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Choice of Kidd Questioned

New Dean Says Student Indignation At Her Selection Does Not Affect Her

By Sarah J. Schaffer

The new Assistant Dean of Public Service Judith H. Kidd said in an interview Friday that she is not taking personally the student indignation stemming from her appointment.

Kidd, who will also serve as director of Phillips Brooks House (PBH), has been widely criticized by students involved with public service for her alleged lack of experience in working with students. Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 announced Kidd's appointment Tuesday night.

"I'm not responding personally in the slightest," Kidd said Friday. "I do believe that the vehemence of the opposition against my selection is related to the vehemence of the reaction to the position being created."

The assistant dean post was initiated due to a recommendation in the 1994 Report on the Structure of Harvard College, co-authored by Lewis and Administrative Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Nancy L. Maull.

The same report also recommended the creation of a faculty-student committee on public service, which is chaired by Professor of Sociology. The da Skocpol and will meet for the first time in December or January. Both Skocpol and Lewis participated in Friday's interview.

Picking a new dean was not a step toward cutting back on PBHA programs, Lewis said.

"We've gotten where we are through a very deliberate and intentional process," Lewis said. "There seems to be lots of unfounded fears out there that these administrative moves are somehow designed to scale back our commitments to public service programs. It's absolutely not a plot to scale back anything."

Skocpol echoed his assurance.

"Someone observed to me the other day that no one creates a new administrative position these days without a very good reason," she said. "If this is a plot to get the administration more involved in public service, there are better ways to do it."

Plans For the Future

Kidd said she will do her best to alleviate student fears by meeting with as many people as she can before she takes office Jan. 1.

Last week, Kidd met with PBHA president Vin Pan '95, '96 and another student, she said. She will meet today with Gail I. Epstein, director of public service Epstein and Greg A. Johnson '72, the current director of PBH, will stay on until June 30 to help with Kidd's transition.

Kidd said she will have to be careful how she handles her new position.

"It's not going to do me any good to say, 'I'm here to listen. I'm here to learn,' because [the students will] say, 'She's just going to say she's here to listen, she's here to learn, because in a year she's going to lower the boom," Kidd said. "[I'd like to tell them] they're lucky to get me, because I care tremendously about what they care about."

Kidd said the job, for which she said she applied through an advertisement in the Boston Globe, is ideal for her because it brings together three of her interests: "working with young students, public service and higher education."

Kidd said she is not yet sure how she will restructure public service at Harvard but will take into account input from all sources.

One question students and staff have raised is the future of the PBHA summer programs. For the summer programs to have sufficient funding, an application to Associated Grant Makers must be sent in by the end of December. Johnson would usually sign the application, but since his job terminates on December 31, he will not sign it this year, he said.

Lewis said not to worry.

"We're not going to let the problem of the signature get in the way of letting that go forward," he said.

Lewis's Choice

The vast majority of students at PBHA have said they supported Johnson for the job of assistant dean, and they have expressed their opinions over the past few months by letters and recommendations to the search committee.

Many have accused Kidd of a lack of experience working with students--since she has been involved mainly with grant-making and fund-raising during her time at Boston University, the Bank of Boston and City Year, a Boston service organization where she currently works.

Kidd said her experience working with students reaches back to her undergraduate days at Jackson--the former women's college at Tufts--and her graduate years at the University of Chicago, where she was involved in tutoring.

As director of corporate contributions at the Bank of Boston in 1984, Kidd said she spent a lot of time working with PBHA programs.

Lewis declined to comment on his reasons for picking Kidd over Johnson, merely reiterating that the search process was thorough.

"We did a lot of checking on all the candidates that were under consideration," the dean said. "It was a very representative search committee."

Johnson speculated last week that the administration might still hold a grudge against him for his recommendation in 1993 to add PBHA staff members in the face of a University deficit.

But Skocpol said it was likely that no one thing prevented Johnson from getting the job, adding that she took student input very seriously in her consultation with Lewis about the candidates.

"Boy, did I take very seriously the student opinions that were in the documentations--not just the opinions, but the reasoning," Skocpol said.

Student-Faculty Committee

Skocpol emphasized that student voices will play an important role on the public service committee she chairs. Pan and Elizabeth C. Finger '96, coordinator of the House and Neighborhood Development program (HAND), will be two of the students on Skocpol's committee. The third has yet to be selected.

The committee's mission is currently being shaped through discussions, Skocpol said.

"I think the committee will have a lot of impact over time in the degree that it works creatively with the dean," she said. "When faculty or faculty-student committees become divisive or rigid, the administration then proceeds to do whatever."

Skocpol added that, unlike many Harvard committees, the faculty members on the Public Service Committee actually want to participate in its discussions.

"The faculty members on this committee really want to be on this committee," she said.

Skocpol said she would like the committee to implement some of the suggestions from Ken Smith, assistant director of PBHA who was also a candidate for the assistant deanship.

As for integrating public service experiences into classes, Skocpol said she would not like to see credit given for public service activities, but that she would certainly be open to more of this type of service learning.

"I think a lot of things are already happening," she said, referring to government and sociology students she has seen who have brought descriptions of public service activities into their classes.

"Lots of senior these have been written out of these experiences," she said.

Autonomy?

Some students at PBHA have charged the administration with harboring a desire for more control over public service. At a meeting two weeks ago, PBHA members discussed the prospect of autonomy from the University.

Lewis said those student apprehensions are unfounded.

