Campus & Community

Herschbach, Bisson to assume new roles in Harvard College

4 min read

Georgene Herschbach, a longtime member of the Harvard community who has served the campus in a wide range of capacities, has been named to the new position of dean for administration in Harvard College, Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds and Jay Harris, dean of undergraduate education, jointly announced Aug. 19.

Hammonds and Harris also announced the appointment of Noël Bisson as associate dean in the College’s newly renamed Office of Undergraduate Education, formerly the Office of Academic Programs, where she will assume many of Herschbach’s current responsibilities.

“We are making a conscious effort to reshape the College’s structure to better correspond with the administrative offices of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” Hammonds says. “This integration of roles will help the College and FAS to better coordinate our activities, priorities, and strategic planning. As importantly, this is an early step in the process of thinking about new ways to knit together undergraduate academics and student services so as to enrich our students’ experiences both inside and outside the classroom.”

As dean for administration, effective immediately, Herschbach will be responsible for planning, strategic management, and coordination of services supporting the undergraduate experience in Harvard College. Her portfolio will include the College’s offices of Residential Life, Student Activities, and Administration and Finance, as well as responsibility for student counseling and human resources.

“I can think of no more qualified candidate than Georgene Herschbach to serve as dean for administration in Harvard College,” Hammonds says. “During her lengthy service to Harvard, she has held leadership roles in many of the offices that will now report to her. I am thrilled that she has agreed to serve in this important capacity.”

Since earning her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard in 1969, Herschbach has served as co-master of Currier House, assistant dean and director of special programs, registrar, and associate dean for administration and finance.

She has served since 2005 as associate dean for academic programs in the College, where she has supervised Freshman Seminars, Expository Writing, International Programs, the Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE), the Core Program, and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

Herschbach’s new purview will complement that of Jay Harris, who became the College’s dean of undergraduate education on July 1. Harris says, “I am gratified that Georgene Herschbach will be right down the hall sharing her wisdom and vast knowledge of Harvard. I am certain that her influence will continue to be felt in all aspects of the undergraduate curriculum, even as she moves into a new set of duties.”

Bisson, currently associate dean and secretary of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will assume her new duties effective immediately. She will supervise the Office of Undergraduate Education, working with the dean for undergraduate education and the dean of Harvard College to identify priorities in the academic program and define academic policy. Additionally, she will provide administrative and programmatic support for several programs, including the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Harvard College Writing Program, and the Office of International Programs.

“Noël Bisson’s new role as a key player in shaping and guiding our undergraduate programs reflects her passion for liberal arts education and its importance in today’s world,” Hammonds says. “She brings to this position both administrative savvy and a keen interest in our students honed by her experience as a teacher and adviser.”

Harris added, “I am delighted to welcome Noël back to the Office of Undergraduate Education, and look forward to working with her on many aspects of the undergraduate experience. Her wealth of experience and insight, as well as her demonstrated administrative skills, will be invaluable as we move forward.”

Bisson earned a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard in 1998. After completing her doctorate, she served as a lecturer in the Department of Music and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning from 2000 to 2001.

Before being named associate dean and secretary of FAS in 2007, Bisson was assistant dean for academic programs in the College, overseeing the allocation of the instructional support budget and working with several Faculty Standing Committees. From 2002 to 2006 Bisson was a lecturer in the Department of Music at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., and then served as assistant and associate dean of the college at Colgate. In this decanal role she chaired Colgate’s student disciplinary board, developed and wrote legislation for a new disciplinary program that was adopted by the faculty and board of trustees, served on a wide range of academic committees that spanned many areas of college life, and was administrative adviser to 350 undergraduates each year.