Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 |

Kathleen McCartney, who became acting dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in 2005 and dean in 2006, has been named president of Smith College, effective July 1.

During her tenure, she led the creation of a new doctor of education leadership (Ed.L.D.) degree, aimed at creating a new cohort of reformers who could transform public education. In partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), she also introduced a multidisciplinary overhaul of the school’s academic doctoral program.

Recently, she has served (along with FAS dean Michael D. Smith, provost Alan Garber, and executive vice president Katie Lapp) as one of four Harvard directors of edX, the Harvard-MIT online learning venture formed last May.

In the statement announcing McCartney’s departure from the education school, President Drew Faust said:

Kathy McCartney has been a superlative leader of our Ed School during a pivotal moment in its history. She has guided the launch of an imaginative new doctoral program in education leadership, oriented to practice, as well as a highly interdisciplinary new Ph.D. program in education, oriented to research. She has strengthened and energized the faculty, increased student aid, deepened the School’s connections with other parts of the University, and elevated its impact on the world of education far beyond Harvard.

Kathy has done all this with boundless energy, a constant commitment to high standards and innovation, and a relentless passion for enhancing learning in all its forms. She has always asked how we can challenge ourselves to do better, and Harvard and the world of learning are much better as a result.

McCartney has been a prolific fundraiser. Her departure comes shortly before the University unveils its long-planned capital campaign publicly. HGSE has continued to raise funds to endow the Ed.L.D. program, and securing its future is thought to be a major campaign objective of the school.