The Dean's role has changed tremendously under Harvard's last four Presidents. What function will Bundy's successor perform?
It has also been difficult for Pusey to serve as acting dean, which he will continue to do until appointing Bundy's successor. Both Dean of Faculty and President are full time positions; the dean must moreover act as spokesman for the Faculty before Harvard's administration, a difficult task for a dean who, as president, is head of this administration.
As Faculty spokesman, the dean has a vital role in the line of communications between Faculty and administration. Because the dean controls the Faculty's budget, he plays an analogous part in the financial organization of the University. Control of the budget-deciding which projects are to be financed--is an extremely effective device for shaping educational policy.
Deans have prepared the budget since the late '20's, and always held whatever power stems from speaking for the Faculty. But interpretations put on the office in the past 40 years have varied widely, and there are no set limits on responsibility and authority for any new dean Pusey might appoint.
In the past, these limits have depended on the personal relations between dean and president and on how much attention the president devotes to the problems of the College, rather than those of the University or the University's dealings with the rest of the world. College-oriented presidents, particularly those on poor terms with a dean they have inherited and cannot unseat, have tended to restrict the dean's authority.
Some sort of dean, however, is always necessary, even if he serves mainly as a figurehead for the Faculty. Moreover, there is in any university a vast amount of administrative work which a Faculty dean could conveniently perform.
It was the growing amount of this work which led President Charles W. Eliot 1853 to talk more and more in his closing years in office of the need for a "robust" dean, rather than a spokesman-figurehead, and since that time, the problem has always been, as it is now, just how much power to give the dean.
The last man Eliot appointed to the deanship was LeBarron Briggs, one of the most capable and respected men in the Faculty's history. And had Briggs and Eliot left office at the same time, as did President Conant and Dean Paul Buck 42 years later in 1953, the development of the office of Dean of Faculty might have been different. For Briggs could easily have started a tradition of capable and efficient deans.
But Briggs remained in office while Abbott Lawrence Lowell, against whose reform proposals Briggs and Eliot had plotted, became president. Lowell wanted to take a hand in college affairs and disliked Briggs personally; Briggs commanded the virtual adoration of alumni and students and was far too popular to remove. Lowell's course of action was classic; he moved Briggs upstairs to the third floor office space in University Hall now occupied by the freshman deans and cut him off from all important decisions. The two continued this way for 16 years, until Lowell finally was able to appoint his own man, C. H. Moore. He later replaced Moore with Kenneth Murdock, currently the director of I Tatti.
Lowell was always the dominant force in college decisions--men still in the Harvard administration remember whole weeks when Moore spent as little as an hour a day in his new office. The president would at times present his administration with faits accomplis of the most far-reaching sort--such as decision for the House plan--something his two predecessors would not have even considered.
Nevertheless, both Moore and Murdock, and particularly the latter, performed their duties capably, and under them the deanship gained in influence until under Murdock it became fective administrative unit.
Then a new president, James
Between Conant and Lowell
Buck was an effective
The effects of the Buck