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Graduate Students Vote to Unionize

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:14:54 +0000

Graduate Students Vote to Unionize Marina N. Bolotnikova union electionHarvard graduate students have voted 1,931-1,523 to form a labor union, per a count taken at the regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Boston today. The outcome means that thousands of Harvard graduate and undergraduate students engaged in teaching and research can begin collective bargaining with the University through the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers (HGSU-UAW), unless Harvard challenges the results of the election.  The election took place April 18 and 19 at polling places in Cambridge, Longwood, and Allston, covering an electorate of more than 4,500 graduate students in teaching and research positions and 300 undergraduates in teaching positions. Representatives from Harvard, HGSU-UAW, and the NLRB gathered to count the ballots nearly all day Friday. A total of 146 students voted under challenge (meaning they weren’t on the list of eligible voters), which was not enough to affect the outcome of the election. The election is Harvard’s second: graduate students also voted on unionizing in November 2016, an election that turned out to be inconclusive. An initial vote count showed that 1,456 students voted against unionizing and 1,272 in favor, but a significant number of ballots cast were under challenge. After more than a year of legal battles that reached the federal NLRB in Washington, Harvard was ordered to hold a second election when the NLRB ruled that the University had failed to provide a complete list of eligible voters prior to the election, creating confusion about eligibility. Harvard graduate students have been organizing to form a labor union for more than three years, citing many conditions that they hoped to improve through collective bargaining with the University—among them salary levels, access to dental insurance and dependent health insurance, and consistency in pay for teaching course sections. Many students pointed out that the University guarantees health insurance for only five years, even though doctoral candidates in many departments (particularly in the humanities) take longer to complete their degrees. In August 2016, the NLRB ruled that graduate students at private universities should be considered employees with the right to form unions. Harvard has argued at every stage of the process that graduate students have an academic, not a managerial, relationship with their faculty advisers and with the University. “Both collective bargaining and arbitration are, by their very nature, adversarial,” the University argued in a February 2016 amicus brief in the same case. “They clearly have the potential to transform the collaborative model of graduate education to one of conflict and tension.” In an email sent to the Harvard community this month, provost Alan Garber wrote that a union would also prevent individual students from negotiating their working conditions directly with the University: “A majority ‘yes’ vote means that the HGSU-UAW would be the sole channel through which students in covered positions could have a say on wages, benefits, appointments, work hours, and work conditions. The HGSU-UAW would negotiate with the University’s Office of Labor and Employee Relations on behalf of thousands of students in more than 60 distinct academic programs to try to reach a contract in the same way that other unions on campus negotiate.”Harvard’s is one of the most high-profile graduate-student union elections taking place on the national stage. Graduate students at Columbia,  72 percent of whom voted to unionize in December 2016, recently voted to strike after the administration announced that, rather than bargain with them, it would seek judicial review of the NLRB’s position on graduate students’ bargaining rights. That process would have implications for student-unionization rights nationwide. Columbia had already appealed its graduate-student union election unsuccessfully multiple times through the NLRB.The Second Vote in ContextHGSU-[...]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Will Speak at Class Day

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:01:01 +0000

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will speak at Harvard Class Day
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie class day

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will address graduating Harvard College seniors in Tercentenary Theatre on Class Day, May 23.

The decorated writer is best known for her novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), as well as her feminist lectures and writing, most recently in her book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017). Her books and stories sketch the lives of Nigerians before and after colonization and the Nigerian Civil War, and the experience of Nigerians in diaspora. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute in 2011-2012. 

“We are honored to welcome Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as our Class Day speaker,” said First Marshal Berkeley Brown ’18, co-chair of the speaker selection committee, in a University press release. “Her eloquence and perspective as a writer and public speaker have inspired audiences to look beyond stereotypes and social norms to recognize our common humanity.”

Adichie was selected by a committee of the class of 2018’s elected marshals, who plan events for senior week and support class cohesion after graduation. Since 1968, when the senior class first began inviting guest speakers to Class Day, nine alumni have been selected. Last year’s Class Day speaker was former U.S. vice president Joe Biden.

Class Day events will begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, in Tercentenary Theatre.

Cinema Through Dualities

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 15:48:29 +0000

Wim Wenders delivers the third Norton Lecture on Cinema Sophia Nguyen wim wenders norton lecturesEvery time he cued up a clip, and the lights dimmed in Sanders Theatre, the director Wim Wenders would step back behind the screen. Hands in pockets, head bowed, he’d take a little walk in the dark, and then wander back to the podium to continue speaking. Wenders’ talks on April 2 and 9, the final installment in the 2018 Norton Lectures on Cinema, were centrally concerned with space and how it’s traversed. Journeys have been a defining theme of his career. Associated with the New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Wenders channeled his generation’s thirst for freedom into rambling, drifting road movies. His first lecture at Harvard, “The Visible and the Invisible,” discussed cinema through a series of dualities: the seen and unseen; respect and disrespect; attraction and repulsion. As a young filmmaker, said Wenders, “I was convinced that films were strictly the realm of the visible. Of course, I was a very good socialist. After all, it was 1968. And so my creed was that films dealt with the material world, period.” He played two sequences from his early feature, The Goalie’s Fear at the Penalty Kick: one in which the main character, Bloch, pokes through the apartment of an old flame, and another that captures an apple hanging in a tree. Though his editor complained that the latter shot had no meaning, Wenders argued, “It’s a real thing. It’s just there, without a purpose. That’s enough for me.” Like the soccer player, at the time he was interested only in people and in things. “No metaphysics loomed behind the surface. There was no behind.”Fifteen years later, Wenders’ outlook changed, and his movie Wings of Desire followed the flight paths of unseen angels in Berlin. One, Damiel, falls in love with a trapeze artist, and in the clip Wenders played, follows her to her trailer, touching her personal objects and then, very gently, her shoulders. By then, he explained, he’d learned that movies can also access the invisible.“What is it that you remember of the movies you've seen? Think of your favorite film. What has remained? What is it that you treasure? Picture it,” he later instructed.  “I’m sure you cannot see it in front of your eye, so to speak, shot by shot with dialogue, music, sound framing camera moves—no. Then your brains would be data storage units.” Rather, Wenders said, people remember what these films evoked, or provoked, in them. He learned this lesson most acutely during a painful period in his life when his production company went bankrupt, and the rights to his films went into private ownership. The works seemed orphaned, he said, until he realized that they ultimately belonged to the audience who loved them. Movies only lived as long as they were watched, and remembered. Eventually he bought back the movies through a nonprofit foundation, and began restoring them digitally so that they’d be accessible to the public.He illustrated this point with a clip one of his favorite films, Francois Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. Montag, a former Fireman, seeks refuge in a colony of literature-lovers. There, each inhabitant memorizes a different work, word by word, so that they can be passed down forever. When works belong to the public, and live on in the imaginations of the viewers, said Wenders, “This is the last kingdom of appropriation.”One last duality: a generous work opens “ample space” for the audience to read between the lines, or the frames; a “stingy” work leaves little. Wenders concluded his lecture using another’s voice, a clip of Leonard Cohen singing “Anthem”: “Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” Wenders also opened his second lecture by digging down into its title, “Poetry in Motion”—a topic that “seemed right down my alley, something to think about together with you. “[...]

A Progress Report on Faculty Diversity

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:03:59 +0000

A Progress Report on Faculty Diversity Marina N. Bolotnikova faculty demographics diversityJust last year, the statistics department hired its first tenured female professor, Susan Murphy. Lauren Williams ’00 will join the math department next fall, the second tenured woman in that department’s history. Their hires reflect Harvard’s growing interest in the diversity of its faculty. For the last decade, the University has tracked its progress in recruiting and retaining faculty who are more inclusive in terms of race and gender; according to the newest annual faculty-diversity report, published today by the office of the senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity, 27 percent of tenured faculty are women as of last September—up from 26 percent last year and 21 percent in 2008. Underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans) make up 8 percent of tenured faculty—unchanged from last year and up from 5 percent a decade ago.These gains may sound small, but turnover among professors is extremely slow, so changes in the composition of the faculty occur in small increments each year. In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), women represent 27 percent of tenured and 43 percent of tenure-track faculty members; underrepresented minorities represent 9 percent of both tenured and tenure-track faculty, and Asian-Americans,12 percent of tenured and 21 percent of tenure-track faculty. Of the 14 FAS faculty members who were reviewed internally for tenure in 2016-2017, nine were promoted, including six of nine men and three of nine women. In most parts of the University, said Judith Singer, the senior vice provost, department heads no longer need to be convinced that diversifying their ranks matters: “For most of our faculty—not everyone—there is increased interest in increasing the diversity of the faculty. The pitch now is quite different than the pitch was 25 years ago. People recognize that the students who are sitting in their classes are more diverse than the faculty; the graduate students we’re admitting are more diverse than the faculty, and by not searching widely for talent, you’re actually overlooking talent.”Faculty search committees are expected to understand the demographics of new Ph.D. graduates in their fields, and to look beyond their own networks in recruiting. “There are some fields where the numbers [of female and minority graduates] are very, very small,” Singer said. “But even in fields where the numbers are very small, if you search widely for talent, you are more likely to find it than if you just call up the people you know….People would call up their friends—all men—and say, ‘Who do you have coming on the market?’”Singer gives outgoing FAS dean Michael Smith “an enormous amount of credit” for his dedication to faculty diversity. “He has worked quite aggressively during his tenure to reshape the FAS faculty,” she said. Smith, for example, approved a search for a scholar of indigenous history, which resulted in the hire of Harvard’s first professor of Native American history earlier this year, Philip Deloria (who is himself Native American). Both he and statistics recruit Susan Murphy were external hires from the University of Michigan. (“I feel bad for the University of Michigan!” Singer said. “But their loss is our gain.”)In December, a study led by Elena Kramer, chair of organismic and evolutionary biology, and Radhika Nagpal, professor of computer science, found that in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, 69 percent of female junior professors stayed long enough to come up for tenure review, compared to 84 percent of men. The report attributed the disparity to implicit bias against women, “institutional and structural barriers, such as problematic maternal/paternal leave policies, inadequate infant/early childcare on campus, and poor support for dual academic career couples that is su[...]

