Campus & Community

Donald Pfister chosen as new dean of Harvard Summer School

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Donald Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany at Harvard University and curator of the Farlow Herbarium, will become dean of the Harvard Summer School effective Jan. 1, 2008, announced Michael Shinagel, dean of Continuing Education and University Extension in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). He succeeds Robert Lue, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology and director of Life Sciences Education.

Commenting on the appointment, Shinagel noted, “It is serendipitous to have the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany become the dean of the Summer School, since it was Asa Gray as professor of botany in 1871 who founded the Summer School.”

Pfister brings to his half-time appointment as dean a wealth of teaching and administrative experience at Harvard. He has taught courses in plant and fungal biology in settings ranging from freshman seminars to graduate seminars. He was master of Kirkland House (1982-2000), was director of Harvard University Herbaria and Libraries, and served on many FAS committees. He has taught courses in both the Harvard Extension School, the Summer School, and has served on the Administrative Board for University Extension since 1998.

Lue, who has served as dean half time since 2003, leaves the Summer School much improved during his tenure, having broadened the curriculum, established closer ties with FAS academic departments, instituted an excellent summer study abroad program, and strengthened the secondary school student program. His expanded roles as a teacher, researcher, and administrator in the life sciences necessitate his full-time commitment to FAS at this time.

Lue has agreed to serve as a senior academic adviser to the dean for the spring term to ensure that the course program is implemented effectively for this coming summer. “I applaud the appointment of Donald Pfister as the new dean and know that his wide experience and familiarity with the Summer School will guarantee its continued growth and success,” Lue said.