Harvard Experiencing High Turnover in Top Administrative Jobs Since Summers’ Arrival
More than half of the top administrators at Harvard University have left since Lawrence H. Summers became the school’s president.
Fifteen of the top 24
administrative positions at the Ivy League school have turned over at
least once since Summers took the helm at Harvard in July 2001.
Summer’s management style has been criticized by some faculty, and last
March, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard’s largest school,
voted no confidence in him.
The latest to leave is William
C. Kirby, who was appointed by Summers and said he will leave this
summer after four years as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Kirby told The Boston Globe
his departure was a mutual decision, and that he and Summers had
different approaches. Summers said he was appreciative of Kirby’s
Andrew Gordon, chairman of the history department and a friend of Kirby’s, told the Globe Kirby’s departure reflects poorly on Summers’ leadership.
“He’s been unable to sustain a
relationship with a dean who has been very loyal to the essence of his
agenda, especially when you consider that a number of other deans have
departed,” Gordon said.
Still, similar institutions have
seen high rates of turnover after new presidents are named.
At Brown University where
President Ruth J. Simmons took office the same time as Summers, the
percentage of top administrators who have left is almost the same as at
Harvard. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Susan Hockfield
became president 14 months ago, nine of the 23 top administrators
either have stepped down, or have announced plans to do so soon.
“I think you’ll find that when
a university or any large institution transitions between presidents,
it’s not unusual for there to be some amount of turnover,” said
Summers’ spokesman, John Longbrake.
At Harvard, where a few top
officials had strained relations with Summers, most of those who left
gave no indication of problems with the new president, according to The Boston Globe. Three announced their departures before Summers took office.
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