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Letter to colleagues about Harvard University Science and Engineering Committee

Cambridge, MA

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to solicit your advice about the names and qualifications of outstanding scientists and engineers on the Harvard faculty whom I might ask to serve on the new Harvard University Science and Engineering Committee (HUSEC).

Fulfilling a key recommendation in the final report on Enhancing Science and Engineering at Harvard submitted late last year by the University Planning Committee on Science and Engineering, HUSEC was chartered by the Harvard Corporation at its January 2007 meeting. As a University-wide standing committee, HUSEC will bring together deans, hospital leaders, and faculty from all parts of the University where research and teaching in the natural sciences flourish. The committee will advise the President and the Harvard Corporation on the direction of major new investments for interdisciplinary ventures in the natural sciences, including initiatives for the emerging Allston campus. HUSEC will review proposals for the establishment of departments, committees, and interdisciplinary projects spanning the boundaries of schools and linking academic departments to the affiliated hospitals. To better coordinate planning across the University, HUSEC will also serve as a forum for the discussion of major initiatives undertaken by the Deans of the Medical School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Public Health.

More resources:

Harvard creates new, University-wide committee to guide interdisciplinary efforts in science

A full description of the scope and composition of HUSEC appears in the attached description of its charter. As that document indicates, I plan to select 10-12 faculty scientists and engineers to serve on HUSEC, after careful consideration of nominations submitted by faculty across the Harvard community.

This is where I need your advice. Please let me know of respected scientists and engineers from various parts of the Harvard faculty who would, in your view, be well-qualified to serve for a term on HUSEC, starting this March. Along with the Provost, the Deans, and the leaders of Harvard-affiliated hospitals, I am looking especially for widely respected men and women with multiple ties and curiosities, who can help to shape interdisciplinary and newly connected areas of teaching and research – spanning the life sciences, physical sciences, statistics and mathematics, engineering, and translational medicine. Although it will be important to have persons from various disciplinary backgrounds and institutional locations serving on HUSEC, there are no quotas. We are looking for scientists and engineers of breadth, judgment, and experience with a proven or potential capacity to think creatively about investments that will serve the intellectual, educational, and research interests of the University as a whole.

When you submit nominees, I hope you will indicate, at least briefly, why you think each person is likely to be able to rise to this important challenge. All of us at Harvard have a strong stake in finding forward-looking and capaciously minded faculty leaders to serve on HUSEC, and I am most grateful for any advice you can provide.

Please send your nomination or nominations to by no later than February 20, 2007. If you prefer, you may also write to me in confidence at Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Sincerely yours,

Derek Bok