Gender and the Academy

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 13:05:08 +0000

Harvard women on gender in academy John S. Rosenberg Harvard women on gender in academyThe April 6 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s opinion section, The Chronicle Review, is devoted entirely to the theme of “The Awakening: Women and Power in the Academy,” featuring essay responses from women academics on that theme. Here are excerpts from some of those essays. “I have no idea what the new university will look like…”Maggie Doherty, Ph.D. ’15, lecturer on history and literature:“As the years went by, and I advanced toward the Ph.D., the rules for women became more numerous, and the box for acceptable  behavior grew smaller still. Do be an approachable teacher, but don’t be too friendly with your students, or they’ll take advantage of you. Don’t wear a dress to your MLA [Modern Language Association] interview; you’ll be in a hotel room, possibly proximate to a bed, and men won’t be able to stop themselves from sexualizing you. At your job talk, be sure to say ‘thank you’ after each question; men shouldn’t do this—they would appear obsequious—but women must (or so a female faculty member advised me). Be extremely careful when speaking about partners or families, or you might not get the job.…“The historian Joan Wallach Scott once warned that scholars couldn’t insert gender into their research as though adding a new room on a house already built; they’d have to begin again from the bottom. If the university is to commit itself to gender equality, if it really wants to redistribute power, then everything must change, from the broadest policies to the smallest habits. Traditions will have to be broken; the past will no longer be perfectly reproduced. Working from a new blueprint can mean challenge and error, but it can produce unexpected success. I have no idea what the new university will look like, but I’m eager to see it take shape.”“The most important way to advance the position of women in academe…”Mary Beth Norton, Ph.D. ’69, Alger professor of American history at Cornell University and president of the American Historical Association:“In 1969, I joined the history department at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. I had three female colleagues: two other junior women and a senior chaired professor, a rarity in those days. Yet that pattern was familiar to me from my undergraduate education at the University of Michigan, where the only woman in the history department was a distinguished older scholar. Harvard, my graduate institution, had just one female historian, who was untenured and had been selected from among recent Harvard Ph.D.s. I learned subsequently that both the senior women I knew had experienced significant gender discrimination during their careers.…“In 1971 I moved to Cornell, where I was the first woman ever hired in the history department—indeed, the first woman ever interviewed for a position. The department had been training female graduate students for decades but had seemingly never considered hiring any of them. For five years, I remained the only woman in the department.…“My prior experience at UConn helped as I coped with a chair who started department meetings by saying ‘gentlemen,’ and who once directed a memo to ‘Professor X, Professor Y, and Miss Norton.’…“As Rosabeth Moss Kanter [Arbuckle professor of business administration] observed in her 1977 book, Men and Women of the Corporation, the presence of a critical mass of women can be instrumental in changing a work culture. As more women were hired, the department became more welcoming to everyone. More women meant that gender no longer served as an important identifier.…“My own history, coupled with my scholarship on powerful women in the past, suggests to me that the most important way to advance the position of women in academe is to increase their relative share of appointments.”“An environment in which claims[...]

Harvard College to Merge Freshmen, Student Life Offices

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 15:30:00 +0000

Harvard College to Merge Freshmen, Student Life Offices Marina N. Bolotnikova dean office of students mergerThe Freshman Dean’s Office (FDO) and Office of Student Life (OSL) will merge into one dean of students office, dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana announced in an email today. The change will take effect in July, once dean of freshmen Thomas Dingman has stepped down after 13 years of service.Dingman’s position won’t be filled; the new office will be headed by the current dean of students, Katie O’Dair, who has played an important role in implementing the College’s sanctions on final clubs and other single-gender social groups. The restructuring won’t result in any layoffs or eliminations of programming, but will change the duties of some employees working in the two offices, who will now be expected to consider both the freshman and upperclassman experiences. The change is intended to integrate student programming across undergraduates’ four years at the College, and to ensure that resources are provided consistently in each year. “This new office will centralize services that are currently offered by both the OSL and the FDO in a way that ensures continuity in the extensive support systems—both academic and residential—that are available to all students,” Khurana wrote. “This new structure addresses student feedback to enable a smoother transition from the first-year dorms to the Houses, and it will enable us to facilitate additional connections between first-year students and upper-class students.” Dingman’s decision to step down created the opportunity to rethink the structure of the offices that shape the student experience, including freshman orientation, advising, and the transition to life in the Houses. “Whenever you have a change—whether it’s a change in leadership, or thinking about how our student body is changing, it’s an opportunity to reexamine your point of arrival,” Khurana said in an interview. “It’s an opportunity to think: where are we setting the bar?...What are the opportunities that we’re not yet taking advantage of? What are the opportunities that we’re learning from the newest research on college students and their development? What is the environment that today’s college student is facing that is different from the environment that was appropriate when we set up the previous structure?”College administrators frequently receive feedback from students about the challenges of transitioning from freshman year to life in the Houses, Khurana said, and he sees the merger as an opportunity to integrate advising from the freshman into the sophomore year. “It’s really an opportunity to introduce students in a more intentional way to the liberal arts and what the goals of liberal arts and sciences education are,” he added.“I’m delighted to be asked to lead this new organization,” O’Dair said in an interview. “We’re just in the nascent stages of building this organization…we have a lot of work to do to integrate our operations, to really think through what all four years are going to look like.” Part of that longer-term work, she continued, “is to identify what the outcomes are for a four-year residential campus life experience...and to map all the programs, initiatives, and support structures to those.”The new office’s work will fall into four programmatic areas: residential life; student engagement; equity, diversity, and inclusion; and advising. She said there would still be staff dedicated to the first-year residential experience, and that the change wouldn’t detract from the resources devoted to freshman year. “Having a structured, intentional first-year experience provides the foundation for the remaining years,” she said. “What we want to do is build upon the incredible work of the FDO and keep that infrastructure in place.” [...]

Harvard College Admits 4.6 Percent of Applicants to Class of 2022

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 23:00:00 +0000

Harvard College Admits 4.6 Percent of Applicants to Class of 2022 Marina N. Bolotnikova 2022 admissionsThe College has admitted 1,962 of 42,749 applicants to the class of 2022 (nearly half of them—964—had already been admitted through early action in December). The 4.6 percent admit rate is Harvard’s lowest ever, reflecting both an 8 percent increase in the number of applications received this year and the admissions office’s announcement that it would accept slightly fewer students this year after enrollment in the class of 2021 exceeded expectations.First-generation students represent 17.3 percent of those admitted (up from 15.1 percent last year), and 20.3 percent of the cohort are eligible for federal Pell Grants, a commonly used proxy for low-income status. The share of low-income students is the College’s highest ever, according to the admissions office—notable given the College’s largely affluent student body (as of a few years ago, the majority of students came from families in the top 10 percent of the income distribution). Sixteen percent of current undergraduates receive Pell Grants.The racial profile of the class is similar to last year’s: African-Americans represent 15.5 percent of admits, Asian-Americans 22.7 percent, Latinos 12.2 percent, Native Americans 2 percent, and Native Hawaiians 0.4 percent. Twelve percent are international students. Through the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), students from families earning less than $65,000 per year pay nothing to attend Harvard, and those from families earning up to $150,000 typically pay on a graduated scale, up to 10 percent of their families’ annual incomes. HFAI “has totally transformed our ability to reach out to students who traditionally might not have thought about applying to Harvard–or to any college–because of college costs. The clear message HFAI provides—that college is affordable for low- and middle-income students—has led many students to Harvard and to other public and private colleges as well,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid.The sticker price (before financial aid) of attendance will increase to $67,580 next year, up 3 percent from $65,609 this year. Total cost of attendance crossed $60,000 for the first time in the 2016-2017 academic year, $50,000 for the first time in 2010-2011, and $40,000 in 2005-2006 (tuition data going back to 1985 are available in the Harvard University Fact Book).  This summer, the College plans a pilot launch of an optional four-day pre-orientation program for low-income and first-generation students. The Freshman Dean’s Office hasn’t released details of the program (a summary appears here), but it would, presumably, resemble some version of the more substantial programs at peer schools, which combine coursework and immersion in the social environment of college. The College will also continue its start-up grant program, launched in 2016, for freshmen from families earning $65,000 or less. Eligible students receive grants of $2,000 to spend on whatever they choose, like books or meals out. The grants are intended to ease students’ transition to life at Harvard, enabling them to participate fully in the academic and social experience.[...]

