Radcliffe Institute Appoints New Dean

Courtesy of Tony Rinaldo

History professor Lizabeth Cohen is to be named the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the University announced Thursday. Cohen hopes to increase undergratuate participation in the Radcliffe community.

History professor Lizabeth Cohen will serve as the next dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the University announced Thursday. Cohen, the current acting dean of the Institute, previously served as the chair of Harvard’s history department and the director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.

“Liz Cohen is a distinguished and imaginative scholar with a deep knowledge of Radcliffe and Harvard and a strong dedication to Radcliffe’s pursuit of new ideas and collaborations across the academic disciplines, the professions, and the creative arts,” said University President Drew G. Faust in a statement. “As interim dean she has already strengthened Radcliffe’s ties to people and programs across Harvard and beyond.”

Faust previously served as Radcliffe dean herself before being named University president.

Cohen said that she hopes to encourage more undergraduate involvement and increase student attendance at Radcliffe events.

“I want to see Radcliffe fulfill its mission as this intellectual common space at Harvard,” she said.


Cohen added that she hopes Radcliffe will become “a hub that brings other hubs together and provides resources for faculty to also get to know scholars in other fields.”

Cohen said that she did not expect that her appointment would be permanent when she was first appointed interim dean.

“I really had no intention to continue in the job. I just thought I would be a good caretaker,” said Cohen. “But as the ten months have worn on...I have seen and begun to appreciate even more the magic of Radcliffe. When I was given the opportunity, I decided that I would very much like to do it.”

Radcliffe, which maintains a focus on the study of women and gender, is an interdisciplinary institute that fosters academic studies in a number of different fields.

“The Radcliffe Institute was my first Harvard home,” Faust said in the statement. “I know from experience what an important role it has to play within and beyond the University.”

Cohen, a scholar of American history, joined the Harvard faculty in 1997. She is known for her work on twentieth century political, social, and cultural history.

“All of us in the History department are at the same time rejoicing for Radcliffe, proud of and happy for Liz, and feeling very sorry for ourselves because we’ll have to get along without her,” History Chair James T. Kloppenberg wrote in an email. “She is a superb choice for the job, a person with just the sort of high standards and impeccable judgment the position will require.”

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at


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