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Government Department Tenures King

Political Methodologist's Appointment is Third Internal Promotion in Three Years

By Brian R. Hecht

The Government Department ahs granted tenure to Loeb associate Professor of the Social Sciences Gary King, an expert in political methodology.

King's tenure marks the third time in less than three years that a government junior faculty member has been promoted to a senior post.

Faculty members praised King's appointment, saying that his area of expertise-the quantitative analysis of expertise-the quantitative analysis of political data-is a rapidly growing field in American political science.

"King is one of the most sophisticated political methodologists in the country," said Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '54. "He helps put us in the forefront on this field of political science."

"The department has been looking for someone in [political methodology] for some time, someone who does it at the very high level that he does," said Professor of government Michael J. Sandel.

Faculty members also praised King's teaching ability and his work on political representation in America.

"He is an outstanding scholar and teacher," said Government Department Chair Robert Keohane. "We were lucky we were able to retain him."

King said he decided to stay at Harvard despite numerous tenure offers from universities such as the California Institute of Technology. "A fairly large number of universities expressed an interest, but I wanted to stay here," he said.

King said he was offered tenure at Harvard last December-after only three years at the University-and accepted the offer in late March.

Both King and Keohane acknowledged that the Government Department's traditionally friendly attitude toward junior faculty members made it possible for King and two other recent appointees-Sandel and Professor of Political Economy Peter A. Hall-to receive tenure.

"We are constantly trying to recruit the best non-tenured faculty in the country," Keohane said. "And we are constantly trying to create an environment in which talented people can both teach and do research."

King said the department's flexible teaching and leave-taking schedule gave him more freedom to pursue the research that led to his tenure. "The Government Department was very good to me," he said.

"I guess this is the product of their work," he said of his decision to stay at Harvard.

King received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1980, and did his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin on quantitative analysis of the presidency.

King said he has taught mainly graduate students because "the core of what I teach is how to do research." But he adds that he would also like to teach undergraduates, and plans to offer a junior government seminar in the near future.

Some faculty members cite the promotion of junior faculty members such as King as proof of the effectiveness of outoging Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence's five-year-old plan to improve the tenure chances of Harvard's untenured faculty.

The linchpin of Spence's plan was the relaxation of the rigid system by which departments had previously been alloted tenured posts, a system known for the Harvard mathematician who developed it in the 1950s.

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