$10 Million for a More Inclusive Faculty

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 15:00:00 +0000

$10 Million for a More Inclusive Faculty Marina N. Bolotnikova diversity task force reportThe Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, set up by President Drew Faust in 2016, released its final report this morning, with a broad, University-wide set of recommendations to ensure that Harvard “integrate[s] all members of the University into academic, professional, and social contexts”—by changing the final line of the alma mater, increasing support for mental health services, and forming new research centers on identity, politics, and culture, among other steps. President Faust outlined her response to the report in an email to the University community; it included a $250,000 commitment to fund inclusion initiatives, and $10 million for the hiring of faculty whose work is salient to advancing inclusion.The report follows a year and a half of research on diversity at the University with respect to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other categories of identity. Faust convened the task force to “recommend programs or initiatives based in an assessment of how we can make progress toward our goal of a community in which everyone may participate as a full member and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.” The group—which included more than 50 people and was co-chaired by Conant University Professor Danielle Allen, vice president for campus services Meredith Weenick, and McCormack professor of citizenship and self-government Archon Fung—was formed during a climate when Harvard and other universities were being asked to address issues of social justice and diversity, particularly racism: Harvard Law School had recently announced that it would drop its shield, which was linked to a slave owner, and undergraduates had created “I, Too, Am Harvard,” a campaign addressing anti-black racism at the University.“The student bodies across campus have really diversified over the course of the last decade,” Allen said in an interview before the release of the report. “I think lots of people have been doing great work on seeking to ensure that regardless of the background and experience a person brings to campus, they have the opportunity to flourish academically....There was a sense that for all the good work that was happening, there was also still room for improvement to ensure that people had an experience of inclusion on campus and full access to opportunities.”Harvard’s many efforts to advance diversity have previously been disjointed across the University’s schools, Weenick said in an interview. “There’s been a lot of work at the school level…but what can the University do to advance this work in a cohesive way? We think the end result here really points to a cohesive way of thinking and communicating about the issues.”   The report pulls together the many existing statistics on diversity pertaining to students, faculty, and staff members, which show that the University has diversified greatly with respect to race and gender at the College level, but less so among the faculty themselves and some graduate-school departments. It identifies four main challenges to inclusion on campus:not all of Harvard’s schools have diversified their ranks;not all members of the Harvard community feel integrated and included;Harvard’s increasing diversity has created conflict in some cases, such as among those who believe academic freedom and inclusion are incompatible goals; andHarvard hasn’t yet worked out a narrative about its own contributions to past social inequities. “We will need an honest institutional history and efforts to revisit how we weave past to present and future through our repertoire of symbols,” the report reads. At their listening sessions, Weenick said, task force members learned that “many individuals feel that they’re robust members of this community, and many do not. And t[...]

Cost of Attendance Will Increase 3 Percent in 2018-19

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 13:51:10 +0000

Cost of Attendance Will Increase 3 Percent in 2018-19
cost of attendance 3 percent increase

Total cost of attendance (including tuition, housing, and fees) at the College will increase by 3 percent to $67,580 in 2018-2019, up from $65,609 this year. The increase is notably lower than it has been in recent years (last year’s cost represented a 4.1 percent increase from the previous year), as cost of attendance approaches $70,000.

Harvard’s tuition will be slightly lower than its peer schools in the Ivy League (a fact noted prominently in the University’s press release): $69,430 at Yale, $70,010 at Princeton, and $71,200 at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s slightly higher than Stanford’s, at $67,117.

Growth in tuition costs has outpaced inflation for decades; annual increases have been somewhat lower, in percentage terms, since the 2008 financial crisis. Total cost of attendance crossed $60,000 for the first time in the 2016-2017 academic year, and $50,000 for the first time in 2010-2011.

Most students, of course, won’t pay the sticker price: students from families earning less than $65,000 per year (about 20 percent of each class) pay nothing, and families earning up to $150,000 typically pay 10 percent or less of their annual income. Families pay $12,000 on average, according to the University. 

This Wednesday, the College will announce admissions results for the class of 2022.

“Good Trouble”

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:50:34 +0000

Students from Parkland speak on gun violence Marina N. Bolotnikova parkland students iop forum emma gonzalezIn the five weeks since a gunman killed 17 people and injured an additional 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students there have coordinated a sustained national gun-control campaign unseen in the aftermath of any other modern mass shooting. Six of them—Ryan Deitsch, Matt Deitsch, Emma González, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind—spoke at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics last night about gun violence, their vision of change, and March for Our Lives, the national demonstration scheduled for this coming Saturday, that calls for national gun-control legislation.News had just trickled in of Tuesday’s school shooting that injured two students in Great Mills, Maryland—a community much less affluent than Parkland; the speakers would allude to it throughout the evening. They had spent the day meeting with Boston public-schools students, Harvard faculty members, President Drew Faust, and others. Moderator Meighan Stone, a former fellow at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, opened with the obvious question: how did the students emerge as leaders in the national gun-control movement so quickly in the wake of the Parkland shooting? “There’s always that moment of decision,” she said, “where maybe unlikely leaders step forward and decide they have power and are going to use their voice.”“While I was in the car on the way home after my father picked my little brother and I up after what happened on Valentine’s Day, I was listening to the news, and I was looking at my phone and seeing what was going on, and I started to realize: I’ve seen this before,” Kasky, a junior at the school, replied. “I’ve seen this happen countless times. And what happens is we get two weeks in the news, we get a bundle of thoughts and prayers, everybody sends flowers, and then it’s over, and people forget. And I said, what’s different this time? I thought about how other movements had not gotten the change that they needed. I realized: we need to step forward now…We spoke out and said, ‘No—you’re not controlling our narrative. You are not telling our story. We were there, we see what’s going on here, the entire United States—we see past this façade that this is inevitable and this is the price of our freedom.’ We know that we can fix this, but we have to jump now.”“If you look up on the stage, you’ll notice that something is missing,” Matt Deitsch, a recent graduate, said, pointing out that five of the six speakers were white men. “It makes me absolutely sick that we’re not sharing the stage right now, but I promise you, when you see us on Saturday, we will be.” Each of the speakers seemed hyper-aware of their privilege relative to the many young people affected by guns in low-income and minority communities. González (who became widely known for her “We call B.S.” speech in the days after the shooting) last week met with students from Chicago affected by gun violence. Alex King, a high-school student who had lost his nephew in a Chicago drive-by shooting, told González after his visit to Florida that “the first day in his entire life that he had ever felt safe were those hours that he spent in Parkland, because his community is not as safe as ours. We’re attacked in the most brutal way for one short day. We could never imagine the stuff that they go through on a daily basis for their entire lives, and it’s time that we did try to imagine that.” Sincere as their remarks were, the students have also proved to be savvy politicians who understand how to stay on mes[...]

FAS Dean Michael D. Smith to Step Down

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:36:50 +0000

FAS Dean Mike Smith to Step Down Marina N. Bolotnikova FAS Dean Mike Smith to Step DownMichael D. Smith will step down from his post as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) after 11 years in the role, he announced in an email to the FAS community today. Smith will serve until incoming president Lawrence S. Bacow, who assumes office July 1, names his successor—a lengthy process that involves a search committee and listening sessions with faculty colleagues, alumni, and students.“While I am genuinely excited by the promise of incoming President Bacow’s tenure, after more than a decade serving the FAS, I am very much looking forward to returning to the classroom and a life of new academic and personal pursuits,” Smith wrote. He continued:The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is an amazing collection of smart, dedicated, and driven individuals who work collaboratively toward one of the most consequential missions ever. During the past decade, our community has responded collectively to a new and stringent set of financial and normative expectations for higher education. And it has adapted quickly to a world that has become increasingly interconnected. I am extremely proud to be part of this community, which has constantly strived to ask the ever bigger, ever more important questions, from climate change to inequality. Especially in our learning mission, through an embrace of making, doing, and performing, Harvard has remained anything but passive. It has been an undeniable privilege for this simple engineer to have had a front-row seat as our community built a foundation within the FAS that will continue Harvard’s commitment to excellence and truth now and into the future.Smith will return to his research and teaching role as Finley professor of engineering and applied sciences. His announcement isn’t especially surprising—Smith has held the position since 2007, when he was appointed by University president Drew Faust, who had herself assumed office that summer.During his tenure, Smith has had to contend with FAS’s financial challenges: 50 percent of the school’s operating budget comes from distributions from the endowment, which was constrained during the 2008 financial crisis and, more recently, following the loss of 5 percent of the endowment’s value in fiscal year 2016. The faculty’s own endowment is still below its peak value in fiscal 2008, and FAS has struggled to support the undergraduate House renewal project and fund new academic initiatives. Last fall, FAS’s social sciences division announced a modest academic initiative focused on inequality in America (a research area Smith wanted to prioritize), which includes resources for symposia, postdoctoral fellowships, research grants, and course development.Undergraduate financial aid has remained a priority: its budget has increased from $103 million in 2007-8 to $180.1 million in the 2016-17 academic year, after presidents Larry Summers and Drew Faust significantly expanded aid and family resources became constrained during the recession (tuition, of course, grew during that same period, from $43,655 to $60,659). Smith’s tenure has also seen a small but significant shift in the makeup of the faculty, after the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was promoted from a division to a school in the fall of 2007. In 2016-17, 27 percent of ladder faculty were in the arts and humanities, 33 percent in the social sciences, and 40 percent in sciences and engineering and applied sciences—compared to 2006, when those numbers were 30 percent, 35 percent, and 35 percent, respectively. Smith is also widely known for his interest in the diversity of the faculty; he has overseen significant increases in faculty diversity in terms of gender and race.  “Mike has g[...]


