Jay M. Harris, a longtime member of the Harvard faculty who has also served in a variety of administrative roles at the University, has been named Harvard College’s new dean of undergraduate education. His appointment, by Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds, was effective July 1.
In this new position, Harris will work with Hammonds and the Office for Academic Programs on supervising all aspects of the undergraduate curriculum. He will oversee the new Program in General Education, the Freshman Seminars Program, the Office of International Programs, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Harvard Writing Program, and the Advising Programs Office.
In her acknowledgment of Harris’ appointment, Hammonds commented, “I am delighted that Jay Harris will join us in reinforcing undergraduate education as the centerpiece of Harvard College. Jay’s commitment to undergraduates is long-standing and well known. He also brings a wealth of experience and deep institutional knowledge to this new role, and our students will reap the benefits of his wisdom and administrative savvy. I’m pleased that we will add Jay’s considerable skills to an already strong team here in the College.”
Harris has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1989. He is currently the Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. In 2000, he was named a Harvard College Professor, a five-year appointment recognizing outstanding undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Since 2003 he has served as co-master of Cabot House. Harris has also authored or edited nine books. He was editor of the Association for Jewish Studies Review from 2000 to 2004. For the past year Harris was senior adviser to former College Dean David Pilbeam, after serving as director of Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies from 2001 to 2006.
Harris holds a B.A. from Columbia University, awarded in 1978; master’s degrees from Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary, awarded in 1980 and 1983, respectively; and a Ph.D. from Columbia, awarded in 1985. After various teaching appointments at Columbia, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, he joined Harvard as an assistant professor of Jewish studies in 1989. Harris was named the Harris K. Weston Associate Professor of the Humanities in 1991, and the Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies in 1994.