Interim Dean Announcement

A message from FAS Dean Michael D. Smith (December 2, 2014)

Dear Members of the SEAS Community,

I have spoken with many of you over the past few weeks about the future of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the search for the next dean. I write to you now to announce interim leadership, to update you on the search for a permanent dean, and to share some important news about planning for Allston.

I begin with the announcement that Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, has graciously accepted the post of interim dean of SEAS, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Professor Lewis is a distinguished scholar in computer science, a Harvard College Professor for teaching excellence, and a highly experienced administrator and leader in the Harvard community. He brings to the deanship a thorough understanding of SEAS culture and academic life, the widespread respect of his faculty colleagues, exceptional insight into the undergraduate experience as a former dean of Harvard College, and the intellectual and administrative agility needed to effectively guide SEAS during this interim period. Professor Lewis is also an experienced fundraiser with strong ties to Harvard alumni.

Professor Lewis is widely admired for his collaborative leadership style, as well as his deep knowledge of SEAS and Harvard. I am confident that he will quickly and deftly take up the responsibilities of this role and will partner effectively with me in leading SEAS until a new permanent dean is named.

The search for the next dean of SEAS is underway. I have appointed a Search Advisory Committee composed of faculty across SEAS (see below) and with ties to many other disciplines. In the coming months, the committee and I will gather community feedback and recommendations, establish criteria for the ideal candidate, generate a broad and diverse pool of internal and external candidates, and later this spring, interview finalists. During this search process, feedback from the SEAS and FAS communities will be extremely important. Please do reach out to colleagues on the committee with your thoughts.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about Allston—a topic on the minds of many of you, both the planning of the new building and the impact on our community. While many of you contributed to the conceptual design process, it is clear that too many of us feel the faculty’s voice has not been strong enough in the planning. To address this, I am appointing Professor Robert Howe, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering, and Professor David Parkes, George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science and Harvard College Professor, to lead SEAS in planning and decision-making for our expansion into Allston. They have my, Dean Cherry Murray’s and Professor Lewis’s full support and will work closely with us and the rest of the University. At this time, it is also critical that we think about the community we want to maintain as our faculty grows across two major sites on Harvard’s expanding campus. Professor Lewis and I look forward to diving into this discussion and the plans for Cambridge with you in the coming months.

In many ways, SEAS has taken center stage at Harvard. We have the opportunity to set an amazing course for the School and our University for the next 100 years. I can’t think of a better group of faculty, staff and alumni volunteers to lead SEAS and Harvard into the future. Please join me in thanking Professors Lewis, Howe, and Parkes for their leadership and willingness to serve—and in again thanking Dean Murray for her outstanding service to Harvard.

Sincerely yours,

Michael D. Smith

Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Members of the SEAS Dean Search Advisory Committee to date include:

Lene Hau, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics
Robert Howe, Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering
Donald Ingber, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology and Professor of Bioengineering
Efthimios Kaxiras, John Hasbrouck Van Vleck Professor of Pure and Applied Physics
Jennifer Lewis, Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering
Marko Loncar, Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering
Vinothan Manoharan, Gordon McKay Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Physics
David Parkes, George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science, Harvard College Professor
John Shaw, Harry C. Dudley Professor of Structural and Economic Geology and Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering
Stuart Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science
Vahid Tarokh, Perkins Professor of Applied Mathematics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow of Electrical Engineering
Salil Vadhan, Vicky Joseph Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics
Steven Wofsy, Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science
Todd Zickler, William and Ami Kuan Danoff Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Computer Science, George Bemis Professor of Law (HLS), Professor (HKS)