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After being selected last spring, Professor of English Marjorie Garber has begun her one-year term as Associate Dean for Affirmative Action.
Garber takes the place of Andreu Mas-Colell, Berkman professor of economics, who was the first faculty member to be charged with overseeing the Faculty of Arts and Sciences' (FAS) affirmative action policies.
Garber said yesterday she intends to continue Mas-Collel's work of promoting affirmative action by pushing for increased minority and women faculty hiring.
"I want to do everything I can to see that more minority and women appointments are made at every level at FAS and to facilitate a better working environment for those groups," Garber said. She added, however, that it was too early to outline any specific projects she will pursue in the job.
"It is premature for me to make any big statements," Garber said. "But I'm very pleased to be doing [the job]. It's very exciting."
The position of associate dean for affirmative action was created last year in response to a recommendation by the Verba Committee--a 10-member faculty panel which issued a report last spring proposing a new FAS effort to increase its small numbers of women and minority professors.
But since the post was created approximately one year ago, critics have charged that the associate dean's one-year term makes it virtually impossible for him or her to accomplish anything.
Garber echoed these concerns yesterday, saying that a longer tenure may be necessary to implement any sort of lasting change. "I think that anyone who took it one for only one year would have a very limited set of goals," Garber said.
Garber said she saw no reason why someone in her position could not seek a second or third year at the job. "It's conceivable that the person in this position could serve for more than one year," she said.
Garber's statement marks the first time there has been public talk of an associate dean for affirmative action staying on for longer than one year. But Garber added that she could not yet say whether she will request more than one term in the office.
Mas-Collel said he was extremely pleased with appointment, which was made jointly by then-Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence and current Acting Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky.
In an interview last week, Rosovsky said that Garber accepted the position immediately after it was offered to her last spring.
Garber praised Mas-Collel's efforts at defining the new administrative position, saying "he has been immensely helpful [in the transition] and accomplished a lot in his year." Garber added, however, that she understands that she will face many challenges in the position.
"The challenges are the rewards," she said.
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