Campus & Community

Search begins for new dean of Radcliffe Institute

3 min read

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Since its founding just over a decade ago, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has become an integral part of Harvard and of the larger community of scholars. It has emerged as a widely recognized leader in fostering lively intellectual inquiry across the disciplines, the professions, and the creative arts, while sustaining a commitment to the study of women, gender, and society as a dimension of its wider mission.

As many of you know, this past June Barbara Grosz concluded a decade of devoted leadership first as Radcliffe’s dean of science and then as its dean. On July 1, Lizabeth Cohen took up the role of interim dean. I write now to invite your advice on the search for a new dean of the Radcliffe Institute.

I would welcome your thoughts on the institute’s major opportunities and challenges in the years ahead, as a broad-based center of scholarly enterprise and as a crossroads for intensive interdisciplinary inquiry within the larger University.

In addition, I would be grateful for observations on the key qualities to seek in the institute’s next dean, as well as nominations of individuals — within or beyond Harvard — who merit serious consideration.

You may direct your thoughts to me in confidence, by email to, or by letter to Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138.

I have asked a diverse array of colleagues, a number of them currently or formerly affiliated with Radcliffe, to work with me as an advisory group for the search. They include: Joanna Aizenberg (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), Allan Brandt (FAS–History of Science, Medical School), Lucien Castaing-Taylor (FAS–Visual and Environmental Studies), Nancy Cott (FAS–History), Marla Frederick (FAS–African and African American Studies, Study of Religion), Robin Kelsey (FAS–History of Art and Architecture), Adriaan Lanni (Law School), Jennifer Leaning (School of Public Health), Dutch Leonard (Business School, Kennedy School), Claire Messud (author, former Radcliffe fellow), Robert Sampson (FAS–Sociology), Dimitar Sasselov (FAS–Astronomy), Maria Tatar (FAS–Germanic Languages and Literatures, Folklore and Mythology), and John Wakeley (FAS–Organismic and Evolutionary Biology).

I thank them in advance for what I know will be an illuminating set of discussions. And I thank all of you in anticipation of your thoughtful advice and counsel as we launch the search for the next dean of the Radcliffe Institute — a part of the University whose evolution has mattered so much to me and whose future matters greatly to Harvard.

Drew Faust