For Cabot Master, Deanship Will Be a Balancing Act

News Analysis: Colleagues Say Khurana Will Face Challenges as Both College Dean and House Master

Cabot Procession
Cabot House Co-Master and soon-to-be Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana leads his House's Commencement 2012 procession.

When more than 100 freshmen learn early Thursday morning that Cabot House will be their home for the next three years, they will join a community with lively House spirit, a cod for a mascot, and the next dean of Harvard College at its helm.

In recent memory, no dean of the College has also served as a master of one of Harvard’s upperclassman Houses. When Cabot House Co-Master Rakesh Khurana becomes the College’s top administrator on July 1, however, he will be at the helm of both the Quad House he calls home and Harvard’s flagship school.

While College administrators both inside and outside the House system say that Khurana’s dual role will present him with challenges, these colleagues say that they are confident in the leadership expert’s ability to balance the duties that come with both jobs.


Though the commute may only be a few blocks from the Quad to the Yard, administrators interviewed about Khurana’s appointment largely agree that one of the largest challenges he will face in his new role is time management.

“I’d say that he’s probably going to have to take his energy pills,” Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister said in an interview in February. “I think there’s a lot to balance.”

Prior to coming to his current role in the Dean’s Office, Pfister had served as master of Kirkland House for 18 years, from 1982 to 2000.

As dean of the College, Khurana’s daytime responsibilities will revolve around work in University Hall, the administrative heart of both the College and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. There, he will likely chair the Administrative Board, the College’s primary disciplinary body, convene committees on College issues, and meet regularly with University and student leaders—just a few of what will be his many administrative responsibilities.

Khurana, who is currently a professor at the Business School and holds an FAS appointment in the Sociology Department, will spend much of his remaining time up Garden Street in the Radcliffe Quadrangle, participating in House activities and fostering House spirit with his co-master and wife Stephanie R. Khurana.


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