Faculty Notebook: Parliamentarians and All That Jazz

With Faust away, the Faculty play—piano tunes, that is

As Harvard grappled with the fallout of the 2008 economic crisis, the disappearance and reappearance of snacks at monthly Faculty Meetings became a sign of the Faculty of Arts and Science’s economic health.

So when Economics Professor Jeremy C. Stein looked to convey the instability of the U.S. economy to faculty members in Tuesday’s Faculty Meeting, he reached for the well-worn metaphor.

I see a few of you looking at the cookies, and I guess you’re probably wondering, ‘What’s going to happen to the cookies?’” Stein said.

Nervous laughter followed.



Tuesday’s Faculty Meeting was uniquely well-attended. A solid contingent of professors appeared early at the meeting to chat with their colleagues and enjoy pre-meeting coffee and snacks.

Tardy professors filed into the crowded room for fifteen minutes after the 4:00 meeting began.

But one Harvard affiliate was notably absent: meetings in Washington, D.C., kept University President Drew G. Faust away from her seat in University Hall.

Dean of the FAS Michael D. Smith stepped in to run the meeting in her absence.

After several dry announcements and votes, Smith called for a faculty vote to renew Music Professor Thomas F. Kelly’s term as parliamentarian, the faculty member who ensures that meetings abide by procedure.

After a set of resounding “yays” and not a single “nay,” Kelly officially assumed his post.

Smith turned from his seat at the front of the room to congratulate Kelly on his position.

“Tom, you are now installed,” he said.


For their attendance, professors were rewarded with news about libraries, an update on FAS’s financial situation—and an unexpected musical performance.


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