Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

November-December 2017

James E. Ryan

Photograph by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications


James E. Ryan

Photograph by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Heading home

James E. Ryan, who left the University of Virginia’s law school to become dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in September 2013, will return to Charlottesville as president of UVA, effective October 1. Ryan has had signal success as a fundraiser during the capital campaign, securing a landmark gift for early-childhood education research, and made numerous appointments as professors retired and the faculty expanded. The Harvard Teacher Fellows program, launched on his watch, opened the door wider for undergraduates interested in pursuing education careers. Read more at harvardmag.com/ryan-uva-17.


Lizabeth Cohen
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/HPAC

On October 3, historian Lizabeth Cohen, who has been at the Radcliffe Institute helm since 2011, announced that she would step down as dean at the end of the academic year; details at harvardmag.com/rias-cohen-17.

Long Run

Leverett House faculty deans Howard Georgi, Mallinckrodt professor of physics, and Ann Georgi—widely known for hosting a Wednesday-night physics study session and for doling out monkey bread—announced August 30 that they will conclude 20 years of service at the end of June. Howard Georgi described House leadership as “the solution to our empty-nest problem” and thanked students for “the wonderful job you…have done in keeping us young.” A familiar figure in his biking gear at faculty meeetings, he has long been director of undergraduate studies for physics (his office door commands visitors not to knock, but simply to come in), and has been honored for his leadership in diversifying the physics professoriate.

Athletic Awareness


Bob Scalise
Photograph by Jon Chase/HPAC

In the wake of revelations last year of sexually explicit “scouting reports” produced by members of the men’s soccer team about their women counterparts, and of other misconduct (see “Gender Agenda,” January-February, page 23), the athletics department undertook a “cultural review.” According to a message from Nichols Family director of athletics Bob Scalise, the department has now promulgated new training programs for student athletes, created processes for airing concerns, and expanded training on gender, gender equity, sexual assault, and harassment prevention for athletes, coaches, and staff. It also aims to clarify how athletics fits into the Harvard College experience.

Sexual-Assault Standards


Betsy DeVos
Photograph by Jon Chase/HPAC

U.S. secretary of education Betsy DeVos has announced that the federal government has rescinded the Obama administration’s 2011 and 2014 guidance on campus sexual assaults under Title IX. Until the department formally promulgates new regulations, schools need no longer use the looser “preponderance of evidence” standard for judging sexual-assault cases, and may instead adopt the stricter “clear and convincing evidence” standard. Neither Harvard nor peer institutions have indicated that they will move toward the stricter standard.

On Other Campuses

Princeton began its new academic year by opening its Lewis Arts complex (a 22-acre development of studios, theaters, performance and exhibition spaces, and other facilities for dance, music theater, and music) and a new campus childcare center with capacity for 180 infants and children. It also unveiled an initiative for additions to its portrait collection, intended to better represent the community’s diversity.…Cornell has inaugurated its Cornell Tech campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, with 30 faculty members and 300 students in place; it is expected to expand to 2 million square feet of facilities housing 2,000 graduate students.…After a pilot program, Yale has begun imposing a carbon charge on more than 250 buildings, which account for nearly 70 percent of campus carbon-dioxide emissions. The program, intended to be revenue-neutral, creates a clear incentive to decrease greenhouse-gas generation.…As part of its strategic planning, Dartmouth is analyzing expanding its undergraduate enrollment (at 4,310, the smallest in the Ivies) by 10 percent to 25 percent; Yale began phasing in an 800-student expansion this year, and Princeton plans to increase enrollment by 500.

Research (and Other) Resources

MIT and IBM announced a 10-year partnership for research on artificial intelligence; IBM will invest $240 million in a common lab, staffed by scientists from each institution. Separately, The Engine, MIT’s new venture fund focusing on several challenging technologies, announced that it had raised $200 million: $25 million from the school, and the rest from outside investors.…Boston University opened its 170,000-square-foot Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, and noted that its naming funder, a trustee, had also provided $100 million as an endowment to support related research.…The University of California, Irvine, has received a $200-million naming gift for its College of Health Sciences from Susan and Henry Samueli; it is earmarked to support “interdisciplinary integrative health” research.…The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation (of the Walmart Waltons) has given the University of Arkansas $120 million to found a school of art.

