Rule changes in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences


The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) clarified its remaining routine tasks during this most unusual year at its last regular meeting of the academic year on Tuesday afternoon. Most of the previous meetings had largely been devoted to hearing reports, but significant academic action was taken during the April session, when the new PhD program in Quantum Science and Engineering was approved.

Today, at the request of the Faculty’s Role Committee, President Lawrence S. Bacow, Provost Alan Garber and FAS Dean Claudine Gay explained the steps Harvard and FAS are taking to prevent any recurrence of the University engagement with people like doomed sex. offender (and donor) Jeffrey Epstein, including the enactment of the first public donation policy, measures to ensure its enforcement, and changes in the way the faculty grants visiting scholarships (of the type poorly granted to Epstein).

In addition, the faculty has raised concerns about Harvard’s new system for reporting potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of engagement. It aims to ensure compliance with federal regulations on sponsored research, but in its initial implementation it seems to have entangled researchers in the humanities and social sciences who do not receive such funding but now appear to have to declare modest sums. received as part of their routine activities. academic work (such as royalties on scholarly books or fees for participating in thesis committees). System improvements have been promised.

Among today’s formalities were pro forma votes to approve the Extension School offers and the Teaching courses for 2021-2022. But even among these household chores, echoes of unusual moments appeared in the agenda items.

• Manual for students. Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana introduced the annual language adjustments in the official compilation of rules and other information needed for undergraduates. The many emergency measures adopted by the Standing Committee on Undergraduate Education Policy in Response to the Pandemic – various time extensions, international studies missing, deadline for choosing pass / fail assessment, credit for the 2021 summer courses – are removed from the 2021 period – 2022 edition: an omen full of hope.

In a series of changes that Khurana presumably never wanted to make, the Manual the language relating to the regulation of non-recognized unisex social organizations (USGSO: the last clubs and fraternities and sororities) has been struck. It was the inevitable outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling that federal law prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. The University then announced that the decision posed insurmountable legal problems for USGSO policy and overturned it. Khurana and then-president Drew Gilpin Faust had championed the policy, and the Society (to which Bacow then served even before becoming president) imposed it at the end of 2017.

• Scope online. In her message to the faculty, Nancy Coleman, dean of the Division of Continuing Education and Academic Extension, documented the school’s reach during the pandemic: 746 unique courses, all online; 35,334 course registrations, up 13% from the previous year. As previously indicated, the school’s online prowess has enabled it to transform its course offerings and extend its international reach, an axis of its growth strategies (see “Online Takes Off”, March-April, page 14 ).

• Teaching with distinction. Continuing an annual tradition, Dean Gay presented awards for teaching, counseling and mentoring – a special honor for those recognized in what were arguably the most difficult circumstances in which most of them had been confronted to lead a class. The highest honor of FAS for teaching is the Harvard College Professor, awarded in recognition of distinguished contributions to undergraduate education (in general education and concentrations), counseling and mentoring, as well as work in higher education and research. This year’s honors, which hold the title for five years and receive additional support for their research, are:

• Stephen Chong, McKay Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Winthrop House;

• Sean D. Kelly, professor of philosophy at Martignetti and dean of the faculty of Dunster House (who led the most recent general education exam);

• Deidre Lynch, Bernbaum Literature Professor (featured here);

• Andrew Murray. Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, Director of the Rowland Institute and Director of the John Harvard Distinguished Science Fellows Program; and

• Leah Somerville, professor of psychology.

Winners of the Roslyn Abramson Award Demba Ba, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and Robin Hopkins, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Loeb, were recognized for outstanding undergraduate education.

And the Everett Mendelsohn Award of Excellence in Mentoring—Established by the Graduate Student Council of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to recognize faculty members who provide exceptional support and guidance in research, education, professional and personal development, and career plans. career of students during long years of sometimes lonely study. on these honors:

• Robin Bernstein, Dillon professor of American history and professor of African and African American studies and studies of women, gender and sexuality (and professor at Harvard College);

• Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy (at the Kennedy School of Government), and affiliated with the Departments of History of Science and Government;

• Erica Kenney, Assistant Professor of Nutrition in Public Health and Director of the Doctorate. field program;

• Hannah Marcus, assistant professor of the history of science; and

• Christopher Rycroft, Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

• A giant, recalled. One of the commemorative minutes presented to the faculty recognized the life and service of a great professor. Sociologist Nathan Glazer, Emeritus Professor of Education and Social Structure (died 2019), was active in FAS and graduate schools of education and design. He has been hailed as “an academic and public intellectual who greatly influenced not only research on American culture and ethnicity, but also post-war American intellectual discourse on public life and politics”, notably at through The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Evolution of American Character (with David Riesman 31, JD 34, LL.D. 90, and Reuel Denney) and Beyond the Melting Pot: Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians and Irish in New York (with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, LL.D. ’02). Although published decades ago, they remain fundamental works on American individualism and the issue of persistent ethnic identity (as opposed to an assimilationist melting pot) – very much alive topics today.

The same goes for the political implications. The Minute said of Glazer: “He was the most unusual of intellectuals, the one who was not afraid to change his mind.” Therefore:

His work influenced not only scholarship, but also the renaissance of ethnicity as a socio-political force during the 1970s. However, when this movement evolved to push for affirmative action in favor of equal representation in the workplace and in academia, Glazer has become a leading critic, arguing against the group over individual rights in its influential work. Affirmative discrimination: ethnic inequalities and public policies (1975). Nonetheless, two decades later, in light of the evidence for the persistence of black disadvantage and segregation, Glazer reconsidered both his earlier views on the inevitability of assimilation in America and his critique of the positive action. His book We are all multiculturalists now (1997) recognized the persistent injustices and structural inequalities experienced by blacks in the United States and recognized, with some caution, the need for special action on their behalf. This change aroused the consternation and indignation of the conservatives of the day, who saw him as an important intellectual leader.

Given this willingness to reconsider and adapt, the Minute observed: “An important evaluation of his life and his work in the New York Times Magazine opened with the ironic joke that “Nathan Glazer had more doubts in his life than most people thought”. In the mid-1960s he was instrumental in Public interest, which has become the political journal of neoconservatism; although he became co-editor in 1975, Glazer did not embrace the term and considered himself a “centrist Democrat,” according to the Minute. “Glazer really spoke,” he continued, “when he said,“ I see myself as pragmatic, rather than a man on the left or a man on the right. “”

There may not be much room for such self-proclaimed pragmatists in today’s heated political discourse, but there is, and should be, a lot of room to consider one’s fellow human beings within the academy. La Minute was composed by Michèle Lamont (professor of sociology and African and African-American studies and Goldman professor of European studies), Mario Small (professor of sociology of the Grafstein family) and Orlando Patterson (professor of sociology Cowles) – a diverse group of intellectuals, many of whom must have differed from those of Glazer, but who came together with special force to congratulate their late colleague.


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