As the Faculty of Arts and Sciences begins to recover from the recent economic downturn, faculty searches in a number of Social Sciences departments are increasing, allowing the departments to hire junior faculty and fill positions vacated by retiring faculty members.
While several department chairs continued to emphasize that the school is suffering financial woes, these administrators said they view the upward trend in searches as an opportunity to restore pre-crisis faculty sizes.
“We’re still in straitened circumstances—it’s not a boom,” said Economics Department Chair John Y. Campbell. “But our department lost a number of junior faculty members last year ... and, fortunately, FAS has said we can replenish it.”
After FAS Dean Michael D. Smith announced a freeze on the majority of searches in 2008—and the school offered a retirement package for tenured professors in FAS the following year—faculty growth stagnated.
This September, Smith announced that the FAS budget deficit had been reduced from $35 million to $16 million over the 2011 fiscal year, meaning that more resources could be devoted towards searches.
With 43 searches authorized across FAS this year—a sizable increase from the 34 conducted in 2010 and 24 conducted in 2009—Dean for Faculty Affairs and Planning Nina Zipser said the current level of searches was sufficient “to maintain the strength of each division.”
The History department was one of the hardest-hit by faculty attrition. The number of tenured and tenure-track History professors has decreased from 57 in 2006 to 47 in 2010.
Today, the department is in the process of conducting five faculty searches, including two searches for Latin American historians, one for a modern Chinese historian, a joint search with History and Literature for a historian of ethnicity and immigration to the United States, and a joint search with the Department of African and African-American studies.
Retirement and faculty attrition have also taken their toll on the Anthropology department, according to Chair Theodore C. Bestor.
“The size of the faculty of anthropology has not grown very much over the past decade, and in fact, we’ve had a number of people who retired or left for other jobs and were not replaced,” Bestor said.
As FAS fast-tracked the promotion of junior faculty members in the past several years in order to maintain the number of tenured professors, many departments—including Economics, History, and Social Studies—saw a decline in the number of assistant and associate professors.
According to Campbell, while the Economics department would sometimes directly search for senior faculty members in pre-crisis years, there has been a renewed focus recently on recruiting younger academics.
“We don’t want a faculty that’s too top-heavy,” Campbell said. “We always want young, talented, new people coming in—fresh blood.”
— Staff writer Kevin J. Wu can be reached at email@example.com.
— Staff writer Matthew T. Lowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step Up, President FaustI’ve been giving President Drew G. Faust the benefit of the doubt through the many Harvard scandals over the past year, but her handling of the Resident Dean email search debacle is where I draw the line.
Faculty Meeting Plans to Address Honor Code, Email Searches Not On AgendaEven though a long-awaited discussion on a school-wide honor code will take precedence on the agenda of this month’s Faculty meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, professors said they still expect to find time to discuss secret email searches uncovered in early March.
Revelation of Second Email Search Contradicts Administrators' Previous Statement
To Rebuild Trust, Hammonds Must ResignSince Hammonds provided misinformation regarding the highly sensitive issue of email searches, and since she violated clear policy regarding those searches, her presence at the helm of the College stands as a roadblock to rebuilding trust between students, faculty, and the administration. For the good of the University, Hammonds must resign.
Admitting Email Search Errors, Harvard Turns to Boston LawyerUniversity President Drew G. Faust acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that administrators do not yet have a complete picture of the sequence of events surrounding secret searches of resident deans’ email accounts, but said she hopes a forthcoming review by esteemed Boston attorney Michael B. Keating will clarify lingering uncertainty.
Faculty Look for Answers on Investigation of Email SearchIn an email to University President Drew G. Faust last Friday, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Docket Committee asked for clarification of the scope and timetable of an outside investigation of Harvard’s email search scandal commissioned by Faust earlier this month.