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Harvard Professors Jasanoff, Laibson to Lead Classroom Norms Committee

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi Hoekstra appointed professors Maya Jasanoff '96 and professor David Laibson to lead the committee on classroom norms.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi Hoekstra appointed professors Maya Jasanoff '96 and professor David Laibson to lead the committee on classroom norms. By Julian J. Giordano
By Tilly R. Robinson and Neil H. Shah, Crimson Staff Writers

History professor Maya R. Jasanoff ’96 and Economics professor David I. Laibson ’88 will lead the newly announced Faculty of Arts and Sciences committee on classroom norms, FAS Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra announced in an email on Wednesday.

The committee, officially titled the Classroom Social Compact Committee, has been tasked with creating “simple, clear” guidelines for classroom engagement. Hoekstra had previously stated that she would be forming the committee at a Feb. 6 faculty meeting, but provided no details on the group’s composition at the time.

In her email, Hoekstra wrote that the committee would be complementary to the FAS’ initiative on civil discourse — which, so far, has centered around the Harvard Dialogues event series that seeks to “model productive dialogue,” especially on contentious issues.

“Employing the skills and framework of civil discourse in the classroom is one way we increase the likelihood that a broad range of perspectives will be heard and that participants will open themselves to new ideas,” Hoekstra wrote.

“Another is to ensure that everyone in the classroom — students and instructors alike — has a shared understanding of how they together contribute to an environment that promotes discovery, learning, and meaningful dialogue,” she added.

Jasanoff, whose research centers on the history of the British Empire, helped circulate a Dec. 11 letter urging the Harvard Corporation to resist calls to remove then-President Claudine Gay — which its authors said stemmed from “political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom.”

“The critical work of defending a culture of free inquiry in our diverse community cannot proceed if we let its shape be dictated by outside forces,” the letter said.

Laibson — who serves as faculty dean of Lowell House — is a behavioral economist who co-teaches Harvard’s popular introductory economics course, Ec 10.

—Staff writer Tilly R. Robinson can be reached at tilly.robinson@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @tillyrobin.

—Staff writer Neil H. Shah can be reached at neil.shah@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @neilhshah15.

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