A scholar who is a leader in the field, willing to work long hours, will participate in the committees which run the University, and has a deep commitment to research and teaching.
This description might well fit the job requirements for a Harvard scholar, say several professors interviewed recently. Not only must they publish and teach, they say, but there is an expectation that they will actively contribute to the Harvard community. They are often compelled to juggle many tasks and hold several different positions, they say.
"Harvard has a small faculty compared to comparable universities," says Marjorie Garber, professor of English. "People are forced to wear different hats." Garber is also associate dean of the Faculty for affirmative action and director of the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies.
Porter University Professor Helen H. Vendler says that the University is run by the faculty and not by professional administrators, thus increasing the burden on professors to perform multiple tasks in addition to teaching. Vendler says, however, she "would not change it for the world."
"We prize that administrators comes from the faculty and will go back to it when they are done," she says. "We have fellow faculty members to run our lives, and we help them run it."
In the past year, what professors are doing inside and outside the University has come under greater scrutiny. Last spring, the Corporation requested that the FAS create a more formalized way for professors to report their outside activities.
In addition, former acting Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky wrote on the declining sense of citizenship in his annual report, which was released earlier this fall.
In a report based on anecdotal observations, he said "there has been a secular decline of professorial civic virtue in FAS" and that several professors take advantage of a structure based largely on common law and an understanding that "a Harvard professor's primary obligation is to the institution, essentially students and colleagues--and that all else is secondary."
Rosovsky, in an interview, says that although professors should be independent, the greater Harvard community also has rights and should be able to ask how professors spend their time.
"The faculty is a collegial type of institution," he says. "It is a loose group of colleagues. It depends very much on people carrying on their share of departmental duties."
Rosovksy, who is also Geyser University professor and a member of the Corporation, says that his suggestions are in part tied to financial issues. The Corporation has suggested creating a database to help administrators with decision-making and establishing a FAS committee to define citizenship.
"The country is in extreme economic difficulty," Rosovsky says. "It is not clear we are catching up. How can we maintain the high quality [of Harvard] with a resource basis that is not growing rapidly or not at all? This is a new situation in my lifetime. How you spend you time is becoming more important."
The database would include information such as salaries, classes, class enrollment, general activities and leaves of absences. "We [administrators] think there needs to be more knowledge to...run the University with the highest possible degree of efficiency," says Rosovsky.
But several professors say a system where scholars report their outside activities is not necessary. A professor's work does not fall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., they say.