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The College's two newest house masters announced independent agendas in interviews yesterday, pledging to improve faculty-student contact at Cabot House and to "rejuvenate" Dudley, Harvard's troubled non-residential house.
Reisinger Professor for Slavic Languages and Literature Jurij Striedter and Lamont Professor of Divinity Paul D. Hanson are the latest to join the ranks of Harvard's 13 house masters.
Masters, who serve in loco parentis for house residents, hold five-year renewable appointments from President Bok. They sponsor house events, select tutors and supervise administration of the houses.
The 45 year-old Hanson, a specialist in Near Eastern religions, takes over Dudley amid a dispute over the direction of Harvard's only non-resident house between the previous masters and the College administration.
A rift emerged last February between Senior Lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies Arthur L. Loeb and his wife Lotje and Harvard, when the Loebs declined to renew their appointment, citing their academic careers and opposition from the College in making Dudley an "equal partner" with the 12 residential houses.
Dudley, which serves new transfer students from other universities, graduate students and regular undergraduates who choose to live off-campus, has long played an ambiguous role in the College. Variously defined as a "transitional" or "flexible" home for non-traditional students, it has struggled to maintain an identity. The Loebs and the College apparently differed over whether Dudley should provide services like those offered by the residential houses.
"We've put the past behind us," said Hanson. After extensive discussion with President Bok, Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57, Associate Dean Martha G. Gefter and the Loebs, the Hansons said they felt "confident" of administrative support, though the Loebs said they also received promises when they took the post that were never fulfilled.
"We're very positive thinkers," said Hanson's wife, Co-Master Cynthia R. Hanson. "We feel that we have the financial backing, but most of all the moral support and belief that Dudley House is important and vital to the life of the University. Both President Bok and Dean Jewett have expressed that," she said.
For example, the Hansons said, the College agreed to renovate the dining hall and Junior Common Room of Lehman Hall, Dudley's primary building, this fall. In addition, the pair plan to field intramural teams, as well as continue to host social functions and arts activities.
Striedter, 62, who is taking over as Cabot Master this fall, said he plans to give top priority this year to boosting student contact with faculty members. The limited role of the Senior Common Room in house life has been a perennial complaint with the House System since it began in the 1930s.
"I would like to intensify interaction between Senior Common Room members--or the members associated with the house--with the students," he said. Striedter, who was born in the Soviet Union and educated in Germany, said he plans to sponsor small gatherings with professors and students. "I think this is precisely what the students want," he said.
"One of the main aspects of the house," he said, "should be relating to students as students, not just as residents with a bedroom."
Striedter and his wife, co-Master Emanuela Striedter, inherit a house which has just completed major renovations as part of a more than two-year, $120 million project at the Radcliffe Quad. Cabot's previcus masters, Myra A. Mayman, director of the Office for the Arts, and Alexander A. Bernhard, announced last February they would not renew their appointment this summer for personal reasons.
In other major house personnel changes, Cabot, Currier and Eliot Houses named new seniortutors. At Cabot, Rena Fonseca, who worked asActing Senior Tutor last year, will assume thepost officially this year and will help Striedterin his transition at the house.
Assistant Professor of Music Harris S. Saunders'75 will replace English Lecturer and Senior TutorElizabeth N. Goodenough at Currier. Saunders was anon-resident tutor at North in the late 1970s. AtEliot, Donald Duncan takes over from StephenSzaraz '83. Duncan served as Eliot's senior tutorin the late 1960s for a short period and hasworked with Harvard's summer school since then.
Garth McCavana, doctoral candidate in RomanceLanguages and Literature, is Kirkland's new actingsenior tutor, after ex-Senior Tutor and AssistantProfessor of Anthropology Peter T. Ellison leftfor personal reasons late last year
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