Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

September-October 2015

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Harvard Kennedy School dean-designate

Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications


Douglas W. Elmendorf, Harvard Kennedy School dean-designate

Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Governmental Government Dean

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Ph.D. ’89, who concluded his service as director of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last March, has been named dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, effective in January. A macroeconomist, Elmendorf was an assistant professor at Harvard from 1989 until 1994, before serving on the staffs of the CBO, Federal Reserve Board, Council of Economic Advisors, and U.S. Treasury Department. He had a second tour of duty at the Fed, was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and then assumed leadership of the CBO in 2009. In a statement, the dean-designate said, “Together, we will honor and extend the school’s commitment to confronting hard problems in ways that enhance public policy and improve people’s lives.” Read a full account at harvardmag.com/elmendorf-15.

Teacher Training

The Harvard Graduate School of Education has named Eric Shed and Stephen Mahoney director and associate director of the Harvard Teacher Fellows program, launching this fall to prepare interested undergraduates for teaching careers (see harvardmag.com/fellows-15). Shed, most recently at Brown University, was a New York City high-school teacher. Mahoney was previously founding principal of Springfield Renaissance School in western Massachusetts.…Through its new PK12 research initiative, MIT has partnered with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship program (its president, Arthur Levine, formerly led Teachers College, Columbia University) to offer online teacher training and master’s degrees. MIT’s participation derives from its engagement in the online edX venture, and its recent commitment to engage more deeply in elementary and secondary education. HarvardX research fellow Justin Reich departed in July to become executive director of PK12 and a research scientist in MIT’s office of digital learning.

Tech U

Even as The Harvard Campaign bolsters engineering and applied sciences, similar investments are being made elsewhere. With Microsoft as asignificant financial backer, the University of Washington and Tsing-hua University (China’s leading engineering institution, based in Beijing) have partnered to create an institute called the Global Innovation Exchange, based in Seattle, where there is voracious demand for computer programmers and technical workers. It will offer a master of science in technology innovation beginning next fall, and over time intends to enroll more than 3,000 students, in multiple programs.…Separately, as mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, M.B.A. ’66, LL.D. ’14, prompted the competition that is spawning Cornell Tech, nearing construction on Roosevelt Island. Now his philanthropy has committed $100 million to the first academic building on the new campus.


An Alice-themed LSD blotter paper

Courtesy of Houghton Library/Harvard College Library/MS Am 2829. Deposit, Julio Santo Domingo III, 2012. Forms part of the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection



A pop-up version of Alice by artist Robert Sabuda that contains two complete, accurate decks of play cards

Courtesy of Houghton Library/Harvard College Library/New York, NY: Little Simon, c2003. Typ 2070.03.7636. Gift, William H. Bond, 2004.

Acknowledging Alice

Houghton librarians, in a puckish mood, welcome visitors to Such a Curious Dream! (the sesquicentennial exhibition in honor of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) with a reproduction of the MBTA’s Blue Line subway route: it culminates at Wonderland Station. The treasures on display, through September 5 (online at hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/exhibits/alice), range from versions in Greek and Pitman shorthand to Alice-themed blotter paper to hold doses of LSD—and the Harvard Lampoons wicked parody. Read more at harvardmag.com/alice-15.

Race in Admissions, Reheard

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to consider anew the most recent case on the use of race in higher-education institutions’ admissions decisions. Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, decided in 2013, essentially addressed the scope of a lower court’s review of issues surrounding carefully tailored admissions programs in which race is considered as a factor, leaving prior rulings on the substance intact (see harvardmag.com/action-15). Now, it will hear a further challenge to the underlying policy in place at the University of Texas, raising the possibility that following arguments during its 2015 term, the court may limit or define more strictly consideration of race in admissions, or prohibit such consideration.…Separately, the U.S. Department of Education dismissed a complaint filed in May alleging that Harvard College discriminates against Asian-American applicants; the department cited a lawsuit filed against Harvard and the University of North Carolina last November, making similar claims (see Brevia, January-February, page 31), as the reason for its action. Given the pending review of Fisher, Harvard has moved to delay the November lawsuit.

