Smith revealed earlier this month he would step down as dean of FAS at the end of the academic year. In his role at the helm of the University’s largest faculty, which he assumed in 2007, Smith weathered the 2008 financial crisis and saw the University through its record-breaking capital campaign.
Bacow thanked Smith for his tenure in the Thursday email.
“Mike has served with great distinction and dedication since 2007. I join Drew and many others in gratitude for his leadership and service—and for his willingness to carry forward in University Hall until the search concludes and his successor is in place,” Bacow wrote.
Bacow wrote he sees the search as “an opportunity to learn more about the FAS” as he prepares to take the reins of the University this summer.
“The FAS is at the center of Harvard’s academic enterprise, the home to a community of faculty, students, and staff whose creativity, energy, breadth, and contributions to scholarship and education are second to none,” he wrote.
Bacow and Provost Alan M. Garber '76 attended the biweekly meeting of the Faculty Council—FAS’s highest governing body—last week to solicit input on the dean search. Bacow wrote, though, that he wants to expand input across “wider set of conversations with various groups of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in the weeks and months ahead.”
In the email, Bacow wrote he would be soliciting input—through a designated email address or through mail from the FAS community—on multiple aspects of the search.
“I know that such communications will contribute a great deal to my own understanding of the FAS and to thinking about its future leadership,” he wrote. "It would help to have your views on the major opportunities and challenges facing the FAS in the years ahead, on the qualities and experience you would most value in the next dean, and—of course—on any individuals you believe should be considered as possible candidates.”
The president-elect also formed an advisory body for the search, comprising a group of faculty who will work closely with Bacow and Garber.
“Consistent with the University’s practice in dean searches, I have asked a group of faculty to work closely with Provost Alan Garber and me as an advisory committee for the search,” he wrote. “They will together bring a range of diverse perspectives and experiences to this important task, and I greatly appreciate their willingness to serve.”
The advisory committee’s full composition is as follows: University Professor Ann M. Blair ’84; African and African American Studies Chair Lawrence D. Bobo; Economics professor John Y. Campbell; Organismic and Evolutionary Biology professor Scott V. Edwards ’86; Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering Professor Evelyn Hu; Biologically Inspired Engineering professor Jennifer A. Lewis; University Professor Douglas A. Melton; former Dean of the Law School Martha L. Minow; Computer Science professor David C. Parkes; Religion professor Parimal G. Patil; Humanities professor Jennifer L. Roberts; Romance Languages and Literatures professor Diana Sorensen; and Chemistry Professor Xiaowei Zhuang.
—Staff writer Luke W. Xu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @duke_of_luke_.