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SEAS Gains a 'Bumper Crop' of Eight Faculty Members

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is developing a new concentration in Electrical Engineering. Undergraduates hope that a more specialized program will help them in the job market.
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is developing a new concentration in Electrical Engineering. Undergraduates hope that a more specialized program will help them in the job market.
By Zara Zhang, Crimson Staff Writer

Eight new faculty members joined the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences this fall, plus its new dean, a “bumper crop” that marks the largest addition to the school’s faculty in the past five years, according to SEAS spokesperson Paul Karoff.

Five of the new faculty members are computer scientists. Last November’s donation from former Microsoft CEO Steve A. Ballmer ’77, given to fund 12 computer science professorships in total, enabled the hirings.

Faculty growth at SEAS, which has been one of the administration’s priorities in recent years, is part of the larger expansion of a school that has received increased interest from students and donors alike.

This June, hedge fund magnate and Harvard Business School alumnus John A. Paulson pledged to give $400 million to SEAS, marking the largest donation in University history that renamed the school and brought with it significant public scrutiny.

The number of undergraduate computer science concentrators, meanwhile, has increased fourfold over the past eight years, according to the SEAS website. Last year, a record number of undergraduates enrolled in Computer Science 50.

Francis Doyle III, the new dean who took the helm of SEAS this fall, said he is “thrilled” to start his deanship at a time of expansion and growth. School administrators will look to further expand the size of SEAS faculty through ongoing searches this year, he said.

According to Harry R. Lewis ’68, a Computer Science professor and the school's former interim dean, the limited available space on SEAS's current campus will hinder faculty growth in the next few years, until the majority of the school moves across the Charles River in 2019.

On Tuesday, Harvard officials discussed more details on plans for the new SEAS complex in Allston, a single building that will cover 586,000 square feet.

Still, despite substantial professorial growth, SEAS also saw the departure of a long-time faculty member, according to Lewis.

Greg Morrisett, a former Harvard Computer Science professor who taught Computer Science 51, left Harvard at the end of the last academic year for Cornell, where he is now dean of the school's faculty of computing and information science.

“We are sorry to see him go, but that too is a measure of the quality of the people on our faculty that other schools come raid us for their leadership,” Lewis said.

In addition to Doyle, the following faculty members joined SEAS this fall: Demba Ba, Boaz Barak, Sean R. Eddy, Scott Kuindersma, Xin Li, James Mickens, Alexander M. Rush, and Madhu Sudan. SEAS hired Ba and Rush in 2014, but they arrived on campus this fall.

—Staff Writer Zara Zhang can be reached at zara.zhang@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter at @zarazhangrui.

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