Campus & Community

Lewis to conclude service as College offices unite:

4 min read

Undergraduate offices undergoing reorganization

Harry R. Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, will conclude his service as dean of Harvard College on June 30. Lewis has served in this position since July 1995. He will remain as a member of the Faculty with the additional title of Harvard College Professor, an honor given to the most dedicated teachers on the Faculty.

“Harry Lewis has been a great dean of Harvard College,” William C. Kirby, dean of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said. “He has tackled, fearlessly, the most difficult issues facing undergraduate life and Harvard College. He is a superb administrator, who has earned the deep respect of students and faculty colleagues, not to mention of the excellent staff he has assembled. He has brought to his work a passion and devotion to Harvard that is unsurpassed. He has taught courses throughout his deanship. For his teaching and for his dedication to undergraduate education, he is richly deserving of being named Harvard College Professor.”

Lewis said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve Harvard for the past eight years as dean of Harvard College, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with so many outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae in that capacity. My very best wishes and highest hopes are with the president and the dean of the Faculty as they implement the new administrative structures for undergraduate affairs.”

Professor Jeremy R. Knowles, former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said, “As the first faculty member in several decades to serve as the dean of Harvard College, Harry Lewis has guided the College with principled concern and an unmatched commitment to our students, for the past eight years. His openness and persuasiveness have transformed so many aspects of undergraduate life: from faculty advising to the Houses, and from public service to athletics. He has been indefatigable, a champion for logical discourse, and he has articulated – wisely, warmly, and supportively – the shape of the undergraduate experience at Harvard.”

As dean of Harvard College, Lewis has made numerous contributions to the quality of undergraduate life, both social and academic. He has brought about changes in the undergraduate Houses that better reflect the diversity and complexity of the undergraduate student body. His attention to student public service has resulted in the development of a volunteer program that is universally respected and imitated. He has been instrumental in improving the quality and availability of health care for students, and the quality of advising and student support staff within the Houses.

Kirby has now begun a series of consultations to reorganize the offices of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Dean of Harvard College, with the aim of fully integrating these two important offices as the College enters into a major review of undergraduate education.

Last fall, Kirby announced that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences would begin the first comprehensive review of the undergraduate curriculum in nearly 30 years. The examination of the curriculum, he said, was an essential part of a broader look at the overall undergraduate experience.

“As I have studied these issues over the past eight months,” Kirby said, “and as we enter a review of all parts of the undergraduate educational experience, I have become convinced that we need to integrate better our support of our students’ academic work with our support of their interests and well-being outside the classroom. The current division of responsibility between the offices of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Dean of the College separates functions that are better united. We will be consulting broadly with students, faculty, and staff as we proceed.”