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SEAS Anticipates Growth in Faculty Numbers

By Ariane Litalien and Caroline T. Zhang
By Brian C. Zhang, Crimson Staff Writer

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Cherry A. Murray said that she anticipates a 30 percent growth in the size of the SEAS faculty over the next 10 to 15 years.

“We’re going to be doing a huge amount of hiring,” Murray said, adding that she expects SEAS to add 20 full-time equivalent positions to the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

SEAS currently has 67 tenured faculty members and 16 tenure-track faculty members, who collectively work for as much time as would an equivalent of 66.45 full-time faculty members.

Murray emphasized that when adding the 20 faculty positions, SEAS would also need to make up for retirements.

“To grow 20, I expect we’re going to hire 50,” Murray said. “This is just looking at the age of the faculty and the number who leave for one reason or another.”

SEAS has three confirmed hires—Shmuel Rubinstein, Jelani Nelson, and Yaron Singer—who will be joining the faculty in July. SEAS will also recognize the retirements of two faculty members—Michael O. Rabin and Peter P. Rogers—in May.

The number of full-time equivalents among SEAS faculty has grown by almost 50 percent since July 1998, when there were 44 full-time equivalents. Yet Murray said the faculty size needs to continue to grow to keep up with the number of undergraduate concentrators. Since 2009, the SEAS faculty has not grown, while the number of undergraduate concentrators has expanded by 70 percent.

Area Dean for Applied Physics Eric Mazur recognized the possibility of hiring additional faculty to help develop an applied physics concentration, but said that such plans are contingent on SEAS resolving its space needs.

“Right now, there’s very little extra space for hires, especially since most applied physicists are experimentalists and need a lab,” Mazur said. “So I think a lot of the hiring will depend on what happens to space, which is connected to the possibility of moving to Allston.”

Last month, University President Drew G. Faust told The Crimson that SEAS will relocate to Allston in as few as five years.

In an interview with The Crimson on Friday, University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 said that the move to Allston would provide room for SEAS to expand and hire new faculty members.

“The number of students taking SEAS courses has grown rapidly, [which] has placed huge demands on SEAS faculty,” Garber said. “Allston offers us the opportunity to give the SEAS faculty space to grow, to have state of the art facilities, and to some extent to bring SEAS faculty together.”

More immediately, SEAS will begin relocating some of its administrative staff to a new location in Harvard Square starting next month, according to an announcement from SEAS Executive Dean G. Timothy Bowman.

While growth remains a priority for the school, Area Dean for Electrical Engineering Evelyn Hu said she expects the hiring process to be carefully planned around cutting-edge research and undergraduate interest in different concentrations.

“Although SEAS hopes to and expects to grow in the next few years, I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention to grow carelessly and unconstrained,” Hu said. “The strength of an engineering program at Harvard is to focus on...what we do best and how we can grow in a way that is thoughtful and that adds value.”

—Staff writer Brian C. Zhang can be reached at brianzhang@college.harvard.edu. Follow him on Twitter @brianczhang.

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