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Harvard Presidential Search Committee Names Faculty, Staff Advisory Panels

Harvard's governing boards meet in Loeb House.
Harvard's governing boards meet in Loeb House. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Cara J. Chang and Isabella B. Cho, Crimson Staff Writers

A month into the hunt for Harvard’s 30th leader, the school’s presidential search committee made its first public move on Thursday, unveiling the membership of faculty and staff advisory panels that will provide input during the selection process.

Fifteen faculty members and 17 staffers will advise the search committee, which began looking for Harvard’s 30th president in July, shortly after Lawrence S. Bacow said he would step down next summer. The committee is made up of the 12 members of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing board, and three members of the less influential Board of Overseers.

Harvard Kennedy School Professor Archon Fung, who directs the school’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, will chair the 15-member faculty committee, which includes professors from 10 of Harvard’s schools. Harvard’s newly-appointed executive vice president, Meredith L. Weenick ’90, will chair the 17-member staff committee.

A third advisory group composed of students from across the University will be named at a later date, the search committee said Thursday.

Every graduate school at Harvard is represented on the faculty advisory body except the School of Dental Medicine — consistent with the last presidential search. Four schools — the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Harvard Kennedy School — have more than one faculty member on the committee.

The staff committee draws from the University’s Administrative Council, which is comprised of high-ranking administrators from across Harvard’s schools and its central administration.

The presidential search committee will consult the two advisory groups as it compiles — and then winnows down — a list of candidates. The committees are meant to serve as formal channels through which Harvard professors and staff can influence the search.

Four members of the staff advisory committee — Weenick, Business School Executive Dean for Administration Angela Q. Crispi, Graduate School of Education Executive Dean for Administration Jack Jennings, and Radcliffe Executive Dean Nisha Mongia — served on the same advisory panel during the search for Bacow.

Bacow was initially a member of the search committee for Harvard’s 29th president, but he secretly stepped off the panel so he could be considered for the job himself. Members of the faculty advisory group were said to have advocated for Bacow last time around.

Thus far, the search for Harvard’s 30th president is mirroring many aspects of the past several presidential searches. The advisory groups were named at roughly the same point in the last presidential search — 36 days after it launched, compared to 48 days after the current search began. However, both of the newly-named faculty and staff groups are larger than in the past.

Consistent with past searches, the search committee has also asked Harvard affiliates to submit advice and nominations to the committee.

—Staff writer Cara J. Chang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CaraChang20.

—Staff writer Isabella B. Cho can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @izbcho.

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