Mon, 12 Mar 2018 14:19:07 +0000

Harvard basketball at Ivy League Tournament David L. Tannenwald basketball 2018 at Ivy League TournamentOn Sunday afternoon, Penn’s senior guard Darnell Foreman sat on the dais at the Palestra during the post-game press conference. Moments after closing out a 68-65 victory over Harvard in the Ivy League tournament championship game and with the tournament championship trophy to his right, he was wearing a wide grin.It easily could have been Harvard up there, if a couple of things had played out differently. With just over 12 seconds left and Penn ahead by three, Christian Juzang ’20 brought the ball up the floor and handed it off to Justin Bassey ’20, who hoisted a three-point attempt. As Stemberg coach Tommy Amaker said later, Bassey was aggressive and confident but may have slightly rushed the shot, which caromed off the backboard. The rebound fell to freshman Rio Haskett, who swung the ball out to Juzang for another three-point attempt, this time in the corner. But that shot was off, too, and the buzzer sounded, setting off another kind of scramble: the Penn students stormed the floor, and streamers rained down from above. As the Quakers celebrated their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 11 years, Harvard returned to the locker room.That loss ended a disappointing weekend for the Harvard basketball teams. The top-seeded men had advanced to the tournament final after defeating Cornell 74-55 on Saturday, before falling to the Quakers. The Harvard women also lost to Penn, 57-52, in a semifinal on Saturday night. Both teams will miss the NCAA tournament. A Championship SetbackLate in the first half of Saturday’s game against Cornell, it looked as though the men’s team might fall in the semifinal round for the second consecutive year. The Harvard players seemed dazed as they tried to adapt to an array of Big Red defenses and played a little too aggressively themselves on defense. Again and again, the team committed fouls after being beaten on backdoor cuts. Then the momentum shifted: the Crimson closed the half on a 16-4 run, capped by a 40-foot three-pointer by Juzang at the buzzer that put Harvard up 37-32. In the second half, the team didn’t look back. Led by Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns ’20, who had a game-high 24 points, it outscored the Big Red 37-23 en route to a 19-point victory.As the championship game got underway on Sunday, the Harvard players picked up right where they had left off. Benefiting from a balanced offensive attack, the Crimson led 30-17 with just over five minutes left in the first half. Foreman had almost singlehandedly kept his Quakers teammates in the game, scoring 11 of Penn’s first 13 points (the senior finished the first half with 19 points).Then the Quakers went on a 28-2 run that spanned the end of the first half and the start of the second. That stretch featured more heroics from Foreman, who hit a three at the halftime buzzer to give Penn a 34-32 lead. The rest of Penn’s offense started clicking as well, including Ryan Betley (17 points) and AJ Brodeur (16 points), both of whom scored buckets just before Foreman’s buzzer-beater. The surge also woke up the Palestra crowd, which rose to its feet and started making noise, while the Crimson struggled to find the basket. Making matters worse, Towns left the game with a knee injury late in the second half, meaning that any Harvard comeback would have to happen without the team’s best player.Down by 10 (55-45), the Crimson nearly did just that, going on an 13-0 run to take a 58-55 lead with just over five minutes remaining. At that point, the team’s inside-out offense was rolling. Center Chris Lewis ’20 tallied several buckets down low and Bassey drained a three-pointer. Lewis said later that the C[...]

Emma Dench Named Harvard GSAS Dean

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 17:00:00 +0000

Emma Dench named dean of Harvard graduate school John S. Rosenberg Emma Dench dean Harvard graduate schoolMcLean professor of ancient and modern history and of the classics Emma Dench, who has served as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) during the current academic year, will assume that post on a regular basis, effective July 1. She succeeds Jones professor of statistics Xiao-Li Meng, who became GSAS dean in 2012 and is on sabbatical this year, pursuing research in statistics and data science and leading two statistics professional societies.Xiao-Li MengPhotograph by Stephanie Mitchell/HPACAccording to an announcement by Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean Michael D. Smith, Meng will be engaged with the Harvard Data Science Initiative, where he will serve as founding editor-in-chief of a data-science journal to be launched next academic year; he will also begin his service as president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.Dench has had to oversee the planned reduction in the cohort of students entering GSAS, reflecting constraints on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ finances. During the faculty meeting on March 6, she was among those who spoke in favor of moving from a “shopping week” toward preregistration for undergraduate classes each term, in part to provide greater assurance to graduate students about their role and preparation for work as course teaching fellows—an important part of their own professional training. GSAS of course also faces a new student vote on possible unionization, now scheduled for April 18 and 19.Earlier this week, she was able to convey the happy news that “those who receive stipends as part of their financial support packages will see a 3 percent increase in their stipends for the 2018–2019 academic year. I am thrilled to announce this increase and want to thank my colleagues at GSAS and our partners across the University for their efforts to continue enhancing support for our students.” That figure is in line with historical increases, but will be welcomed by students following the 1.5 percent increase that was in effect for the current academic year.Smith noted that Dench, a scholar of Roman republican and early imperial history, “is an outstanding mentor of graduate students, winning the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2015 and serving for many years as director of graduate studies in the department of the classics. GSAS is in exceedingly good hands under her leadership.”He also noted that “Dean Meng has been a champion for GSAS, and I have asked him to continue his efforts to build philanthropic support for graduate education in partnership with Dean Dench. Our students and programs are fortunate to have two such able advocates for their important work.”Read the University announcement here.  [...]

Hillary Clinton to Receive Radcliffe Medal

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:01:00 +0000

Hillary Clinton to receive Radcliffe Medal

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the Radcliffe Medal during the Radcliffe Day luncheon on May 25. Another former secretary of state—Madeleine Albright, the 2001 Radcliffe Medalist—will deliver a personal tribute, followed by a generation-bridging keynote conversation with Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey ’92. 

“Hillary Clinton’s life and career are an inspiration to people around the world,” said dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Lizbeth Cohen in announcing the award. “We commend Secretary Clinton for her accomplishments in the public sphere as a champion for human rights and the welfare of all, as a skilled legislator, and as an advocate of American leadership to create a world in which states—to quote Secretary Clinton—‘have clear incentives to cooperate and live up to their responsibilities, as well as strong disincentives to…sow discord and division.’ We salute her commitment to a life of public service and the resilience it takes to live and work in the public eye.”

In line with the honor to Clinton, Nicholas Burns, Goodman Family professor of the practice of diplomacy and international relations at Harvard Kennedy School, will open the Radcliffe Day program by moderating a panel discussion titled “Toward a New Global Architecure? America’s Role in a Changing World.” The panel will include insights from foreign policy experts Michèle Flournoy ’83, a former undersecretary of defense; Washington Post columnist David Ignatius ’72; political scientist Anne-Marie Slaughter, J.D. ’85, who served in the State Department under Clinton; and Kirkpatrick professor of the practice of international affairs Meghan O’Sullivan.  

The Radcliffe Institute awards the Radcliffe Medal annually to “an individual who has had a transformative impact on society.” Previous honorees include associate justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, LL.D. ’11, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, and former U.S. senator Elizabeth Dole, M.A.T. ’60, J.D. ’65. 

A Gendered Schedule

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 21:40:56 +0000

A Gendered Schedule David L. Tannenwald womens basketball coaches challenge Ivy League tournament scheduleAs the Princeton men’s basketball team pulled away from Penn in overtime of the Ivy League tournament semifinals last March, a Tigers supporter paced just outside the team’s locker room, loudly willing the clock down to zero“Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.”His angst was a microcosm of the excitement swelling through the Palestra that afternoon. A reported 6,209 fans were in attendance, leaving only a small number of seats unfilled in the “Cathedral of College Basketball.” Chants of “Defense!” ricocheted across the gym, and the game was broadcast nationally on ESPNU. As Penn coach Steve Donahue told NBC Sports, “This felt like an NCAA tournament environment.”Roughly five hours later, as the Harvard and Princeton women’s basketball teams finished the second women’s semifinal, the atmosphere was different. The crowd had dissipated. (A single ticket admitted fans to all four games, and the Ivy League reported the same attendance for each, but video of that women’s match showed many empty seats, especially in the upper sections.) There were a few coordinated chants, but mostly the isolated cries of individual fans stood out. The game was shown live only on ESPN3, an online portal, and replayed later on ESPNU.The lopsided score may have shifted the mood (Princeton won 68-47 and led comfortably throughout the second half), and the first men’s semifinal had featured storied rivals, one at home. But the league’s women’s coaches saw another major culprit for the dampened attendance and excitement: scheduling. The women’s semifinals—which tipped off at 11 a.m. and shortly before 7 p.m.—had been sandwiched around the two men’s games. “We felt like they sprinkled in some women’s basketball in a men’s basketball tournament,” said Yale head coach Allison Guth. “That’s how we felt last year.”“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” responded Ivy League executive director Robin Harris, when asked about this sentiment. An Ivy League working group, she said, with representatives from all eight schools, collaborates with the league and athletic directors to meet men’s and women’s basketball interests. The league, she said, had scheduled one women’s semifinal before the men’s semifinals—whose timing reflected television availability—to avoid making the women’s games too late. “We did that,” Harris emphasized, “to benefit the women.”Yet one year later, the coaches’ discontent has lingered, if not intensified. And it reflects difficult negotiations about this year’s game times, decades of frustration, and broader questions about how the tournament is balancing social, athletic, and commercial objectives. In the context of the league’s aspiration to make its sports programs not only genuinely beneficial for student-athletes, but also representative of the schools’ larger social values, this is a serious conflict. Last year, the Ivy League celebrated—and heavily marketed—“the inaugural Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.” Technically, this was true: the conference had never had a combined men’s and women’s tournament to determine who would receive the league’s automatic NCAA tournament berth. But the billing obscured the fact that there had been nine previous Ivy League basketball tournaments, all among women’s squads. Eight were played from 1975 to 1982, when the teams participated in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women; another occurred in 1986, after Ivy League basketball joined the NCAA.The lack of recognition [...]

Shopping Week R.I.P.?

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 00:12:57 +0000

Harvard faculty moves on preregistration, USGSOs, mixed-gender housing, and more John S. Rosenberg fas meeting march 2018At its monthly meeting on March 6, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) strongly indicated that it will discard the traditional undergraduate shopping week for course selection each semester in favor of some form of preregistration. In an anticlimactic moment, it also approved language for the Harvard College Handbook for Students that formally installs the system of sanctioning undergraduate membership in unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs: final clubs, fraternities, sororities)—a move that had been telegraphed last week—and, under the radar, also tweaked rules for “gender-neutral” (mixed-gender) rooming groups. Finally, those attending indicated assent for a new concentration, and heard an unusually graceful memorial to one of their own. PreregistrationDean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana noted that during the search for a successor to dean of undergraduate education Jay M. Harris, several faculty members suggested moving away from undergraduates’ right to freely shop for courses at the start of each semester, and implementing some form of preregistration instead. Students have traditionally voiced support for their freedom to shop around, even though some chaos ensues. Faculty members who spoke by arrangement pointed out, variously, that:“shopping” is a sort of consumerist behavior, whereas preregistration might encourage students to take long-term academic planning more seriously;absent preregistration, many faculty members don’t know how many students they can expect, leading to acute problems in lining up sufficient numbers of graduate students prepared to run sections (thus jeopardizing an essential part of the latters’ professional training), and often causing enrollment to be mismatched with the room assigned for the course;the first week of classes becomes, essentially, wasted time, costing valuable instruction; andin the current digital era, compared to even a decade ago, students can discover the syllabus, and often video clips, of a course, and other information in advance, making shopping less essential.A few faculty members rose from the floor to note that while they generally supported some sort of preregistration, with a provision for students to add or drop courses (thus presumably preserving some flexibility while reducing the wild swings in enrollments that cause the organizational difficulties enumerated above), students enjoy and are entitled to their freedom to choose. Another objection centered on the efficacy of preregistration as an accurate predictive tool, versus, say, algorithms or other techniques that had been advanced for consideration, but never tested out, in prior iterations of the FAS deliberations on this subject.Three novel arguments were advanced, as well.First, while accommodating faculty and graduate-students concerns, one professor said, any move to preregistration ought to be a compact with undergraduates—assuring them that they would indeed have access online, in advance, to a current syllabus and other materials for each course—and that they would be subjected less often to being lotteried out of a preferred course, shifted to a remote location, or served with underprepared teaching fellows.Dean Harris advanced a geographical constraint. With the opening of the applied sciences and engineering facility in Allston, in 2020, a good deal of teaching will be conducted there. Allston and Cambridge will be on different class schedules, as reported, and so, Harris noted, an oversubscribed class in Allsto[...]

