International Programs have reunited under an umbrella organization that also contains the newly created Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives, after nine years as separate entities.

The restructuring is part of a College-wide effort to improve efficiency within the administration, following a semester-long trial period of increased collaboration between the OIP and OCS.

Robin Mount, former interim director of OCS, was promoted to director of the new organization—the Office of Career, Research, and International Opportunities. Mount’s promotion was accompanied by Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay Harris’s announcement of the creation of the Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives—which will oversee the Harvard College Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE) and the undergraduate social sciences research initiative proposed by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds.

Mount will be responsible for overseeing all three organizations’ budgets. A leadership team comprised of current OCS and OIP administrators, as well as newly appointed Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives Director Greg Llacer, will help her coordinate activities among the three offices, she said.

The staff and the administrative structure will remain largely unchanged in the three offices—which are collectively responsible for helping students find research, international study, and employment opportunities.

From a student perspective, much will also appear the same, but the new administrative system will make the umbrella organization more efficient, Mount said.

The OIP has been traveling around campus since its inception in 2001.

The organization once dwelled in the “windowless basement of OCS,” according to an e-mail from former Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby. When Kirby removed the OIP from under the jurisdiction of OCS and placed it directly under the control of the Dean of Undergraduate Education, the OIP temporarily occupied Wadsworth Hall before moving to University Hall.

After leaving University Hall last summer, the nomadic office relocated yet again, this time to 2 Arrow St. In the fall, the OIP returned to Dunster St. across from OCS. Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives will occupy the third floor of OCS’s building.

Kirby wrote that at the time, he separated the OIP from OCS as part of a push to support increased international opportunities for undergraduates.

“There is no right or wrong bureaucratic structure. There are some useful overlaps (in internships) with what OCS and OIP do, and so a re-association can make sense,” Kirby wrote in an e-mail. “But the purpose of OIP has been above all academic: to expand the educational opportunities of Harvard students. Perhaps OIP has succeeded enough that it will thrive under any administrative structure.”

For her part, Hammonds said she thought that these changes would improve the quality of advising students received.

“It seemed to make sense to bring them all together so that students have a seamless experience with people who know about all the different kinds of fellowships, internships, and other opportunities. It made perfect sense to me that we put them back [together],” she said.

—Staff writer Jillian K. Kushner can be reached at kushner@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at newcomer@fas.harvard.edu.

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