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Though some faculty members put forward Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay as a candidate for the University’s next president, she remained adamant that her focus is on her current work as dean in an interview Wednesday.
“I have a great job, and I have an agenda that excites me and I’m singularly focused on that,” Gay said.
In June, Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow announced that he will step down next year, launching the search for the University’s next leader. The presidential search committee has since named faculty, staff, and student advisory committees to give input on the selection process.
Gay said Bacow has supported the FAS and appreciates the school’s contributions to the University, adding that she would like to see the next president take on similar qualities.
“One of the things that I really appreciated about working with him is that he’s always ready to make my problems his problems and join me in trying to get through solutions,” she said, “My simple hope is that I have a partner like the partner that I’ve had for the last four years. So I really look forward to the search.”
This year, the FAS brought in Government professor Taeku Lee and History professors Erika Lee and Jesse E. Hoffnung-Garskof ’93 as part of an ethnic studies cluster hire initiative launched in 2019.
In addition to the three professors, Gay said she is “equally excited” to welcome the dozen new Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities faculty who will be doing work related to ethnicity, indigeneity, and migration.
“Many of them are coming to Harvard after really impactful, institution-building careers at other universities, and I think that really bodes well for us in terms of what the future looks like here for building and conceptualizing a really dynamic academic program in the broad areas of migration,” she said.
As the ethnic studies cluster hire draws to a close, the FAS continues two other hiring initiatives.
“With a national search actively underway, we will welcome the inaugural FAS campus curator, who will lead the reimagining of our visual culture and partner with the campus community to expand the narratives we tell in our shared spaces,” Gay wrote in a message to FAS affiliates at the beginning of the semester.
She said Wednesday that an “impressive group of candidates” has been identified for the campus curator position.
Over the summer, the FAS Committee on Visual Culture and Signage toured three “high-impact” spaces identified in a report that outlined recommendations for creating a more “dynamic, welcoming, and inclusive” visual culture on campus, Gay said. These spaces include the Faculty Room in University Hall, Annenberg Hall, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Center in Lehman Hall.
Gay said the committee is now gathering information and formulating questions about each space in anticipation of the campus curator.
During Tuesday’s first faculty meeting of the semester, Gay provided updates on the FAS’ climate cluster hire initiative. On Wednesday, Gay said she hopes the FAS will recruit up to three scholars who study environment, climate, and sustainability in the next two years.
Gay added that the hiring initiatives are “high leverage moves that help to stimulate further hiring across the school in ways that are highly complementary.”
—Staff writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ArielH_Kim.
—Staff writer Meimei Xu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeimeiXu7.
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