The Pleasure of Noticing

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 18:40:31 +0000

Director Agnès Varda visits Harvard for the Norton Lectures on Cinema Sophia Nguyen agnès varda norton lecturesAt the Harvard Film Archive, the staff called it V-Day: the date of Agnès Varda’s arrival in Cambridge, for appearances at screenings of Faces, Places (2017) and Vagabond (1985), and for her 2018 Norton Lectures on Cinema the next week. When the French film director walked onstage at Sanders Theatre on February 26, wearing queenly purple and her maroon-dipped bowl haircut, the crowd greeted her with a standing ovation. Varda gave a little bow and, helped up by an assistant, settled in her seat at the raised podium with a quiet “Et voilà.”Some six decades ago, at age 30, Varda was dubbed “the grandmother of the French New Wave” upon the release of her debut feature, La Pointe Courte (1955), about an unhappy marriage in an unhappy Mediterranean fishing village. It interleaved scripted scenes between its stars with nonfiction scenes of the town’s real inhabitants. Often, the camera abandoned what, to more conventional filmmakers, might seem some key exchange between the lovers in order to follow, say, a cat picking its way atop a fence. Her shorts and features since then have all been guided by that wandering eye, and the pleasure of noticing. The overriding sensibility, especially in her later documentary work, is puckish and poignant. “Varda’s films are sometimes accused of ‘lightness,’ something that, especially for female artists, is all too often chalked up as a flaw,” writer Lindsay Zoladz recently observed on The Ringer. “But weight is easy: how much more specific the alchemy, to be able to float.”“Inspiration is a very subtle and vaguely strange concept,” Varda told the Harvard audience. She described the feeling as “something that appears, a situation, something that invades my brain. And suddenly there’s no other way—it’s an emergency, I have to prepare a film, and make a film.” After that came creation, which required finding the right structure for the subject, she said, cueing up a clip from her early short Oncle Yanco. In it, a younger Varda (again in head-to-toe purple, her bowl cut raven black) springs joyfully into her first meeting with a long-lost cousin, an encounter she then reenacts and spoofs. “The point is to find a shape that can contain my enthusiasm, my excitement.”Another key concept was sharing, she continued. “It's clear that I don't make films for myself. It's really—what I like to do is to share. To share the film with audiences and have what is called feedback. I wonder why it is not called feelback, because we want feelings to go through and to be shared.” Throughout, said Varda, what’s been hardest was the time between conceiving and shooting the film, and, of course, waiting for money. “My films never brought money to anybody. Never made money. But I received many awards.” She added wryly, “I wish I could find money more easily than awards.”In that first lecture, Varda took the audience through her filmography up through 2000, skipping back and forth free-associatively through works from various decades and genres. She pointed out the careful pacing of her most famous film, Cléo from 5 to 7 (“I know every one of those steps,” she said, over footage of the actress Corrine Marchand descending the stairs), and the revolutionary fervor captured, alternately, in her documentary about Huey P. Newton and in her musical about French abortion rights, L'une chante, l'autre pas. In recent decades, she has shifted away from fiction filmmaking to focus on documentaries. ”Actors are[...]

Jorge Domínguez to Retire Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:44:09 +0000

Jorge Domínguez to retire Marina N. Bolotnikova jorge dominguez investigation retirement Madero professor for the study of Mexico Jorge Domínguez, a member of the department of government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), will retire from his position at the end of the semester, he wrote today to Jennifer Hochschild, chair of the department. The announcement comes one week after The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 10 women accused Domínguez of sexual harassment at various times across nearly 40 years. FAS dean Michael D. Smith announced on Sunday that Domínguez—who has been director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the University’s first vice provost for international affairs—would be placed on administrative leave indefinitely, “pending a full and fair review of the facts and circumstances regarding allegations that have come to light.”“I am retiring from my job at Harvard at the end of this semester. It has been a privilege to serve the University,” Domínguez wrote. “I am not teaching this semester. I have stepped down immediately from my role at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and my other very few remaining academic coordinating roles. You may inform others as you deem best.”“I want to be very clear that Domínguez’s forthcoming retirement does not change the full and fair process of review that is currently under way,” Smith said in a statement today. “He remains on administrative leave until it is concluded.” The rights and privileges normally provided to retired faculty members would take into account the outcome of this review.The women accusing Domínguez ranged from undergraduates to faculty members in the government department; in 1983, Domínguez had been found guilty of “serious misconduct” and formally disciplined for sexually harassing Terry Karl, then a junior professor. Over the weekend, a follow-up story in the Chronicle reported that eight additional accusers of Domínguez had come forward. The earliest incident, in 1979, involved Charna Sherman ’80, then an undergraduate government concentrator, who reported that Domínguez had groped and kissed her. Some of the reported incidents occurred in private, others in front of colleagues in the department; Domínguez continued to receive promotions throughout the period.   By the time members of FAS received Smith’s email on Sunday, the government department has pulled undergraduates and graduate students into meetings about the revelations, where many of those who spoke called for Domínguez’s removal. Government graduate students sent an open letter to the department Tuesday denouncing its response to the allegations. “We went into the meeting hoping for answers. We left disappointed, disillusioned, and, for many of us, angry,” they wrote. “The meeting communicated a message of equivocation, powerlessness, and an unwillingness to commit to addressing this issue or instituting any significant changes within the Department.”“Due to years of apparent negligence, the University and Government Department have burdened female students with impossible choices and unacceptably onerous responsibilities,” they continued. The letter demands that the department take steps to address sexual harassment and gender inequality, including “ensur[ing] that Jorge Dominguez will no longer be a member of the Government Department,” communicating with newly admitted students about the allegations and how the department will address them, and conducting internal and external reviews o[...]

A Championship Tune-up

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 01:08:32 +0000

Harvard men’s basketball wins a share of the Ivy League trophy David L. Tannenwald basketball 2018 vs cornell and columbiaAfter going 5-10 in non-conference play, the Harvard men’s basketball team appeared a long shot to win the Ivy League championship.Not anymore.Harvard defeated Cornell 98-88 in double overtime on Friday and throttled Columbia 93-74 on Saturday, avenging an earlier defeat by the Lions. Paired with Penn’s loss to Yale on a buzzer beater on Friday, Harvard’s sweep gave the Crimson, which finished the regular season 17-12 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy League, a share of the conference championship and the number-one seed in next weekend’s Ivy League tournament.The weekend also highlighted incremental improvements in the team’s defense, the Crimson’s ability to break the press, and impressive maturity—all of which has put them in prime position to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015. DefenseBack in January, when the Crimson’s field-goal percentage was abysmal, the team’s stout defense helped it stay competitive. Still, in recent games, some defensive weaknesses showed. For example, with Harvard’s guards playing aggressive perimeter defense, opposing teams—including Penn—used backdoor cuts (faking to the perimeter before cutting back hard to the basket) to get easy layups. Opposing teams also deployed mobile post players to draw Harvard center Chris Lewis ’20 out onto the perimeter, which kept the team’s best shot blocker away from the basket. Finally, several Crimson players have struggled to defend without fouling.This weekend, the Crimson made progress in addressing those deficiencies. To defend against backdoor cuts, Amaker tells his players to turn both head and hand so that they can see and deflect a pass to the player who is cutting; this technique allowed Justin Bassey ’20 to pick off a pass to a Cornell player attempting a backdoor cut, leading to an easy layup in transition. Cornell also attempted to lure Lewis to the perimeter, employing pick-and-rolls that caused the Harvard center to switch onto the Big Red’s smaller guards, especially leading scorer Matt Morgan. Although Morgan got to the basket on a number of these plays (part of the reason he was able to tally a game-high 34 points), Lewis used his extended hand and positioning to prevent Morgan from pulling up for jump shots. Similarly, Lewis’s teammates—including Bassey—communicated about which Big Red players were limited shooters and therefore opponents they could risk drifting away from to pack the lane. With just over a minute remaining in regulation, Lewis, with his teammates’ help, effectively defended Morgan off the dribble, eventually forcing a kick out to one of the Big Red’s less effective outside shooters, who missed. Bassey then grabbed the rebound and drew a foul.Finally, the Crimson defenders were mostly more disciplined. Although he picked up several early fouls on Friday, Seth Towns ’20 played smart defense thereafter, enabling him to stay on the floor before eventually fouling out in the second overtime. Similarly, Lewis used strong footwork against Columbia on Saturday to keep pace with the Lions’ big men and finished the game with just three fouls. Breaking the PressOne challenge for the Crimson has been running its offense when opposing teams press them. Specifically, many opponents have used a 1-2-2 full-court press where one player stands closest to the opponent’s baseline and the other four defenders are lined up behind him in two pairs.This sometim[...]

