While Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby announced earlier today that Lewis will step down in July as part of an effort to reorganize the College’s administration, Lewis said the move comes as a surprise.
“I learned in the past two weeks that the Dean of the Faculty had decided to reorganize,” Lewis said. “That was unexpected.”
“I had hoped to stay until the quadricentennial, but things don’t work out as you hoped,” Lewis quipped.
Kirby said the change is part of an administrative reshuffling that aims to integrate the Office of the Dean of Harvard College—which oversees the student experience outside the classroom—and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education, headed by Benedict H. “Dick” Gross ’71.
“This possibility has been studied for a number of years,” Kirby said in an interview this afternoon. “It will make the artificial connection between academic and non-academic matters better.”
“The current division of responsibility between the offices...separates functions that are better united,” Kirby said in a press release. “We will be consulting broadly with students, faculty and staff as we proceed.”
Kirby said the potential reorganization has been on his mind since soon after he arrived as dean last summer.
But his plan to act on the idea was not public knowledge until today.
Robert P. Kirshner, Quincy House master and a member of the Faculty Council, said he heard of Lewis’ impending departure only last night.
“There was no hint that he was going to be leaving,” Kirshner said.
Department chairs were informed of the restructuring this morning.
The move, Kirby said, makes sense in the context of the ongoing review of the undergraduate curriculum.
A committee, headed by Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Nancy Maull, will hammer out the details of the merger of Gross and Lewis’ offices.
Gross, who was appointed by Kirby only last summer, said today that he will remain as a leader of the ongoing curricular review. He said he is unsure whether he will assume a new combined deanship.
Lewis, on the other hand, is out.