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Though Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby said Monday he had made no decisions on the administrative restructuring of the College, multiple University Hall sources said yesterday that Kirby has already tapped Dean of Undergraduate Educaton Benedict H. Gross ’71 to fill the new position.
The naming of a new dean to oversee both undergraduate education and student life is part of the consolidation of the College’s bureaucratic structure that eliminated the position currently held by Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68.
Lewis, to his surprise, found out just over two weeks ago that his job would no longer exist.
Gross denied yesterday that he had been selected to be the new dean and maintained that no one has been named to the post.
“I don’t know where the dean will come from,” Gross said. “Probably a member of the Faculty.”
But Lewis told members of the College administration this week that Kirby said Gross would be their new boss.
This would mean that the decision has been made without the consultation of the committee charged with discussing the integration of the two deans’ duties.
That committee has not yet met.
“As far as I know, a date hasn’t been set,” said committee member David P. Illingworth ’71, who is an associate dean of the College. “Nobody has informed anyone. It’s a very confusing time.”
“I think the committee should have been consulted,” a University Hall source said. “If a committee is going to have any effect, it should be trusted with determining the direction of this.”
Administrators are not the only interested group that may be left out of the decision-making process.
Winthrop House Senior Tutor Courtney B. Lamberth said yesterday she was unaware of Kirby’s preference for Gross.
“I haven’t been informed of anything,” said Lamberth, who also announced last night that she would be stepping down for family and academic reasons in June.
And at yesterday’s Faculty Council meeting, Kirby said nothing to the group of 18 professors regarding the potential appointment of Gross.
“Dean Gross is staying at his post for the moment but there is no suggestion of who it might be,” said council member Everett I. Mendelsohn, who is a professor of the history of science.
But administrators and professors alike said the choice of Gross is sensible.
“If Dean Gross is the only one still here, and Dean Lewis is leaving, he’s the one. You can deduce it,” said one administrator, adding that Kirby has not formally notified the College of the choice.
“He has such a main role in curricular review, it would be inconceivable that he had no other role,” said Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies Jay M. Harris.
Harris said that Kirby should not be required to consult with the Faculty.
“I would assume we’ll be consulted on how to consoldiate the offices—beyond that, who fills the position is strictly Dean Kirby’s business,” Harris said.
But in a press release on Monday, Kirby stated that the administration would seek input from a range of people.
“We will be consulting broadly with students, faculty and staff as we proceed,” he said.
The committee Kirby formed to advise him on the reorganization includes Illingworth, Administrative Dean of the Faculty Nancy L. Maull, Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67 and Associate Dean of the College Georgene B. Herschbach. Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Jeffrey Wolcowitz and Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Academic Planning Elizabeth Doherty will oversee the committee.
Lewis will end his tenure as dean at the end of June and acquire the title of Harvard College Professor. The new dean will take office on July 1.
—Rebecca D. O’Brien contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Alexander J. Blenkinsopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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