News

Harvard Students Return to Changed Campus Covid Restrictions

News

Some Harvard Classes Start Spring Semester Online Due to Omicron Surge

News

Harvard’s Graduate Student Union Files Complaint Over Spring Covid Policies

News

Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review Retracts Article, Admitting Editorial 'Failure'

News

Students, Faculty Reflect on 100 Years of Harvard Business School’s Case Method

Lewis Appointed New Dean of the College

Faculty Member To Replace Jewett

By Jonathan A. Lewin

Harry R. Lewis '68, McKay professor of computer science, was appointed the next Dean of Harvard College, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced in a letter to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) yesterday.

"Professor Lewis's commitment and dedication to the College has been obvious to many of us for a long time," Knowles said in a press conference before meeting with the faculty council yesterday afternoon.

The appointment marks a fundamental transition in the post of Dean of the College, a job which has been held by a career administrator for the past half century.

Lewis will replace current Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57, who has held the position for a decade, on July 1. Jewett announced last spring that he would retire at the end of this semester.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Lewis will continue to teach one course each semester, he said.

Lewis should be familiar with the duties of the Dean of the College, having served as co-chair of the Committee on the Structure of Harvard College whose three suggested alternatives for that position Knowles did not follow.

The report suggested three models: a faculty "superdean," divisional deans or the status quo.

Instead, Knowles created a fourth model; anacademic Dean of the College, complemented by theDean for Undergraduate Education.

To aid in Lewis' transition, Dean forUndergraduate Education Lawrence Buell has agreedto extend his term until June 1996, Secretary tothe Faculty John B. Fox '59 said yesterday.

Lewis will assume Jewett's responsibilities,but with his academic background will also serveas an Academic Dean. These deans advise the Deanof the Faculty on academic appointments and otherissues.

"There was a happy meeting of the minds,"Knowles said of Lewis' appointment. "Now we shallhave two faculty colleagues responsible forshaping the undergraduate experience."

Knowing the faculty was eager to have anacademic as dean, Knowles spent the last month anda half searching through the Harvard faculty tofind an appropriate professor, a University sourcesaid.

"It is very difficult to find a professor whois willing to spend their time in theadministration," Senior Associate Dean PhyllisKeller said two months ago. "We are very lucky tohave Dean Knowles as it is."

When the position of dean of the College wascreated in 1890, it was filled with a member ofthe Faculty. But since 1948, with a brief break inthe early 1970s, the position has been occupied bya career administrator.

"I feel it is a good decision to make a facultymember dean because the more senior facultymembers who take part in shaping the College andthe University the better it is," said Dean of theGraduate School Christoph J. Wolff. "We ought totake more responsibility."

Although Lewis co-authored the report withAdministrative Dean Nancy L. Maull, members of thecommittee said that his appointment is not to betaken as an endorsement of the report by knowles.

"I don't think the committee ever felt that itwould be deeply offended if none of these modelswere selected," said Ford Professor of the SocialSciences David Pilbeam, a committee member, "It'snot a detailed road map. You have a model and aperson, and as you reduce the list ofpossibilities, maybe you change the model."

Knowles said two months ago that a third of thereport's recommendations on College life couldonly be considered by Jewett's successor.

Lewis said yesterday that he agreed with all ofthe recommendations made in the report he helpedauthor.

It is unclear, however, whether Lewis willimmediately adopt these recommendations, whichcould include randomization of the houses andreorganization of the senior tutor system.

When asked whether Lewis has adequateadministrative experience to be dean of theCollege, Acting President Albert Carnesale saidthat Lewis has demonstrated his ability throughhis leadership of the Committee on the Structureof the College and his performance on othercommittees.

"I think he is a superb appointment, andHarvard University is fortunate to have him doingthis," Carnesale said in an interview yesterday.

Jewett also praised Knowles' choice.

"Harry and I have been close friends as well asclose colleagues for a number of years," theoutgoing dean said. "He has an extraordinary rangeof knowledge of undergraduate life at the Collegeas well as being a highly respected teacher in the[Computer Science] department."

House masters universally praised Lewis'sappointment yesterday, saying they hoped to see anintegration of the two halves of the deansresponsibilities, residential life and academics.

"It really brings the academic role of the deanto the forefront, since [Lewis] is an academic,"said Karel F. Liem, Dunster House master. "I hopethat this would result in the houses playing agreater role in the academic endeavors."

"I would love to see the academic life of thehouses strengthened, more house seminars, housetutorials," said Sandra A. Naddaff, Mather Housemaster.

Knowles first approached Lewis with the offertwo weeks ago, but Lewis did not accept the offeruntil Tuesday.

"There's no part of the structure review thatled me to believe I would be approached," Lewissaid yesterday. "I did not seek it. But I found ithard not to accept the position."

