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New Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I write with the excellent news that Tomiko Brown-Nagin, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, has accepted my offer to serve as dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, effective July 1, 2018. I consulted closely with President-elect Bacow during the final stages of the search, and he shares my enthusiasm about its outcome.

An eminent legal historian and expert in constitutional law and education law and policy, Professor Brown-Nagin is known for her deep intellectual curiosity and insight, as well as her analytical skills as both a lawyer and a historian. She has made significant contributions to our understanding of the history of the civil rights movement, and, more broadly, of issues as varied as affirmative action, education law and reform, and the Affordable Care Act. Her work has garnered accolades from within and without her field, including the 2012 Bancroft Prize for her book Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement.

As faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and as an engaged and energetic university citizen, Professor Brown-Nagin is well versed in leading and promoting the broad range of intellectual and academic activities that are the hallmark of Radcliffe. She also has deep connections to the Institute and its work, having served on the search committee for the director of the Schlesinger Library and through her own Radcliffe Fellowship in 2016-2017. 

Many members of the Radcliffe and Harvard communities offered important advice during the search, and we are grateful to all for the helpful observations that have not only informed the choice of a dean but also helped reflect upon opportunities ahead for the Institute. I particularly want to thank the members of the faculty advisory committee for the search, who devoted their time and care to assuring an outstanding outcome. My special thanks go to Liz Cohen, whose leadership, wisdom, and limitless energy have been essential to the many accomplishments of Radcliffe for nearly seven years.

This is an important moment for Radcliffe as it matures into an established and renowned institute for advanced study, with its world class library and archive on the history of women in America, as well as its expanding role, through the Academic Ventures program, in bringing together faculty and students from across and beyond Harvard in common pursuits. Tomiko is exceptionally well equipped to advance and build upon this important work, and I know that she will count on the insight, partnership, and support of the entire Radcliffe community as she embraces those opportunities in the years ahead.

For today, please join Provost Garber, President-elect Bacow, and me in congratulating Tomiko on her appointment. We are certain our newest dean will be relying on your support and counsel as she prepares to take up her new duties.

Drew Faust

PS: For more on today’s announcement, please see a related news release.