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University People

Honors and appointments for faculty members

July-August 2013

Richard J. Murnane

Richard J. Murnane

Photograph by Tom Kates

Interim Ed Dean

Thompson professor of education and society Richard J. Murnane has been appointed Harvard Graduate School of Education’s acting dean, effective July 1. He is the interim successor to Kathleen McCartney, who departs to become president of Smith College, as previously announced. Murnane, an economist, has examined changing demands for workers’ skills in the evolving U.S. economy, and the effectiveness of education policies in responding to those changes. He also studies the effect of income inequality on educational opportunity. The search for a permanent dean continues.

Peak Professors

Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean Michael D. Smith has named a new cohort of Harvard College Professors. The five-year professorships (five are conferred annually) recognize superb undergraduate teaching and advising. Honorands receive extra research funding and a semester of paid leave or summer salary. This year’s cohort is: Joseph D. Harris, Higgins professor of mathematics; Steven R. Levitsky, professor of government; Michael J. Puett, Klein professor of Chinese history and chair of the committee on the study of religion; Jennifer L. Roberts, professor of history of art and architecture and chair of the committee on degrees in the history of American civilizations (read about her presentation at the May learning and teaching conference in “Talking about Teaching,” page 48); and Maryellen Ruvolo, professor of human evolutionary biology.

Scientists at the Summit

Eight Harvard faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences: Mitzi I. Kuroda, professor of medicine and professor of genetics, Harvard Medical School (HMS); astronomer Ramesh Narayan, Cabot professor of the natural sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); Norbert Perrimon, Stillman professor of developmental biology, HMS; Daniel L. Schacter, Kenan professor of psychology, FAS (see “The Social Life of Memory,” page 10); Beth A. Simmons, Dillon professor of international affairs,  FAS; Gerhard Wagner, Blout professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, HMS; Fred M. Winston, Andrus professor of genetics and tutor in biochemical sciences, HMS and FAS; and Horng-Tzer Yau, professor of mathematics, FAS.

Extraordinary Economist

The American Economic Association has conferred the 2013 John Bates Clark Medal on professor of economics Raj Chetty, who uses large data sets to examine taxation, employment, and education policy (see “Kindergarten Matters,” November-December 2010, page 13). The medal recognizes the U.S. economist under the age of 40 judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and theory. He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2012.

Academy Academicians

Eleven faculty affiliates were elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: David M. Altshuler, professor of genetics; Xandra O. Breakefield, professor of neurology; Paul A. Buttenwieser, clinical instructor in psychiatry; David W. Latham, lecturer on astronomy; Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Fisher professor of education; Joseph Loscalzo, Hersey professor of the theory and practice of physic (see “Systematic Drug Discovery,” page 54); John F. Manning, Bromley professor of law; Richard J. Murnane, Thompson professor of education and society (opposite); Charles A. Nelson III, professor of pediatrics; William J. Poorvu, M.B.A. Class of 1961 adjunct professor in entrepreneurship emeritus; and Xiaowei Zhuang, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and professor of physics (see “Shedding Light on Life,” May-June 2008, page 40).

Science Funding Lows—and Highs

The Boston Globe’s Robert Weisman reported in April that the city had for the eighteenth consecutive year led the nation in grants received from the National Institutes of Health ($1.78 billion in 2012), with Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals (Harvard affiliates) and the Medical School (HMS) in the forefront. That such funding is being reined in is a source of worry and vulnerability for the school’s research enterprise. So it was heartening that six of 27 investigator awards announced in May by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute went to Harvard scientists, four of whom are in medicine. The winners, whose salaries, benefits, and research are underwritten for five years, are: Adam E. Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, and Hopi Hoekstra, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and of molecular and cellular biology, from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and professor of systems biology Vamsi K. Mootha, professor of genetics David E. Reich, professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology Johannes Walter, and professor of neurobiology Rachel I. Wilson—all from HMS.

Pfoho’s First Family

Anne Harrington, professor of the history of science—and acting chair and director of undergraduate studies for the department—and her husband, John Durant, have been appointed master and co-master of Pforzheimer House. Harrington’s scholarship focuses on the mind-body connection and neuroscience; she has been a member of the faculty since 1988. Durant is director of the MIT Museum and an adjunct professor in that institution’s science, technology, and society program. The couple have an eight-year-old son, Jamie. They succeed Nicholas Christakis and Erika Christakis, master and co-master since 2009, who are relocating to Yale.

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