Enforcing Social-Club Sanctions Won’t Require Oaths

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 14:00:00 +0000

Enforcing Social-Club Sanctions Won’t Require Oaths Marina N. Bolotnikova sanctions implementation final clubs oathsThe College’s policy to sanction members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs) won’t require that students make an oath-like affirmation that they don’t belong to such clubs. That controversial measure had originally been recommended in a March 2017 report to College dean Rakesh Khurana by a committee examining implementation. Dean of students Katie O’Dair, whose office is tasked with enforcing the policy, announced the implementation plan in an email to College students this morning; the Office of Student Life (OSL) has created a website with details. The policy, as previously reported, prohibits students who have belonged to single-gender social organizations (including final clubs and Greek organizations) within the previous year from receiving College endorsement for fellowships, or holding leadership positions in recognized student organizations or athletic teams. It applies to students matriculating in the fall of 2017 (current freshmen) or later. The Harvard Corporation voted to retain the sanctions in December, after a year and a half of intense debate across the Harvard community that included concerns over gender equality, students’ freedom of association, and faculty governance of the College.OSL appears to have created a less punitive plan than what was recommended by last year’s implementation committee, in response, presumably, to widespread criticism of the recommendation that students make an oath-like affirmation of their compliance with the policy. “We are approaching this with trust, honesty, and transparency,” O’Dair said in an interview. “What we did not accept is any pledge or affirmation by students.”“We are not going to take any efforts to go find students” in violation of the policy, she added. Instead, it will be enforced similarly to other misconduct issues (such as the alcohol policy), which generally prompt a disciplinary process only when violations have escalated enough to be brought to the administration. The College also won’t accept anonymous reports of policy violations. The policy will be added to the Handbook for Students, which means that it will have to come before the faculty for discussion and debate (prior ambiguity about whether the faculty could debate the language was a point of contention last year). The sanctions will affect all fellowships administered by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships: not just top fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, but also Harvard-specific programs like the Harvard-Cambridge Scholarship. Student groups affected will include official student organizations, pre-orientation programs, Phillips Brooks House Association programs, and athletic teams. The policy won’t affect members of The Harvard Crimson or the Undergraduate Council (the implementation committee had recommended these organizations be included, which Khurana did not accept because of their independent nature). OSL is working with some single-gender social groups, including male and female final clubs, to become gender-inclusive. Such groups are “on the path to compliance,” associate dean of student engagement Alexander Miller said, and membership in those entities will not be sanctioned. Throughout the spring and summer, OSL will develop criteria for such groups to be considered compliant with College regulations for recognized student organizations. (Last ye[...]

John Lewis Named Harvard Commencement Speaker

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 16:00:23 +0000

Harvard Commencement speaker John Lewis John S. Rosenberg Harvard Commencement speaker John LewisCongressman John Lewis, LL.D. ’12—a towering figure in the U.S. civil-rights movement who has represented Georgia’s Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1986—will be the principal speaker at Harvard’s 367th Commencement, on May 24, the University announced today. He is no stranger to campus, as his 2012 Doctor of Laws degree attests; on that occasion, in reference to his rise from his birth to sharecroppers to his leadership in the civil-rights sit-ins, Freedom Rides, March on Washington, and at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama, where his skull was fractured by policemen, his citation read:His heart full of grace,his eyes on the prize,a heroic figure in a nation’s struggle,meeting fear with courage,animus with amity,violence with dignity and peace.Atypically for the guest speaker at Harvard’s Commencement afternoon exercises (the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association), Lewis already has his Crimson honorary degree.A Personal ConnectionHis selection to speak this year is doubly timely. First, these will be the final exercises led by Drew Faust, since she steps down as the University’s twenty-eighth president effective June 30. As she has made abundantly clear, the struggle to achieve African Americans’ civil rights has been foundational to her beliefs in diversity and inclusion throughout her life (read about her childhood reaction to resistance to Brown v. Board of Education in then-segregated Virginia)—and Lewis has been an inspiration for much of her life.Faust spoke about Selma and John Lewis at Morning Prayers in 2015—before traveling to Alabama to join the fiftieth-anniversary commemoration of the voting-rights march in Selma (in which she had participated as a 17-year-old college freshman, skipping her midterms). She invited him to campus in April 2016 for the ceremony acknowledging Harvard’s connections to slavery, during which a permanent plaque recalling Titus, Venus, Juba, and Bilhah—enslaved people who lived and worked for the Harvard presidents who resided at Wadsworth House—was affixed to that building.Speaking then, Lewis said the nation’s people “have gone to great lengths to wipe out every trace of slavery from American memory,” in the face of 400 years of voices calling out to be remembered. “We have been tossing and turning for centuries in a restless sleep,” struggling with those memories. But, “We are a people haunted by amnesia,” because “we just can’t summon the truth of what it is.” Harvard’s recognition of its slave past, he said, was an act of “keeping the faith by giving these souls some of the dignity and honor they did not receive in life but have deserved for centuries.” Faust recalled that day with some emotion during her Baccalaureate address that May. And last November, at a Harvard Campaign gathering of Harvard alumni at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C., she invited Representative Lewis to speak about education as a civil right.Clearly, for her last Commencement as president, Faust has chosen to present, and honor, an American civil-rights leader of singular importance, whom she considers, unabashedly, a “personal hero.”In the University news announcement, Faust said:For more than 50 years, John Lewis has dedicated himself to the ideals of equality and decency, standing u[...]

Harvard TPS Workers at Risk

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 13:18:41 +0000

Salvadoran Workers Speak Out on TPS Marina N. Bolotnikova Daca seminar tps el salvadorIn September 2019, when their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is terminated, Salvadoran immigrants will be faced with two choices: “Leave the country, or remain here under the shadow,” targets for deportation or detention, said Julio Perez, a custodian at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Monday afternoon at “The Impact of the TPS Repeal on Campus: Harvard Workers’ Stories,” a panel organized by the Harvard DACA Seminar. Perez has lived in the United States since 1994 and, like fellow speakers Martha Bonilla, a dining hall worker, and Doris Reina-Landaverde, a custodian, hold TPS status. All three have built lives and families in the this country and have children who are citizens; Perez and Bonilla earned their high-school diplomas through the Harvard Bridge Program, which Perez calls his proudest accomplishment. When asked what it would be like to have to return to El Salvador, Perez said, “It would be like immigrating to another country and starting from zero….It would be just like the first day when I got to the U.S. Devastating.”   Over the last several months, the Trump administration has announced that it would revoke TPS for the vast majority of immigrants who benefit from the program: Haitians, Nicaraguans, Sudanese, and Salvadorans. More than 200,000 people across the United States will be affected, including 8,000 in Massachusetts, and several dozen Harvard affiliates.Reina-Landaverde, who has three daughters and whose husband is not Salvadoran, said she doesn’t know what her family would do if her TPS is revoked: “It’s a difficult decision to go to my country, because we know over there it’s violent and dangerous.” El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and may be destabilized further by the sudden arrival of tens of thousands of deportees.TPS was created by Congress in 1990 as a humanitarian program to grant temporary legal status to citizens of certain countries affected by circumstances like war and natural disasters. Salvadorans, for example, were granted TPS in 2001, after a devastating earthquake. Neither TPS nor Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that shields from deportation about 700,000 “dreamers” brought to the United States illegally as children, provides permanent residency or a path to citizenship. Last September, the Trump administration announced it would also terminate the latter program (which affects about 60 Harvard students), placing the onus on Congress to pass a legislative solution for those affected.Perez, Bonilla, and Reina-Landaverde, along with panel moderator Genevieve Butler, a faculty assistant in the sociology department and member of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, are among the founders of the Harvard TPS Coalition, a group of workers from across Harvard’s labor unions that advocates for TPS holders on campus. The coalition was formed in January, “in anticipation of the potentially devastating impact these decisions would have on Harvard unions,” said Kirsten Weld, Loeb associate professor of the social sciences, in her introductory remarks. Members of the Harvard TPS Coalition, and immigration advocates more broadly, have called for a solution that provides permanent residency for both the TPS and DACA populations. A federal class-action lawsuit filed earlier this month by the American Immigr[...]

Comedy Compulsion

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 15:21:52 +0000

"I want one more shot!": profile of TV writer Nell ScovellTV writer Nell Scovell looks back on Just the Funny Parts. Sophia Nguyen March-April 2018 nell-scovell-memoirNell Scovell ’82 went wherever they’d let her be funny. Her early writing career can be seen as a progression of bigger, freer venues where the bosses would let her crack wise: first the sports sections of The Harvard Crimson and The Boston Globe, then the glossier pages of Spy and Vanity Fair. At the latter, a colleague gently suggested, “Nell, I don’t mean this as an insult, but I think you could write for TV.” And so she found the medium where she could really act on her comedy compulsion.But when Scovell set about drafting her memoir, Just The Funny Parts, she was nagged by a different need—the sense that, as she puts it, “If I don’t say something, no one will know I was there.” There meaning the staffs of the Smothers Brothers, Bob Newhart, and David Letterman shows, or awards ceremonies and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or just showbiz itself. “I want my kids to know,” she adds.She had lots of primary source material. From the start, some version of that impulse—“I want my kids to know”—made her keep everything: correspondence, silly doodles by friends, early scripts with scribbled notes (“wordy”; “too jokey”; “ALL BETTER”). “I always thought TV would go away,” Scovell says. “I just kind of thought that this is something I’m going to show someone: ‘See? For a year, I was a TV writer!’”In 30 years and counting, she has written comedy and drama, mystery and sci-fi, and even a Lifetime movie about a college reunion that ends with blackmail (co-scripted with her sister, Claire Scovell Lazebnik ’85; Scovell also directed). She’s gotten to make a mark on beloved fictional figures: thanks to her, Homer Simpson tried fugu and Miss Piggy flashed her tail on the red carpet. (Scovell likes to say, though, that Sheryl Sandberg ’91, M.B.A. ’95, with whom she co-wrote Lean In, is her favorite character to write for “other than Murphy Brown.”) While on the staffs of long-running workhorses like Charmed and NCIS, and as the creator of the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, she mastered a specific craft: overstuffed, comfy plots that are as easy to sink into as a favorite armchair. Across an unusually broad range of genres, her writing has been driven by a goofy, antic imagination. The John Doe turns out to have three fiancées. A demon shrinks the heroines down to five inches. A teenager’s first spell turns everything into a pineapple. Scovell says that she feels a kind of survivor’s guilt about this success. “It’s not that I was the funniest female writer ever, but I managed to find a path. I was a good ‘culture fit’ in certain ways.” Her Harvard cred gave her an in, and thanks to her sports-desk days, she was unfazed by being the only woman in a room, or by shouting men in general. Whether with a bemused smile or through gritted teeth, she could deflect comments like, “Since when do we have pretty little girls working on this show?”So her book is studded with pointers. Take any job that comes your way. Don’t mistake sexual power for real power. Sometimes sincere trumps snarky. (In an interview, she offers a few more, on the spot. “Comedy is always easier when we’re with familiar characters”—so, in a first episode, “Every li[...]

