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Saying that there is little chance he will be able to name a permanent dean of the Faculty this academic year, President Derek C. Bok said yesterday he will likely appoint an interim replacement for outgoing Dean A. Michael Spence.
"I have a feeling I probably will appoint an acting dean," Bok said, so there will be a "sense of stability" after the Spence deanship, which will end in June.
During an hour-long interview, Bok said whomever he chooses to fill in until a new dean is named will need "considerable administrative experience" so that the faculty member will not have to "spend a lot of time learning the job."
Speculation among faculty members has focusedon Brendan A. Maher, dean of the Graduate Schoolof Arts and Sciences, and David Pilbeam,associate, dean for undergraduate education, aspossible interim deans.
Spence's predecessor as dean, Geyser UniversityProfessor Henry Rosovsky has also been mentionedas a possible temporary replacement, although heis now a member of the Harvard Corporation, theUniversity's chief governing body.
In a surprise announcement, Spence told theFaculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) late last monththat he would end his six years in what isconsidered Harvard's second most powerful positionto become dean of Stanford University's graduateschool of business in June.
While Bok said the choice of a permanentsuccessor to Spence "is not a decision I want tomake under pressure," he said he has already begunmeeting with a "representative group of faculty"about the selection.
The president said it is unlikely he willappoint a formal search committee to advise him onthe appointment. In keeping with past practice,Bok said he will send a letter to professors tosolicit their suggestions before making thedecision.
"I'm sure we'll be writing very widely to theFaculty," Bok said, "and I will be talking to anumber of faculty members individually. Thefaculty should always feel they could seek meout."
While Bok said he would probably name an actingdean soon, he said he had no timetable for findinga permanent successor to Spence. The search, whichended with the selection of Spence in 1984, tooknine months.
Bok said the next dean of Harvard's largestfaculty will primarily be charged with seeingthrough projects Spence set in motion during thelast six years.
Specifically, Bok said the future dean shouldcontinue Spence's plans to tenure more of theUniversity's own junior faculty, internationalizethe curriculum and improve Harvard's scienceprogram.
"All those things provide an initial menu tooccupy the time of the new dean," Bok said. "Butit may well be that in the process of the searchwe'll unearth a keener sense of problems thatwould cause me to add to that list."
The permanent dean's most immediate task, Boksaid, will be participation in an upcomingUniversity-wide fundraising drive, expected tohave a $2 billion goal. Because of the change atthe top of FAS, which will probably earn thelion's share of the drive total, the effort may beslightly delayed, the president said.
"The only question is that, since [the Facultyof] Arts and Sciences is very important, will thechoice of a new dean have any impact on thetiming?" Bok said.
Regardless of when the drive begins, the newdean will have to be "someone willing and able toengage in fundraising, and have an indefinableability to get things done," Bok said.
While Bok repeatedly returned to the sciencesas an area of focus for the new dean, he said hewould not necessarily choose a physical scientistfor the post.
The last three deans of the Faculty, includingSpence, have been economists, and during the lastdean search Bok was pressured to name a scientistto the position.
Bok said the new dean should be someone whowill serve in the post for at least 10 years and"not someone who's only a few years beforeretirement."
Among those mentioned as possible permanentreplacements for Spence have been internationalsecurity expert Joseph S. Nye, associate dean forinternational affairs; chemist George M.Whitesides '60, associate dean of the faculty; andPilbeam, an anthropologist
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