Theda Skocpol, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, has resigned the position effective the end of this school year. (See Jeremy Knowles’ e-mail below.)
A few things about Skocpol:
1) She is generally thought to have done a good job as GSAS dean.
2) She is considered a candidate for the FAS deanship, and is said to want the job.
3) She has been GSAS dean for two years, an unusually short term.
4) She is a senior adviser in the social sciences at the Radcliffe Institute, and last week gave a talk at its annual luncheon for women faculty, hosted by Drew Faust…..
How does Skocpol’s move affect the question of who Faust will chose as her FAS dean? Does it mean that she’s willing to walk away from Harvard if she doesn’t get the job? Or that she already has another offer? Or just that she wanted to step down and, if she didn’t get the FAS post, didn’t want it to look like sour grapes by resigning immediately afterward?
Got me. All I know is, the timing is curious and the plot thickens…..
I am writing to let you know that Theda Skocpol has today announced her
intention to step down as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and
Sciences, effective at the end of this academic year. This is, of
course, unwelcome news to those of us who know first-hand of the skilled
and energetic leadership she has brought to this role, and of the many
improving initiatives that she has launched to strengthen the Graduate
Since becoming Dean in July 2005, Theda has arranged for virtually all
graduate students in the humanities and the social sciences to receive
dissertation completion fellowships, she has helped to institute a new
innovation prize and seed grant program to honor and reward improvements
in graduate education, she has launched secondary fields for those in
Ph.D. programs to promote interdisciplinary research, she has created
the Graduate Policy Committee to involve faculty in the formulation of
GSAS policy, she has overseen the move of the Graduate School from
Byerly Hall to Holyoke Center, and she has encouraged coordination
amongst our science graduate programs. Her well-known zeal for
gathering and sharing data, her outreach to departments and centers, and
her gently unambiguous approach, have made the assessment and
improvement of our graduate programs and policies both more transparent
and more successful.
Most recently, Theda has served as chair the Task Force on Teaching and
Career Development, which issued in January a âCompact to Enhance
Teaching and Learning at Harvard.â She also served as a member of the
Harvard University Planning Committee for Science and Engineering. In
these, and many other ways, she has made important contributions to the
Faculty and to the University, as well as to the Graduate School.
I must now, for the benefit of my successor, begin to gather your
thoughts on the challenges and opportunities ahead for the Graduate
School, as well as your confidential suggestions of colleagues who might
succeed Theda as its dean. I trust that youâll write to me in the
coming weeks about these matters.
With my best wishes and thanks,
Jeremy R. Knowles