A Partial Success

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:59:31 +0000

SportsHarvard 2018 basketball at Penn and Princeton David L. Tannenwald basketball 2018 at penn and princetonWith just over 30 seconds left in Saturday’s matchup between Harvard and Penn and his team up by two, Quakers senior Darnell Foreman caught the ball beyond the top of the key. He dribbled into the lane, drawing Harvard sophomore Christian Juzang and another Crimson defender with him. In the right corner, Penn senior Caleb Wood stood wide open. Foreman swung the ball to his teammate, who shot a three-pointer to put Penn up by 5, all but ensuring a 74-71 win that gave the Quakers (21-7 overall, 11-1 Ivy) a one-game lead over the Crimson (15-12 overall, 10-2 Ivy) heading into the final weekend of Ivy play.In the past, this loss would have imperiled the Crimson’s NCAA tournament aspirations. But the advent of the Ivy League tournament changes things: Harvard can view last weekend—during which they also defeated Princeton 72-66 in overtime on Friday—as a partial success in a season-long effort to qualify for and peak during the conference tournament in March. In particular, Juzang and freshmen Danilo Djuricic and Rio Haskett played well this past weekend, although the team is still trying to reduce fouls and turnovers and get to the free throw line more frequently. Juzang’s EmergenceIn the game against Princeton, with Harvard up 70-66 and 18.3 seconds left in overtime, Juzang stood at the free throw line, bounced the ball, and eyed the basket. Nothing but net. Then he did it again, sealing Harvard’s come-from-behind win on a night in which he played 44 minutes and had seven assists and just two turnovers.Entering the year, few would have predicted this performance. As a freshman, Juzang appeared in just three Ivy League contests for a total of eight minutes. But with first-team All-Ivy point guard Bryce Aiken ’20 and junior point guard Tommy McCarthy out with injuries, Juzang has emerged as the Crimson’s floor general.During the last seven games, he has played 275 out of a possible 285 minutes. He has also struck a balance between scoring and passing: Juzang had 20 or more points in recent home wins over Princeton and Brown and has 18 assists over the last three games. Finally, he is helping to lead the team, offering direction in huddles and making key defensive plays, such as the charge he took on Friday that gave Myles Stephens, one of Princeton’s best players, his second foul.Juzang has not been perfect: this weekend, he made just two of 14 field-goal attempts, suggesting that playing all those minutes may be catching up with him. Still, his steadiness in Aiken’s absence is a major reason that the Crimson is guaranteed a top-two seed in the Ivy League tournament. The Freshmen In 2016, ESPN rated Harvard’s seven freshmen as the tenth-best recruiting class in the country. This year’s freshmen—Reed Farley, Danilo Djuricic, and Rio Haskett—were less heralded. But this past weekend showed how integral two of those players—Djuricic and Haskett—have become to Harvard’s hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament. (Farley appeared in 10 games earlier in the season but injured his knee and has not played since a 62-57 victory at Dartmouth on January 20.)Djuricic’s value is his versatility. At six-foot-eight and 210 pounds, he has the size to score and defend down low near the basket. He also has a sweet outside shot, on display this weekend when he sank four [...]

An Imposing Honor for Harvard’s First Black Graduate

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:28:15 +0000

Richard T. Greener statue installed at University of South Carolina Jean Martin richard-greener-statue-univ-scWith the unveiling yesterday on its central campus of a nine-foot statue of lawyer, educator, and diplomat Richard T. Greener, the University of South Carolina acknowledged a notable individual and a significant moment in its own history: the Reconstruction era, when it became one of the only Southern state universities to admit, and grant degrees to, African-American students. Greener himself benefited from that opportunity. While teaching courses there in philosophy, Latin, and Greek as the institution’s first African-American professor, Harvard College’s first black graduate also studied law, earning his degree in 1876, a year before a new state administration barred black students from the school.This plaque honoring Greener is located in Harvard Square.Photograph by Lydia Carmichael/Harvard MagazineGreener, who had spent part of his youth in Cambridge and entered the College as a 21-year-old after preparing at Oberlin and Andover, would go on to become dean of Howard University Law School and to enter government service. In 1898, he was named U.S. commercial agent in Vladivostok. Harvard installed a portrait of Greener in Annenberg Hall in 2016, and a Cambridge Historical Commission plaque honoring him is mounted on the façade of College House in Harvard Square, at 1430 Massachusetts Avenue.He was “a trailblazer, risk-taker, a man of education and self-confidence, qualities we still look for in new professors and new students,” said University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides during the February 21 ceremony. South Carolina congressman James E. Clyburn, in his own remarks, acknowledged the unveiling during Black History Month, “a time for reflection and rededication,” calling it “the perfect time to consider the life and legacy of this trailblazing educator as we forge a future full of opportunities for all.” To learn more about Greener, watch Richard T. Greener: A man of firsts is reintroduced to the world, a video from the University of South Carolina.Get more stories like this one every Friday. Receive a curated selection of our coverage on Harvard campus news, arts, culture, and research with our weekly email.[...]

Money Can’t Buy Love, But Here’s What Can

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:00:00 +0000

Money Can’t Buy Love, But Here’s What Can Oset Babür how-to-have-a-happy-relationshipAfter the shopping buzz around the holiday season fizzles out, Valentine’s Day is a much-needed boost for businesses, which bombard consumers with gift ideas for spoiling their loved ones. But as it turns out, no box of chocolates or bouquet of roses can outweigh the ultimate bliss of time spent together, according to new research from Harvard Business School.Previous research by assistant professor of business administration Ashley Whillans indicated that spending money on time-saving purchases can increase individual happiness. To figure out the secret to happy relationships, detailed in a new working paper, Whillans surveyed more than 3,000 individuals who were married or in marriage-like relationships and who spent money on time-saving purchases. One couple paid movers $200 to handle the labor and time-intensive task of moving all their belongings from their old apartment into a new one. Another couple outsourced their laundry to a service that handled the tiresome washing and folding for between $40 and $50 a visit. But Whillans found that it wasn’t simply the act of minimizing the number of chores that led to relationship bliss. For example, moving to a professionally managed apartment and therefore no longer needing to mow the lawn isn’t enough to bring couples closer together. Only when couples consciously elect to turn the time saved from outsourcing a task into quality time spent together—by going out to the movies or cooking dinner together—does Whillans’s study show a positive correlation between outsourcing chores and relationship satisfaction.The study also found that couples who elected to spend part of their income on time-saving measures were more resilient when it came to dealing with the inevitable conflicts associated with any committed relationship. “It’s sort of like a social-support idea,” Whillans says. “If you’re stressed, a healthy coping response can be to seek out a friend or family member to help you deal with that stress. Time-saving purchases are like another kind of social support––maybe your in-laws are coming over and the house is a mess, so you need a cleaner. Or maybe you and your partner are both working really hard and don’t have time to clean. We find that when couples respond to those kinds of stressors by purchasing support, they experience greater relationship satisfaction.” She warns, however, that time-saving purchases are not the be-all-and-end-all key to relationship satisfaction. The benefits of time-saving purchases appear primarily when couples are faced with controllable stressors, such as too much laundry to fold. When faced with an uncontrollable stressor, such as a death in the family, couples who spend their money instead on distracting, uplifting experiences––a dinner date, a short vacation––are likely to be happier. Of course, hiring cleaners, signing up for a laundry service, or outsourcing lawn-mowing can all end up costing much more than material gifts. Ximena Garcia-Rada, a doctoral candidate in marketing, has good news for couples who wish to achieve higher degrees of relationship satisfaction but have limited disposable income. Based on research done by working with Brierly professor of business administration Michael Norton, Garcia-Rada posits that [...]

