President of Harvard University
Head of Harvard University / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The president of Harvard University is the chief administrator of Harvard University and the ex officio president of the Harvard Corporation. Each is appointed by and is responsible to the other members of that body, who delegate to the president the day-to-day running of the university.
|President of Harvard University|
since July 1, 2018 (2018-07-01)
|First holder||Henry Dunster|
|Website||Office of the President|
Harvard is a famously decentralized university, noted for the "every tub on its own bottom" independence of its various constituent faculties. They set their own academic standards and manage their own budgets. The president, however, plays an important part in university-wide planning and strategy. Each names a faculty's dean (and, since the foundation of the office in 1994, the university's provost), and grants tenure to recommended professors; however, the president is expected to make such decisions after extensive consultation with faculty members.
Harvard presidents have traditionally influenced educational practices nationwide. Charles W. Eliot, for example, originated America's familiar system of a smorgasbord of elective courses available to each student; James B. Conant worked to introduce standardized testing; Derek Bok and Neil L. Rudenstine argued for the continued importance of diversity in higher education.
Recently, however, the job has become increasingly administrative, especially as fund-raising campaigns have taken on central importance in large institutions such as Harvard. Some have criticized this trend to the extent it has prevented the president from focusing on substantive issues in higher education.
Each president is professor in some department of the university and teaches from time to time.
Harvard's current president is Lawrence Bacow, formerly the president of Tufts University. Claudine Gay will succeed him on July 1, 2023, becoming Harvard's 30th president.