On Other Campuses

John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford since 2000, has announced that he will step down next summer. A computer scientist who cemented his university’s relationship with Silicon Valley (he is lead independent director of Google), he presided over a $6.2-billion capital campaign, major investments in the performing arts, and expansion of Stanford’s interdisciplinary research and teaching programs and its campus facilities.…The University of Michigan, the epitome of big-school athletics, has signed an agreement—valued at up to $169 million in cash and equipment—with Nike for the rights to outfit Wolverine teams from 2016 through 2027 (with an option to 2031), according to a Detroit News report…Michigan’s Ross School of Business has received a $60-million gift from Samuel Zell to support entrepreneurship studies and student ventures.…Yale announced in June, nine months into a $200-million financial-aid campaign, that half the goal had been raised.


James F. Rothenberg
Photograph by Jon Chase/HPAC

Loss of a Leader

Harvard Corporation member James F. Rothenberg ’68, M.B.A. ’70—past University treasurer, and chair of the board of Harvard Management Company (which oversees the endowment)—died suddenly on June 21. A detailed report of his service appears at harvardmag.com/rothenberg-15.

 

Nota Bene

Divestment developments. Several institutions moved toward disposing of certain carbon-fuel investments, or banning new holdings. Oxford University has decided that it will not invest in companies whose operations focus on coal or oil sands (it owns no shares in such producers now). Georgetown also determined not to invest directly in coal producers (a step Stanford took earlier). The report of MIT’s Climate Change Conversation Committee (comprising faculty and staff members, administrators, and students), released in June, recommended, among many other measures, that it divest shares in extractors of coal and tar sands. And Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, enriched by long-term production of North Sea oil, will also divest coal-related stocks.

HUBweek hubbub. HUBWeek (envisioned as a Boston Globe-Harvard-MIT-Massachusetts General Hospital mashup of TED talks, Aspen Institute, and World Economic Forum) announced some programs for its initial run, October 3-10. Among the events is a presentation on global health threats, based on the four priorities identified in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s capital-campaign announcement (pandemics, social and environmental threats, poverty and humanitarian crises, and failing health systems), and a Fenway Park “master class” on ethics hosted by Bass professor of government Michael J. Sandel, of “Justice” fame.

Howard Hughes honorands. Three faculty members were among the 26 researchers nationwide named Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators. The award pays especially productive researchers’ salary, benefits, and research costs during an initial five-year appointment. The new Harvard investigators are: Levi Garraway, associate professor of medicine, who studies melanoma and prostate cancers; Pardis Sabeti, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and associate professor in immunology and infectious diseases, who has been much in the news for studies on the most recent Ebola outbreak in Africa; and Tobias Walther, professor of genetics and complex diseases and professor of cell biology, who studies lipid storage in cells. Walther is the first Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health faculty member to be appointed an HHMI investigator.

Miscellany. With the departure of Thomas W. Lentz as director of the Harvard Art Museums, deputy director Maureen Donovan and Clay chief curator Deborah Kao are serving as interim co-directors.…Yosvany Terry has been appointed director of jazz ensembles and visiting senior lecturer in music, and Mark Olson has been promoted to director of the Harvard University Band and Wind Ensemble. The appointments fill the openings created when longtime director of bands Tom Everett retired two years ago.…Professor of landscape architecture Anita Berrizbeitia has been appointed chair of that Graduate School of Design department, and Diane Davis, Norton professor of regional planning and urbanism, has been appointed chair of the department of urban planning and design.…Margot Gill, formerly administrative dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed administrative dean for international affairs, a new post within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She will serve as liaison with foreign governments, international corporations, foundations, and nonprofit organizations.…HBX, the Business School’s online-learning initiative, has unveiled HBX Courses, aimed at the executive-education and leadership-training market. The first is “Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen,” Clark professor of business administration (profiled in this magazine’s July-August 2014 cover story).