A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf
To the Harvard Kennedy School Community,
Being Dean of Harvard Kennedy School has been even more enlightening, challenging, and rewarding than I imagined when I accepted the position in June 2015. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in this role.
But I decided during the summer that it will soon be time for the next chapter for the Kennedy School and for me. I plan to step down as Dean in June 2024, after which I look forward to playing a different role here—that of a faculty member—and to having much more time to learn and teach about economic policy.
I am grateful to the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Kennedy School for your partnership in advancing the Kennedy School’s vital mission over the past eight years. Working together, we have renewed our faculty, with impressive new colleagues focused on social policy, race and public policy, democracy, public management and leadership, technology and governance, international relations, economic development, and more. Working together, we have reinforced the School’s commitment to practice, with new professors of practice from government and civil society, more emphasis on professional competencies and policy implementation in the curriculum, and ongoing efforts to expand field-based learning. Working together, we completed the campus transformation and have upgraded much of our previous space. Working together, we have undertaken a range of initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion at the School and to create a wider sense of belonging. Working together, we kept pushing ahead despite a terribly disruptive pandemic. And working together, we have strengthened the School’s ability to advance its mission in a range of other ways.
There is much to do to ensure the ongoing success of the Kennedy School and its graduates. We need to keep strengthening our curriculum and degree programs, increasing financial aid, fostering candid conversations, and so much more. These topics and others will be focuses of our attention going forward.
Although this message is not my final “thank you,” I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the continuing support and many kindnesses that members of the Kennedy School community have shown me during my time as Dean. I am grateful as well to Harvard Presidents Drew Faust, Larry Bacow, and Claudine Gay, as well as Harvard Provost Alan Garber and the Deans of Harvard’s other schools (I realize that I have become the second-longest-serving member of this group) for their enduring support and wise guidance. I am sorry that I will not have more time as Dean to work for and learn from President Gay, but I look forward to interacting with her in other contexts. Lastly, I am more thankful than I can express to my family for their love and encouragement.
The hard and skilled work of Harvard Kennedy School’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends are helping people across this country and around the world to benefit from more evidence-based public policies, better management of public institutions, and more principled and effective public leadership. President Gay and Provost Garber will share information soon about the search process for my successor in leading this remarkable community. I am excited to see what our community will do in the future, and I look forward to working with you in my new role after next June.
With best wishes,