With thousands of foreign scholars coming to Cambridge and Boston to study and to pursue careers in research or teaching, Harvard has long been a global university. Increasingly, in addition to being a global destination, Harvard has been extending itself to locations around the world, either in partnerships with governments and institutions or through physical sites.
To that end, University Provost Steven E. Hyman, in consultation with the deans, convened a faculty task force charged with reviewing Harvard’s policies and practices surrounding its international projects, and making recommendations that would enable the University to capitalize on these activities, while remaining mindful of the broad range of variables involved. The task force issued a comprehensive report of assessments and recommendations that Hyman reviewed and approved.
The report of the task force states: “For the University to remain a global leader in teaching and research, it is essential that the University continue to engage internationally and to maintain a significant and vibrant presence outside of the United States.” However, while there are benefits to be reaped, there are also risks to be avoided, including possible risks to the physical safety of faculty and students in foreign countries, the protection of Harvard’s name and identity, the compliance by Harvard with the laws and customs of foreign jurisdictions, and others.
Principal among the task force’s recommendations was the call to create a new position within the Provost’s Office to oversee all of Harvard’s international initiatives and policies. The new vice provost for international affairs will provide critically important leadership and management relating to international collaborations and education.
“Every year appropriately sees an increase in Harvard’s level of global engagement,” said Hyman. “With this increased presence in the international arena comes a greater responsibility to oversee and manage the standards, risks, and strategies of our myriad projects abroad. The vice provost for international affairs will work with me and with the deans to organize and coordinate our international activities, bringing disparate parts of the University together.”
The search process for the vice provost for international affairs begins in early 2006 and will be carried out by Senior Vice Provost Evelynn Hammonds.