A Touch of Home


Photograph by Harvard Magazine/JC

The bell tower, like the rest of Lowell House, is being renovated, but faculty dean Diana Eck arranged reinstallation of the Commemorative Bell, formerly located in the House courtyard, at Lowell’s temporary two-year hub in the former Inn at Harvard. The replica celebrates the 2008 completion of the swap that returned the original Russian bells to Moscow’s Danilov Monastery, seat of the Russian patriarchate, and their replacement by a duplicate set in Lowell’s tower.

Nota Bene


Shaun Donovan
Courtesy of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Allston adviser. Shaun Donovan ’87, M.Arch.-M.P.A. ’95, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been appointed part-time “senior strategist and advisor to the president on Allston and campus development.” He arrives as Harvard readies its plan for the development of the 36-acre “enterprise research campus” in Allston. Read more at harvardmag.com/donovan-17.

M.B.Aid. Harvard Business School has received a $12.5-million gift from Jeannie ’88 and Jonathan Lavine (both M.B.A. ’92), its largest donation for scholarship aid. Some $10 million is a challenge fund, to encourage other gifts for aid; $2 million endows fellowships to be used, where possible, for students who are the first members of their families to attend college. Separately, HBS created a Forward Fellowship, beginning with the M.B.A. class of 2020, providing awards of $10,000 to $20,000 per year, atop need-based aid, for students with large financial obligations as a result of family background or circumstances.

Analytics certificate. HBS and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, already partners in a new joint S.M./M.B.A. degree (see harvardmag.com/eng-mgmt-17), have partnered with the department of statistics to create an online Harvard Business Analytics Program, an executive-education certificate offering. Interestingly, it will be run on the 2U Inc. platform, not HBS’s HBX operation.

CS50 evolves. The introductory computer-science course, which has pioneered online pedagogies, reverted to one traditional academic norm this year. Among the “What’s new for fall 2017?” guidance in its FAQs: “Unlike last year, students are encouraged to attend all lectures in person this year….” Last year, a large cohort of students was investigated for academic misconduct after assignments and code were checked for duplications or copying from online sources. In its annual report for 2016-2017, the Harvard College Honor Council reported that it had “received a significant number of reports from one large introductory course”—an apparent reference to CS50. This year, the Crimson reported, dean of undergraduate education Jay M. Harris appeared in class to exhort students to read the course’s honesty policy—and to follow it scrupulously.

Science center resized. A regulatory filing for the science and engineering complex now rising in Allston (the future home of most of the engineering and applied sciences faculty) shows that the building has increased in size—without actually growing. It now totals 496,000 square feet of gross floor area, up from 445,000, but occupies the same footprint, volume, and massing. The difference is attributable to recalculating the interior space once the actual thickness of the walls was determined, and to relocating the area energy facility from the basement to a separate site nearby.


John Lithgow
Photograph by Jon Chase/HPAC

Miscellany. The College has named Roland S. Davis associate dean for diversity and inclusion, filling a year-long vacancy; he has been executive director of the office of undergraduate advising and student success at Simmons.…With fewer students than usual electing to defer admission, more members of the class of 2021 than expected enrolled this fall; 28 freshmen are being housed in overflow rooms in DeWolfe. William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, raised the possibility, The Harvard Crimson reported, that the College will be more conservative this season, and then resort to the wait list to round out the next class—a departure from recent practice.…The Harvard Film Archive has graduated—from associate membership to full membership in the International Federation of Film Archives, reflecting, among other factors, the growth in its holdings.…Susan Dackerman, curator of prints at the Harvard Art Museums from 2005 to 2015, has been appointed Freidenrich director of Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center museum. She and Agassiz professor of the humanities Jennifer L. Roberts have just completed a catalogue raisonné of Jasper Johns’s monotypes.…John Lithgow ’67, Ar.D. ’05, won an Emmy for outstanding supporting actor for depicting Winston Churchill in the Netflix drama series The Crown.

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