Harvard Presidential Search Committees Named

Faculty and staff advisory committees appointed; students to follow

Loeb House, where Harvard's governing boards convene

As the search for a successor to President Lawrence S. Bacow gathers momentum, following the announcement on July 7 that it had formally begun, faculty and staff advisory committees were unveiled today; a third committee, of students drawn from across the University, will be populated soon. As in past searches, the search committee itself—the dozen members of the Corporation other than Bacow, and three members of the Board of Overseers—will work with the advisory groups to reach out to the broader Harvard community to hear about desirable skills, experiences, and qualities for a successor president; the University’s most promising opportunities and most pressing challenges; and potential candidates.

The Faculty Committee

Members, drawn from across the University and the disciplines, are:

  • Archon Fung (chair), McCormack professor of citizenship and self-government and director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (where he also served as academic dean and acting dean)
  • Martin Bechthold, Kumagai professor of architectural technology, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and co-director of the master in design engineering program (an important collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, described here)
  • Gabriella Blum, Hauser professor of human rights and humanitarian law and vice dean for the graduate program and international legal studies, Harvard Law School
  • Marcia Castro, Andelot professor of demography and chair of the department of global health and population, Harvard Chan School of Public Health
  • Suzannah Clark, Knafel professor of music, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University (and a co-chair of FAS committees on General Education and on the regulation of single-gender social organizations)
  • Susan Dymecki, professor of genetics, Blavatnik Institute, Harvard Medical School
  • Lakshminarayanan “Maha” Mahadevan, Valpine professor of applied mathematics, Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, professor of physics and professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, Faculty of  Arts and Sciences, and faculty dean of Mather House, Harvard College (profiled here)
  • Tsedal Neeley, Fitzhugh professor of business administration and senior associate dean for faculty development and research, Harvard Business School
  • Meghan O’Sullivan, Kirkpatrick professor of the practice of international affairs and director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (read about her research here)
  • Matthew Ichihashi Potts, Plummer professor of Christian morals, Harvard Divinity School, and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church
  • Eric Rubin, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, adjunct professor of immunology and infectious diseases, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine (his research on tuberculosis is reported here)
  • Tommie Shelby, Titcomb professor of African and African American studies and of philosophy, and chair of the department of African and African American studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (the department’s fiftieth anniversary celebration covered here)
  • Jeremy Stein, Safra professor of economics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (and a co-chair of FAS’s sweeping strategic planning effort, reported here)
  • Adriana Umaña-Taylor, Lawrence-Lightfoot professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Amy Wagers, Forst Family professor of stem cell and regenerative biology and co-chair of the department of stem cell and regenerative biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School (and co-chair, with Clark, of the General Education committee; Wagers is profiled here, and her work is covered here)

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Corporation senior fellow Penny Pritzker, chair of the search committee, said, “Harvard’s faculty are the lifeblood of our academic enterprise, and it will be invaluable to have the varied perspectives of such an outstanding group of faculty members as we pursue the search for Harvard’s next president.” In the announcement, Fung said, “We will strive to advise the search committee on opportunities and challenges in this distinctive period, to encourage and facilitate input from colleagues throughout the University, and to develop illuminating faculty perspectives that help the search committee to find an excellent new president.”

(As a side note, the search committee’s members are asked to do a lot of work—in return for which they sometimes become even more highly visible presences in the University community, within their home schools and beyond. Some of that higher visibility may extend to the presidential candidate or candidates themselves: Claudine Gay, then an FAS faculty member and dean of social sciences, and Bridget Terry Long, a Graduate School of Education professor and former academic dean, served on the advisory committee during the search that resulted in President Bacow’s appointment. He subsequently appointed Gay dean of the FAS, and Long became GSE dean—appointed toward the end of her tenure by President Drew Faust, with Bacow’s assent.) 

The Staff Committee

Members of the staff advisory committee are described as a subset of Harvard’s Administrative Council (school administrative deans plus senior officers in the central administration). They are:

  • Meredith Weenick (chair), executive vice president
  • Kristen Anderson, administrative dean, Harvard Divinity School
  • Tim Bowman, dean for administration and finance, Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Kate Calvin, executive dean for administration, Harvard Chan School of Public Health
  • Sherri Charleston, chief diversity and inclusion officer
  • Angela Crispi, executive dean for administration, Harvard Business School
  • Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, vice president for human resources
  • Mark Goble, associate dean for operations and finance, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Klara Jelinkova, vice president and University chief information officer
  • Jack Jennings, executive dean for administration, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Scott Jordan, dean of administration and finance, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Stacey Kane, director of risk and compliance and IT strategy and security, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • Nisha Mongia, executive dean, Harvard Radcliffe Institute
  • Lisa Muto, executive dean for administration, Harvard Medical School
  • Martha Whitehead, vice president for the Harvard Library and University librarian
  • Tracee Whitley, dean for administration, Harvard Law School
  • Janney Wilson, executive dean, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Said Pritzker, “Harvard wouldn’t and couldn’t be Harvard without the indispensable work of our staff members. Their creativity, initiative, resilience, and adaptability have made a huge difference in navigating these past few years, and the search committee expects to learn a great deal from how staff members across the University see the possibilities ahead.” Weenick, who became executive vice president this month after serving as vice president for campus services, said, “Searches like this one are pivotal moments of transition, and an important occasion to lift our sights beyond our day-to-day work and look forward. The staff advisory committee will provide opportunities for staff from across the schools and the central administration to share insights and aspirations that will benefit the search committee as it seeks to identify Harvard’s next leader.

Read the University announcement of the committee memberships here.







Read more articles by: John S. Rosenberg

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