William Todd, professor of Slavic languages and literatures and of comparative literature, was named the new dean of undergraduate education effective July 1997, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced yesterday.
Todd, who accepted a three-year term as dean, will be on sabbatical next year.
Because current Dean of Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell will step down at the end of this semester, Knowles selected Ford Professor of the Social Sciences David Pilbeam to serve as dean during the 1996-97 academic year.
Pilbeam will assume the post on July 1. He served as dean of undergraduate education from 1987 until 1992, when he was succeeded by Buell.
"With the help of [Todd and Pilbeam], the Faculty will be excellently supported and our students thoughtfully served in the coming four years," Knowles said in a statement.
According to a press release, Pilbeam and Todd will advise Knowles on matters pertaining to Harvard's curriculum. As deans, they will also serve as co-chair of the Educational Policy Committee, which reviews broad curriculum questions.
However, there are some questions as to whether the new deans will play the same role as Buell.
Buell currently reports to Knowles. But the 1994 Report on the Structure of Harvard College, co-authored by Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 and Administrative Dean of the FAS Nancy L. Maull, suggests three new structures for the administration.
One of the proposals recommends that the dean of undergraduate education report to the dean of the College.
Knowles said in his statement that Pilbeam will address issues of section size and the instructional budget.
When Todd assumes the deanship in 1997, Knowles said, he will "consider and integrate the recommendations of the Core Review Committee."
Pilbeam's appointment may also spur the move to bring ethnic studies to Harvard.
Pilbeam previously served on the Educational Policy Committee's sub-committee on ethnic studies and has expressed support for an American studies program which would include a focus on ethnicity.
"I look forward with a great deal of pleasure to the deanship," Pilbeam said in the statement. "I'm eager to work with Knowles again."
Pilbeam, who is currently the director of Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, will step down from that post this July.
Todd said he was attracted by the opportunity to work with Knowles and Dean of the Graduate School Christoph J. Wolff.
Todd said he will continue to teach courses in Russian literature and comparative literature.
"I would never have done this if I couldn't keep teaching," he said in the statement.
Buell, who is professor of English and American literature and language, has served as dean for four years, one year longer than he intended when he accepted the job. He will return to teaching full time next fall.
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