Lewis was to begin a semester-long sabbaticalyesterday. He intended to spend the spring writingand revising one of his three text-books.

"My sabbatical will be taken up withfamiliarizing myself before I assume theposition," he said.

Lewis will return to teaching Computer Science121: Introduction to Formal Systems andComputation in the fall.

"It has been the source of my greatestsatisfaction to get to know undergraduates. Icertainly don't want to lose that." He said.

"I try to remain open and accessible, and Ihope to continue that," he continued. "It's harderwith 6500 students than 100, but it's myambition."

Harvard's governing boards are expected toapprove the appointment later this month.

Sarah J. Schaffer contributed to thereporting of this story.

Instead, Knowles created a fourth model; anacademic Dean of the College, complemented by theDean for Undergraduate Education.

To aid in Lewis' transition, Dean forUndergraduate Education Lawrence Buell has agreedto extend his term until June 1996, Secretary tothe Faculty John B. Fox '59 said yesterday.

Lewis will assume Jewett's responsibilities,but with his academic background will also serveas an Academic Dean. These deans advise the Deanof the Faculty on academic appointments and otherissues.

"There was a happy meeting of the minds,"Knowles said of Lewis' appointment. "Now we shallhave two faculty colleagues responsible forshaping the undergraduate experience."

Knowing the faculty was eager to have anacademic as dean, Knowles spent the last month anda half searching through the Harvard faculty tofind an appropriate professor, a University sourcesaid.

"It is very difficult to find a professor whois willing to spend their time in theadministration," Senior Associate Dean PhyllisKeller said two months ago. "We are very lucky tohave Dean Knowles as it is."

When the position of dean of the College wascreated in 1890, it was filled with a member ofthe Faculty. But since 1948, with a brief break inthe early 1970s, the position has been occupied bya career administrator.

"I feel it is a good decision to make a facultymember dean because the more senior facultymembers who take part in shaping the College andthe University the better it is," said Dean of theGraduate School Christoph J. Wolff. "We ought totake more responsibility."

Although Lewis co-authored the report withAdministrative Dean Nancy L. Maull, members of thecommittee said that his appointment is not to betaken as an endorsement of the report by knowles.

"I don't think the committee ever felt that itwould be deeply offended if none of these modelswere selected," said Ford Professor of the SocialSciences David Pilbeam, a committee member, "It'snot a detailed road map. You have a model and aperson, and as you reduce the list ofpossibilities, maybe you change the model."

Knowles said two months ago that a third of thereport's recommendations on College life couldonly be considered by Jewett's successor.

Lewis said yesterday that he agreed with all ofthe recommendations made in the report he helpedauthor.

It is unclear, however, whether Lewis willimmediately adopt these recommendations, whichcould include randomization of the houses andreorganization of the senior tutor system.

When asked whether Lewis has adequateadministrative experience to be dean of theCollege, Acting President Albert Carnesale saidthat Lewis has demonstrated his ability throughhis leadership of the Committee on the Structureof the College and his performance on othercommittees.

"I think he is a superb appointment, andHarvard University is fortunate to have him doingthis," Carnesale said in an interview yesterday.

Jewett also praised Knowles' choice.

"Harry and I have been close friends as well asclose colleagues for a number of years," theoutgoing dean said. "He has an extraordinary rangeof knowledge of undergraduate life at the Collegeas well as being a highly respected teacher in the[Computer Science] department."

House masters universally praised Lewis'sappointment yesterday, saying they hoped to see anintegration of the two halves of the deansresponsibilities, residential life and academics.

"It really brings the academic role of the deanto the forefront, since [Lewis] is an academic,"said Karel F. Liem, Dunster House master. "I hopethat this would result in the houses playing agreater role in the academic endeavors."

"I would love to see the academic life of thehouses strengthened, more house seminars, housetutorials," said Sandra A. Naddaff, Mather Housemaster.

Knowles first approached Lewis with the offertwo weeks ago, but Lewis did not accept the offeruntil Tuesday.

"There's no part of the structure review thatled me to believe I would be approached," Lewissaid yesterday. "I did not seek it. But I found ithard not to accept the position."

Lewis was to begin a semester-long sabbaticalyesterday. He intended to spend the spring writingand revising one of his three text-books.

"My sabbatical will be taken up withfamiliarizing myself before I assume theposition," he said.

Lewis will return to teaching Computer Science121: Introduction to Formal Systems andComputation in the fall.

"It has been the source of my greatestsatisfaction to get to know undergraduates. Icertainly don't want to lose that." He said.

"I try to remain open and accessible, and Ihope to continue that," he continued. "It's harderwith 6500 students than 100, but it's myambition."

Harvard's governing boards are expected toapprove the appointment later this month.

Sarah J. Schaffer contributed to thereporting of this story.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags