Dear Harvard College Students,
I write today to share the news that, after a decade of outstanding leadership as Dean of Undergraduate Education, Jay Harris has decided to step down at the end of this academic year.
During his deanship, Dean Harris has shaped major developments in undergraduate education at Harvard. This includes overseeing the landmark transition from the forty-year old Core Curriculum to the Program in General Education - followed by a review of the Program that has led to a rededication to its goals, and transforming the ad hoc Educational Policy Committee into the Standing Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy. Several of the Standing Committee’s subcommittees have worked on significant questions of academic or curricular policy, resulting in legislation passed by the Faculty.
Dean Harris also led crucial discussions about introducing a College Honor Code and inaugurating the Honor Council to support a culture of academic integrity. Both the Code and the Council launched in 2015, a watershed moment in the College’s history. Last year, he successfully guided the Faculty through a revised class schedule that solves the problem of passing time between classes and anticipates our expansion into Allston. Along the way, Dean Harris has overseen innovations in the Writing Program, such as Expos 40 and Expos 15, the development of the iconic Humanities 10 courses, the expansion of Freshman Seminars to include courses from all Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) departments and all Schools of the University, the return of the Bureau of Study Counsel to the College after 10 years at HUHS - and its integration into a newly created Office for Academic Support in the Office of Undergraduate Education, and an exciting partnership with Phillips Brooks House to combine engagement in the community with public service research and scholarship in the classroom, through the Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship.
Throughout his tenure, Dean Harris has been a visionary leader of the Office of Undergraduate Education, enabling experiments in flipped classroom pedagogy or in the assessment of outcomes, supporting graduate teaching improvements through the work of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and championing increased faculty and student diversity and the accompanying adjustments to our teaching and learning practices. On his watch, the highly popular “Classroom to Table” program was also created, which enables students to dine with faculty members in local restaurants, invigorating faculty-student engagement. Dean Harris has been a tireless citizen of the FAS and the College – and we will miss his leadership greatly.
At this time, I am announcing that we are beginning an internal search for the next Dean of Undergraduate Education. I will formally appoint a Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) in the coming weeks, which will include student participation.
I am deeply grateful to Dean Harris for his service to Harvard College. Please join me in wishing him all the best.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College