Campus & Community

New dean for Harvard Summer School

3 min read

Sandra Naddaff will oversee 6,000 students, 300 courses

Sandra Naddaff, director of the College’s Freshman Seminar Program and director of studies in literature, will become dean of the Harvard Summer School, Huntington D. Lambert, dean of the Division of Continuing Education, announced today.

Naddaff will succeed Donald H. Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany, who left as Summer School dean to become interim dean of Harvard College in July.

In addition to her directors’ positions, Naddaff ’75, A.M. ’78, Ph.D. ’83, is also a senior lecturer in literature. Her long history at Harvard includes serving as Mather House master (1993-2010) and membership on numerous faculty committees.

“Sandra Naddaff has a true love of our students and the Harvard experience, as well as a wealth of teaching and administrative experience here at Harvard, which will be tremendous assets as we continue to strengthen and grow the Summer School,” said Lambert. “Across the Division of Continuing Education, we are committed to our goal of preserving the core while stimulating progress by being leaders in learning and pedagogy through innovation, access, and sustainability. Our goal every day is to extend the high quality Harvard is known for to students from around the world. Having Sandra lead the Summer School and our existing amazing team assures that we will achieve those goals for the students who come here to live the Harvard experience in the summer months.”

Naddaff first came to Harvard as an undergraduate and began teaching in the Department of Comparative Literature soon after receiving her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has been an instructor in both undergraduate and graduate courses. As director of studies in literature, Naddaff oversees the undergraduate program in comparative literature, which includes advising students, developing curriculum and pedagogy, and formulating policy related to the program. She also oversees the development and management of more than 130 seminars designed for first-year students as director of the Freshman Seminar Program. Her appointment as Summer School dean is effective immediately.

“I am delighted to be joining the Harvard Summer School, and am especially excited by the opportunity to work with such a broad range of programs and students, both here on our Cambridge campus and abroad,” Naddaff said. “The connection between the Summer School and the College is a strong and important one. I look forward to working with my colleagues to support the work of the Harvard Summer School in this exciting moment of pedagogical and curricular innovation.”

The Summer School is a credit-granting academic program that provides opportunities for students to experience Harvard and utilize its resources. Founded in 1871, it is the oldest academic summer session in the nation. The School enrolls about 6,000 students in more than 300 courses on Harvard’s Cambridge campus and abroad. It boasts a diverse student body that ranged in age from 14 to 81 last summer, from every state and 103 countries. In addition to bringing students to Harvard, the Summer School sends about 550 students — led by Harvard faculty — to 25 international sites.

About 20 percent of Summer School attendees are Harvard College students taking courses for credit to fulfill academic requirements. Other participants include high school students, students from other colleges seeking course credits, and adults and professionals looking to bolster their knowledge and skills. Most students live on campus with Harvard proctors, gaining a taste of the Harvard College experience.

All Summer School students have access to distinguished faculty from Harvard and to visiting scholars, well-equipped labs, exceptional museums, and the largest university library system in the world.