With Six New Hires, SEAS Continues Growing Faculty

SEAS
The John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences sign stands in front of Pierce Hall.
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has hired six new faculty members, the largest addition to the school’s faculty since SEAS hired a “bumper crop” of eight professors in 2015.

Bolstered by a record-breaking gift and rapidly growing undergraduate enrollment, SEAS has sought to expand its faculty in recent years. Ahead of the school’s move to a $1 billion campus in Allston, however, space constraints at its current accommodations have at times hampered growth.

“The dean authorizes a series of searches for new faculty based on where we have the highest needs in terms of supporting teaching of courses and in terms of complementing research programs of faculty already here,” said SEAS spokesperson Paul Karoff.

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Flavio P. Clamon—a new hire who previously worked at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center—said he hopes to encourage his engineering students to consider the social impact of their work.

“It’s more important now than ever they are a part of this debate, and informed about the impact of their work,” Clamon said.

Clamon is joined by new faculty hires Minlan Yu, Boris Kozinsky, Prineha Narang, Susan A. Murphy, and Samir Mitragotri.

Yu, a computer scientist, said she is coming to Harvard will enable her to pursue “richer collaboration” with Harvard’s Computer Science faculty and with researchers in industry and at other schools in the Boston.

Kozinsky—now an Associate Professor of Computational Materials Science—said he is looking forward to sharing his experiences in industrial research with students. While he is excited to collaborate with “fantastic experimentalists and theorists” at Harvard, he said, he hopes to remain close to “practically-relevant technological problems.”

Narang, also an Associate Professor of Computational Materials Science, said she was drawn to SEAS’s “wonderful no-department way of operation.” SEAS describes its organization as non-departmental, instead using broadly-constituted “teaching areas” to classify professors.

Last academic year, SEAS had 943 concentrators, which accounts for 19 percent of college undergraduates. By comparison, there were 291 undergraduate concentrators in SEAS in the 2007-2008 academic year.

Former Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer ’77 increased the school’s hiring capacity with a large donation in Nov. 2014 to fund 12 computer science professorships. SEAS has so far named five faculty chairs as a result of this gift, according to Karoff.

While Ballmer’s gift and hedge fund magnate John A. Paulson’s record-setting $450 million gift in 2015 have increased the school’s financial capacity to hire, space constraints remain a factor in hiring decisions.

“It may in some cases introduce a bias towards towards theoreticians over experimentalists, but several of this year’s new hires are experimental scientists,” Karoff said. “The biggest factor is where we need to strengthen our cadre of faculty.”

In the fall 2020, much of SEAS will relocate to the new complex in Allston.

“We’ll have a little relief from the space constraint when Allston opens in 2020, but until then, we have to be creative with our real estate,” Karoff said.

—Staff writer Sarah Wu can be reached at sarah.wu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_wu_.

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