UPDATED: June 24, 2013, at 1:53 p.m.
The Kennedy School announced this past week that it will merge two of its research centers. Beginning July 1, the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations will be renamed the Hauser Institute for Civil Society and operate within the Center for Public Leadership, bringing together the research and leadership development efforts of the two bodies.
“The integration of the Hauser Institute within the Center for Public Leadership will ensure the continuation of successful programs and initiatives focused on leadership, as well as the advancement of scholarship and teaching related to the well-being of citizens and communities,” University President Drew G. Faust said in a press release Wednesday announcing the merger.
Max H. Bazerman and David R. Gergen, co-directors of the Center for Public Leadership, will lead the new combined effort. Current Hauser Center initiatives—such as research and programming for nonprofit leaders—will continue under the merger, and the Center for Public Leadership will also maintain its current leadership development programming. Christine W. Letts, a lecturer at the Kennedy School who is currently acting director of the Hauser Center, will serve as a senior adviser with a focus on integrating Hauser into the Center for Public Leadership.
In a phone interview, Gergen said the hope is that the merger “will advance the goals of not only the Kennedy School, but of the University itself,” calling the move “a very constructive marriage of strengths on the part of the two centers.” He noted that the merger will bring together the Hauser Center’s research tradition and the Center for Public Leadership’s focus on students.
Gergen added that, going forward, the expanded Center hopes to “engage more undergraduates” and would like to explore opportunities for students to participate in activities such as research to make the Center and the Kennedy School a welcome place for undergraduates.
Gergen said that the merger may face some logistical challenges. Because the two centers’ offices are housed in separate buildings at the Kennedy School, there are plans to bring faculty members together with a summer retreat for the two sets of staff members. A second retreat may be held in the fall.
"We're going to need to build personal ties to transcend the geographic separation," Gergen said.
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.