Ed School Dean To Leave for Smith College

Dean of the Graduate School of Education Kathleen McCartney will leave her post at Harvard to become president of Smith College next summer.

“It’s a little bittersweet, of course, because I absolutely love the Graduate School of Education,” McCartney said of accepting the position at Smith, which she will begin on July 1, 2013.

During her eight years as dean of the Ed School, McCartney expanded degree offerings and increased financial aid packages for students at the school.

McCartney said that although she has enjoyed her time as dean, she thinks the Ed School will benefit from a new leader.

“It’s good for an institution to have someone with a fresh perspective,” she said.


In a press release, University President Drew G. Faust praised McCartney for her “constant commitment to high standards and innovation.”

“[McCartney] has strengthened and energized the faculty, increased student aid, deepened the School’s connections with other parts of the University, and elevated its impact on the world of education far beyond Harvard,” Faust said.

In 2009, McCartney guided the school in launching its Doctor of Education Leadership program. The three-year program, the first of its kind, accepts 25 mid-career professionals each year from a variety of fields.

The program is fully funded by Harvard and aims to help students develop the skills to become leaders in American education reform.

Ed.L.D students spend two years at Harvard, where they take Ed School classes and are able to enroll in elective courses at the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government. In their third year, students serve as residents at educational organizations ranging from the New York City Department of Education to Teach for America.

McCartney said she thinks the Ed.L.D. program is crucial to addressing the issues plaguing the American education system.

“Education really is the civil rights issue of our time. There’s just no doubt about that,” McCartney said.

“I think Harvard’s role in education reform is to produce the kind of education leaders that the field needs.”

During her tenure, Harvard also conceptualized a Ph.D in Education in Education—a degree offering which is set to launch in 2014. The interdisciplinary program will draw its faculty from across the University.

McCartney said during her time at Harvard she has worked to diversify the Ed School’s faculty and student body. Forty percent of the faculty appointed by McCartney have been people of color, and financial aid for masters students has doubled under her leadership.