Brett Flehinger has been selected to serve as the interim secretary of the Administrative Board starting this summer, as the College prepares for the most significant period of transition in its disciplinary system in decades.
Currently the associate secretary of the Administrative Board, Flehinger will replace the current head of the Ad Board, John “Jay” L. Ellison on July 1.
Flehinger, who earned a Ph.D. in History at Harvard in 1997 and is a lecturer in the History Department, has worked alongside Ellison on the Ad Board for nearly five years, first joining the board in 2009 as the Lowell House resident dean. Just days before Harvard made public the Government 1310 cheating investigation in 2012, Flehinger was appointed to his current position, specifically created to address issues of academic integrity.
“My plans are to get through the rest of this term...and then to kind of emphasize the things that I think are most central to the mission [of the Ad Board]: making sure that when students [come before the Ad Board] they are treated as humanely, as carefully, as accurately as possible,” Flehinger said in an interview on Friday.
Flehinger’s appointment comes as the College seeks to find permanent replacements for many members of the Ad Board. In addition to Ellison, both Adams House Resident Dean Sharon L. Howell and Cabot House Resident Dean Emily W. Stokes-Rees will be departing Harvard at the end of the academic term.
Flehinger said that he has not been involved in the College’s search and selection process for Ellison’s permanent successor, adding that that process is under the purview of Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister and incoming Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana. In an interview in April, Pfister said that Ellison’s upcoming departure could be a chance for the College to review the organization of the Ad Board. Neither Pfister nor Khurana could be reached for comment on Monday.
As interim secretary, Flehinger will not only have to provide support for the new resident deans as they become acquainted with the College’s disciplinary system, but also facilitate the creation of the student-faculty honor board—which will hear accusations of academic dishonesty—set to begin adjudicating cases in the fall of 2015.
“I think we have a lot of work to do next year that’s important work, to not only design the new board, to put it in place, and to really realize the kind of training, the recruitment that’s going to start to signal and create the kind of cultural shifts that we’re for,” Flehinger said.
Despite the changes, Flehinger said that he expects the disciplinary body to continue to run smoothly in the next year.
“The board has to continue to do thoughtful efficient careful good work. That would have been the case no matter what,” Flehinger said.
—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.