Looking Back at the Lampoon’s Heyday

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:44:06 +0000

Looking Back at the Lampoon’s Heyday Sophia Nguyen futile stupid gestureDoug Kenney ’68 used to go around Hollywood claiming he’d created nostalgia—or at least co-created it, and at least for a certain stripe of American male. Alongside fellow Harvard men Henry Beard ’67 and Rob Hoffmann ’67, M.B.A. ’72, Kenney made a career out of his college extracurricular by taking the Harvard Lampoon national. Beyond its parodies of other publications, the magazine spun off a live musical and a radio show, as well the movies Animal House and Caddyshack. It collected a wellspring of talent for more enduring ventures like Saturday Night Live. It was a forerunner to outfits like Funny or Die and CollegeHumor. In setting this in motion, and then dying mysteriously and young, Kenney became a comedy legend: the kid genius who made fun into a franchise, and never had to grow up.Would Kenney have enjoyed what he inspired? If worry is the destroyer of happiness, nostalgia is the destroyer of dignity. Nostalgia dragged the National Lampoon through a long, sad senescence, until its final issue in 1998. Nostalgia gave a jolt of resources to the brand’s recent zombie spasm: the 2015 remake of Vacation, in which Ed Helms takes Chevy Chase’s seat.The new biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture, co-written by John Aboud ’95 and Michael Colton ’97 (and based on the Josh Karp book of the same name), wants to avoid going misty-eyed about its subject. It brings Kenney back from the dead, imagining him in old age, with a trim white beard—and then it lets him narrate the movie. “Modern Doug” scoffs at storytelling shortcuts (“You really want to start there?...there’s gotta be a better way to start a movie!”), and defends others (“Come on, do you really think I looked like Will Forte when I was 27? You think Forte is 27?”). "I guess we were trying to have our cake and eat it too,” Colton says freely. The writers don’t take the liberty of speculating about what Kenney might’ve gotten up with 40 more years on this earth: Modern Doug is more convenience than character. But it does imagine him snorting at praise: “That’s blowing smoke up my own ass.” And yet it’s true, according to the screenwriters. In a recent interview, they sketched a quick lineage of American humor that placed National Lampoon as the prime progenitor. In the 1950s, comedy was generally tamer, says Colton. It was Jack Benny on the radio and Bob Hope specials on TV. Kenney’s cohort spearheaded what was then called “sick humor” bringing it into the mainstream. “Today we're going through quite a bit in society and culture about the role of comedy,” says Aboud. “Comedy as resistance.” That, too, he traces back to the National Lampoon. “When Nixon was in the White House, the magazine went after him relentlessly. And now we're seeing Samantha Bee, today, going after our current president. So that tradition is alive and well.”But what was considered radical once can look retrograde now. “So much of the material back then is either sexist or racist or just plain weird,” acknowledges Aboud. So “Modern Doug” also comments on Lampoon antics that’d be objectionable today, ventriloquizing contemporary sensibilities. At one point, a young black couple walks past the publication’s offices and questions why the staff h[...]

Julian Schwinger, the Singularity

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:20:23 +0000

Remembering Towering Physicist Julian Schwinger (1918-1994) Jonathan Shaw Julian-SchwingerIn the fall of 1945, at Los Alamos, New Mexico, scientists working on the Manhattan Project heard Julian Schwinger deliver a brilliant lecture about a new accelerator he had designed. Mallinckrodt research professor Roy Glauber, then just 20 years old, his undergraduate studies at Harvard on hold as he helped develop the atom bomb, was in the audience. Glauber’s impression of Schwinger was of a short man with swept up “pompadour hair in front that gained him an inch in height.” The talk itself Glauber found “extraordinary: he had worked out everything” about the device, right “down to a complete theory of the radiative losses.” No other lecture Glauber heard while at Los Alamos had such “smoothness, continuity, or cogency.” Upon his return to Cambridge after the war, he sought out Schwinger at MIT, where the theoretical physicist had been working on the development of radar, and was, again, impressed—and then delighted when Schwinger came to Harvard the following year. (Schwinger, Glauber recalled, was rarely seen at MIT because he worked late at night. “But people would leave him problems—great problems of the day in physics—to solve on the blackboard, and he would sometimes solve them.”)When former students of Schwinger (Glauber among them) gathered in Jefferson Laboratory to remember their Nobel Prize-winning mentor on Monday, February 12 (100 years to the day after his birth), it was hard to say who was more distinguished:  the master or his mentees. Schwinger shared the 1965 Nobel in physics for work in quantum electrodynamics. Four of his students also became Nobel laureates—Glauber, Ben Roy Mottelson, Ph.D. ’50, and Sheldon Glashow in physics, and Walter Kohn in chemistry—as did his onetime assistant, Walter Gilbert, also in chemistry. (Three of the five—Gilbert, Glashow, and Glauber—were present.)Mallinckrodt professor of physics Howard Georgi moderated, and as the panelists spoke, it was clear that they thought Schwinger was a singularity. Georgi recalled “magnificent lectures” by a professor in “total control of both material and class.” “Only one student ever asked a question,” he added. “Schwinger ignored him.”Schwinger, himself a shy student, had been discovered by Columbia professor I. I. Rabi, a Nobel laureate who became almost “a godfather, of the good kind,” recalled Glauber. Rabi sent Schwinger to study with J. Robert Oppenheimer ’26, S.D. ’47, which was unusual, Glauber explained, because “Oppenheimer was in a league of his own” and wasn’t known for mentoring students.Schwinger’s own courses at Harvard did not always follow the normal academic schedule. Glauber recalled one that began in the fall of 1947 and went on for three semesters. “Schwinger started with the one-body problem [determining the motion of a single point particle], then spent two semesters on the two-body problem [determining the motion of two point particles that interact only with each other, such as an electron orbiting an atomic nucleus]…”Loeb University Professor emeritus Walter Gilbert, who spent a year as Schwinger’s assistant after earning his doctorate at Cambridge University, remembered how “the physics world centered on [...]

At Last, a Sweep

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:09:20 +0000

Harvard 2018 basketball vs Princeton and Penn David L. Tannenwald basketball 2018 vs Princeton and PennOn Friday evening, an unusual sight greeted fans at Lavietes Pavilion: the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball national championship trophy was on display in the lobby, thanks to a promotion that is rotating the prize to one school in every conference in advance of March Madness.The notion of Harvard winning that tournament may be far-fetched, but at least one alumnus had a vision for what it would take to have a nationally competitive program. In March 2015, on the same weekend that the men’s basketball coaching position was endowed in his honor, Tom Stemberg ’71, M.B.A. ’73, suggested that the University already had two ingredients to become a national presence in men’s basketball: an excellent coach in Tommy Amaker, and an expanded financial-aid policy that helped Harvard compete for recruits with schools that could offer athletic scholarships. Stemberg—who acknowledged at the time that he did not think it realistic for Harvard to be a top-10 program—also identified a third factor that could enhance the Crimson’s brand: a more modern facility.This past weekend, Harvard moved closer to Stemberg’s vision. First, the new basketball court at Lavietes Pavilion was named in memory of the late alumnus as part of a celebration of the arena’s recent refurbishment. Second, the Crimson defeated Princeton (last year’s Ivy League champion) 66-51 on Friday and Penn (undefeated until then in Ivy play) 76-67 on Saturday to move into a tie with Penn for first place in the league.This young Crimson team (12-11 overall, 7-1 Ivy) remains a long way from making noise in the NCAA tournament, but heading into the final three weekends of conference play, it demonstrated the versatility, interior presence, and poise to make a run at its first Ivy title since 2015. Versatility  When Amaker reeled in the nation’s tenth-ranked recruiting class in 2016, Henry Welsh ’20 was an afterthought in subsequent media coverage. He was the last member of the group to commit, and many captured his potential by mentioning that his older brother, Thomas, was the starting center for UCLA. Yet late in the first half of Friday’s game against Princeton, there was Welsh, barreling down the floor after making a steal. As he approached the basket, the big man used a Euro step (stepping right before going back to his left) to elude a defender and finish with a finger roll that upped the Crimson’s lead to 26-17.Welsh (who had five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes against Princeton) was one of several reserve players who proved essential this weekend. Another was Christian Juzang ’20. Typically a backup, Juzang started in place of injured point guard Bryce Aiken ’20 and played all but one minute across the two games; he also had a career-high and team-high 20 points against the Tigers. Finally, Danilo Djuricic ’21 came off the bench and scored nine points, sank a three, and played strong interior defense against Penn.Entering the season, much of the media’s focus was on the top-100 recruits on Harvard’s roster. And earlier this year, some questioned Amaker when he benched those stars. But this weekend offered the coach some vindication. Harvard’s roster is deep and v[...]

Harvard Names Lawrence S. Bacow Twenty-Ninth President

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 16:15:01 +0000

Harvard Names Lawrence S. Bacow Twenty-Ninth President John S. Rosenberg lawrence bacow harvard presidentLawrence S. Bacow, J.D.-M.P.P. ’76, Ph.D. ’78—president emeritus of Tufts University, chancellor emeritus of MIT, and a member of the Harvard Corporation since 2011—will become the twenty-ninth president of Harvard University on July 1. He was elected today by the Corporation, Harvard’s senior governing board, with the consent of the Board of Overseers. The election falls 11 years to the day since the election in 2007 of Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first woman leader.This post has been revised extensively to report on the announcement news conference; see below.The governing boards’ decision concludes a search begun last June, when Faust announced her intention to step down at the conclusion of this academic year.In a statement, William F. Lee ’72, senior fellow of the Corporation (he was an Overseer and served on the search committee that selected Faust), who led the search (its organization and members are reported here), said:Larry Bacow is one of the most accomplished, admired, insightful, and effective leaders in American higher education. This is a pivotal moment for higher education—one full of extraordinary possibilities to pursue new knowledge, enhance education, and serve society, but also a time when the singular value of higher education and university research has too often been challenged and called into doubt. Such a time calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking, and disciplined execution. Larry will provide just that.He will bring to the task not only wide experience, deep expertise, and an intimate familiarity with Harvard’s opportunities and challenges, but also a passionate commitment to helping universities, and everyone within them, serve the larger world. He is ideally positioned to hit the ground running and keep Harvard moving ambitiously forward.Bacow said, “I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution—and to succeed Drew Faust, whom I have been privileged to count as a friend and an inspiration since we met over a decade ago.” He continued:The Harvard I have known has always stood for at least three things: the pursuit of truth, an unwavering commitment to excellence, and opportunity. In a nation divided, these guiding ideals have never been more important. We should never shy away from nor be apologetic about affirming our commitment to making the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship and our commitment to truth, excellence, and opportunity for all. And we should always recognize that, for all of our progress toward realizing these ideals over decades and centuries, there is much more we can learn, more we can contribute, more we can do better.The University news release provided this background on the new president:Currently the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership, Bacow served with distinction for 10 years as president of Tufts University, where he was known for his dedication to expanding student opportunity, fostering innovation in education and research, enhancing collaboration across schools and disciplines, and spurring consideration of[...]