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21 Professors Will Advise Smith in College Dean Search

By Matthew Q. Clarida and Nicholas P. Fandos, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: September 17, 2013, at 1:27 a.m.

Twenty-one professors from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences have been appointed by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith to advise him as he navigates the search for a permanent Dean of Harvard College this autumn.

The new committee, which has yet to meet, is tasked with combing through a list of recommended candidates solicited from faculty members, narrowing the roster of candidates, and, ultimately, consulting with Smith on finalists for the position, according to FAS spokesperson Jeff Neal.

The group will also query Harvard constituents at-large to better understand “what the community thinks are the opportunities and challenges in front of Harvard College and its students, and how these should inform the priorities of the new dean,“ Neal wrote in an email.

Most directly, that outreach will take the form of four on-campus meetings with students scheduled for the fall—one in the Quad Houses, one in the River Houses, and one in the Yard—as well as one meeting with the Undergraduate Council, scheduled for Sept. 22. Members of the committee will also consult House Masters and College staff.

“I feel it is vital that we create multiple opportunities for faculty and students to weigh in on the qualities that the next permanent dean will need to serve the Harvard College community well,” Smith said in a statement to The Crimson. “I’m committed to broad consultation and look forward hearing from the students, faculty and staff.”

Smith formally began the search process during the summer, sending two emails to the faculty asking for names of potential candidates, according to Neal.

Also during the summer, Smith appointed Donald H. Pfister, Dean of Harvard Summer School and a systematic botany professor, to serve as Dean of the College on an interim basis.

Upon taking office, Pfister told The Crimson that, at most, he would likely serve for just one year.

Pfister’s appointment came a little more than a month after Smith announced on May 28 that Evelynn M. Hammonds would step down from the deanship. The resignation came amid pressure over covert searches of the email accounts of resident deans, which were conducted in connection with the Government 1310 cheating scandal. Hammonds formally ended her tenure on July 1, drawing to a close her five-year deanship.

The search committee for Hammonds’ permanent replacement includes representatives from each of FAS’s three divisions and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as several current and former House masters.

The committee members, in alphabetical order, are history professor Ann M. Blair ’84, history professor Vincent Brown, SEAS professor David R. Clarke, classics professor Emma Dench, Leverett House master Howard M. Georgi ’68, philosophy professor Ned Hall, biology professor Elena M. Kramer, economics professor David I. Laibson, history of art and architecture professor Carrie Lambert-Beatty, government professor Steven R. Levitsky, history of art and architecture Yukio Lippit, SEAS professor Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, economics professor Gregory N. Mankiw, biological oceanography professor James J. McCarthy, Mather House master Christie A. McDonald, Eliot House master Douglas A. Melton, English professor Louis Menand, psychology professor Matthew K. Nock, associate history professor Kelly A. O’Neill, assistant astronomy professor Alicia M. Soderberg, and SEAS professor Todd Zickler.

—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.

—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @npfandos.

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