Extension School Reviews Dated Name

After months of silence since an extensive discussion at the Oct. 6 Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting, the Harvard Extension School announced yesterday that it had not forgotten plans to change its name.

The Committee on Continuing Education had discussed the possibility of renaming the Extension School to the “Harvard School of Continuing and Professional Studies,” as it felt its century-old name did not adequately reflect its mission. The term, “Extension School,” may be dropped from degree names as well.

Though the Faculty decided to postpone the vote to approve the name change for the following meeting, the proposal did not make the agenda for the last few meetings.

Dean of Continuing Education and University Extension Michael Shinagel said in a statement yesterday that the University will continue to evaluate suggested name changes, but is not prepared to make a decision at this time.

“Any proposal to change the name of any Harvard school or the name of any degree awarded by the institution warrants thorough study and consideration,” Shinagel said.

Extension School spokesperson Linda A. Cross did not clarify the cause of the delay.

Faculty and administrators involved in earlier discussions said they were uncertain where the proposal currently stands.

Professor of Computer Science Harry R. Lewis ’68, who represented the committee at the Oct. meeting, said yesterday that he is not aware of any recent developments.

At the time, English professor Elaine Scarry voiced concerns that the proposed degree titles—“Bachelor of Liberal Arts” instead of “Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies,” for example—may be confused with degrees offered by the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Shinagel added that regardless of the eventual name, the school’s mission to provide students with a “first-class education” and, if they wish, a degree, has not changed.

“At the end of the day, it is what we do that matters most,” he said, “not what we are called.”

—Staff writer Noah S. Rayman can be reached at nrayman@fas.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: August 31, 2010

An earlier version of the Mar. 26 news article "Extension School Reviews Dated Name" incorrectly referred to the dean of continuing education and University extension as Michael J. Shinagel. In fact, he has no middle initial.

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