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School of Public Health Dean Explores School's Future

By William L. Wang, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard School of Public Health Dean Michelle A. Williams outlined goals for her deanship—which range from constructing a new building to overhauling the school's organizational structure—at a school-wide meeting Monday.

The meeting followed a six-month long “listening tour” conducted last summer by Williams after her appointment in July 2016. According to the school’s website, Williams met with over 200 affiliates of the School of Public Health over the course of the tour.

“My goal was to reach out and be thoughtful in listening to as broad a group of individuals who know and care about this school and interact with this school in one way or another,” Williams said at Monday’s meeting.

During each meeting of the listening tour, Williams asked affiliates about the school's strengths and areas for improvement. Williams said one major challenge facing the School of Public Health was physical infrastructure, which she described as a “hot-button topic.”

“As a dean, I hear it about 10 or 15 times a day,” Williams said.

Williams said the school needed more space “to improve our pedagogy,” as well as more collaborative meeting spaces. Williams also said that many “envisioned a new building for the future” when discussing goals.

The School of Public Health, according to Williams, will also provide more support for faculty continued education. Additionally, Williams said the school will look to overhaul its governance structure.

“Our school governance needs work. The organizational structure requires some refinement and a need for more consistent...communication at all fronts,” she said.

Williams is also working with Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley and Harvard Dental School Dean R. Bruce Donoff to plan a Longwood Dean’s event on April 4th on the topic of “Organizing Culture.”

“Nationally, it might feel that the nation’s leadership does not support the values that we uphold as core as our public health mission,” Williams said.

In line with University President Drew G. Faust’s practices, Williams did not mention President Trump by name in her remarks.

“Having lived through the last thirty days of the new administration, it has been very clear that we will be stronger together,” Williams said.

—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at william.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20.

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