"My reaction is to keep pointing back to the structure report," Lewis said. "The structure report recognizes that PBHA has and always will be a student-run organization. The structure report suggests that there should be agreements [on finances, fund-raising, staff and safety] between PBHA and Harvard about what kind of support Harvard will supply."

Skocpol said the University has no intentions to completely control PBHA.

"It just boggles the mind the think what total control would be," she said. "No such thing is possible, let alone intended."

Reactions

Although Lewis has received e-mail from and met with many disappointed students, he said that the reactions to his decision have varied.

"Not all of the messages I've gotten have been critical," he said.

Some alumni of PBHA and HAND had threatened to withdraw financial support from the University if Lewis did not choose Johnson, said several former presidents of PBHA and previous coordinators of HAND.

Lewis said he has spoken with alumni, but did not recall any of them saying they would stop contributing to Harvard.

Kidd said toward the end of the interview that she will have to wait on many issues, gathering input from different people.

She is looking forward to the academic side of being a dean, she said.

"I've never been a dean before," Kidd said. "I'm extremely excited by that access and that forum--the intellectual energy of it is really what'

Kidd said the job, for which she said she applied through an advertisement in the Boston Globe, is ideal for her because it brings together three of her interests: "working with young students, public service and higher education."

Kidd said she is not yet sure how she will restructure public service at Harvard but will take into account input from all sources.

One question students and staff have raised is the future of the PBHA summer programs. For the summer programs to have sufficient funding, an application to Associated Grant Makers must be sent in by the end of December. Johnson would usually sign the application, but since his job terminates on December 31, he will not sign it this year, he said.

Lewis said not to worry.

"We're not going to let the problem of the signature get in the way of letting that go forward," he said.

Lewis's Choice

The vast majority of students at PBHA have said they supported Johnson for the job of assistant dean, and they have expressed their opinions over the past few months by letters and recommendations to the search committee.

Many have accused Kidd of a lack of experience working with students--since she has been involved mainly with grant-making and fund-raising during her time at Boston University, the Bank of Boston and City Year, a Boston service organization where she currently works.

Kidd said her experience working with students reaches back to her undergraduate days at Jackson--the former women's college at Tufts--and her graduate years at the University of Chicago, where she was involved in tutoring.

As director of corporate contributions at the Bank of Boston in 1984, Kidd said she spent a lot of time working with PBHA programs.

Lewis declined to comment on his reasons for picking Kidd over Johnson, merely reiterating that the search process was thorough.

"We did a lot of checking on all the candidates that were under consideration," the dean said. "It was a very representative search committee."

Johnson speculated last week that the administration might still hold a grudge against him for his recommendation in 1993 to add PBHA staff members in the face of a University deficit.

But Skocpol said it was likely that no one thing prevented Johnson from getting the job, adding that she took student input very seriously in her consultation with Lewis about the candidates.

"Boy, did I take very seriously the student opinions that were in the documentations--not just the opinions, but the reasoning," Skocpol said.

Student-Faculty Committee

Skocpol emphasized that student voices will play an important role on the public service committee she chairs. Pan and Elizabeth C. Finger '96, coordinator of the House and Neighborhood Development program (HAND), will be two of the students on Skocpol's committee. The third has yet to be selected.

The committee's mission is currently being shaped through discussions, Skocpol said.

"I think the committee will have a lot of impact over time in the degree that it works creatively with the dean," she said. "When faculty or faculty-student committees become divisive or rigid, the administration then proceeds to do whatever."

Skocpol added that, unlike many Harvard committees, the faculty members on the Public Service Committee actually want to participate in its discussions.

"The faculty members on this committee really want to be on this committee," she said.

Skocpol said she would like the committee to implement some of the suggestions from Ken Smith, assistant director of PBHA who was also a candidate for the assistant deanship.

As for integrating public service experiences into classes, Skocpol said she would not like to see credit given for public service activities, but that she would certainly be open to more of this type of service learning.

"I think a lot of things are already happening," she said, referring to government and sociology students she has seen who have brought descriptions of public service activities into their classes.

"Lots of senior these have been written out of these experiences," she said.

Autonomy?

Some students at PBHA have charged the administration with harboring a desire for more control over public service. At a meeting two weeks ago, PBHA members discussed the prospect of autonomy from the University.

Lewis said those student apprehensions are unfounded.

"My reaction is to keep pointing back to the structure report," Lewis said. "The structure report recognizes that PBHA has and always will be a student-run organization. The structure report suggests that there should be agreements [on finances, fund-raising, staff and safety] between PBHA and Harvard about what kind of support Harvard will supply."

Skocpol said the University has no intentions to completely control PBHA.

"It just boggles the mind the think what total control would be," she said. "No such thing is possible, let alone intended."

Reactions

Although Lewis has received e-mail from and met with many disappointed students, he said that the reactions to his decision have varied.

"Not all of the messages I've gotten have been critical," he said.

Some alumni of PBHA and HAND had threatened to withdraw financial support from the University if Lewis did not choose Johnson, said several former presidents of PBHA and previous coordinators of HAND.

Lewis said he has spoken with alumni, but did not recall any of them saying they would stop contributing to Harvard.

Kidd said toward the end of the interview that she will have to wait on many issues, gathering input from different people.

She is looking forward to the academic side of being a dean, she said.

"I've never been a dean before," Kidd said. "I'm extremely excited by that access and that forum--the intellectual energy of it is really what'

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