A message from Doug Elmendorf, Dean of Harvard Kennedy School

As some of you have heard, Archon Fung will be stepping down from his role as Academic Dean of the Kennedy School at the end of this academic year. Archon has been a terrific Academic Dean, and we will all miss him in this role very much.

Archon has served in this crucial and demanding position for four years – one year working with David Ellwood, half a year being Acting Dean, and two-and-a-half years showing me the ropes. Most importantly, he has led our efforts to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members, winning many (though, alas, not all) of these competitions with other schools and playing a crucial role in building the Kennedy School faculty of the future. Archon led a Kennedy School task force on diversity and inclusion to produce a valuable report last spring that has guided our efforts during this year, and he co-chaired a University task force on these issues that reported just a few months ago. He has played a crucial role in launching new initiatives, including our digitalHKS efforts, a review of the MPP core curriculum, and an online credential program targeted at midcareer students. He has worked with me to select people for leadership roles around the School. And more. In sum, Archon has been my invaluable partner in nearly all of our important efforts of the past few years.

I am sorry that I will not have a chance to work with Archon every day in the coming years, but I know he is eager to refocus his attention on ways to strengthen democracy in this country and around the world, and I am looking forward to seeing what he will do. We will find an appropriate time to honor Archon’s service as Academic Dean.

Meanwhile, the work goes on, and so …

I am thrilled to announce that Iris Bohnet will be our new Academic Dean. Iris is Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy and the Director of the Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program. Iris has a doctorate in economics from the University of Zurich and has been on the faculty here since 1998.

For those who do not know her, Iris is a behavioral economist, combining insights from economics and psychology to improve decision-making. She has published numerous papers on trust, negotiation, and institutions in a wide range of academic journals, and she has received various grants and awards for her research.

Iris’s recent book, What Works: Gender Equality by Design, shows how purposeful design can reduce gender bias in our workplaces and our lives, and she advises governments and companies around the world on this subject. Through the efforts of many people, the Women and Public Policy Program has become a consequential force in enhancing gender equity, and it is reaching new heights under Iris’s leadership.

Iris also serves the Kennedy School community in many other ways. She has been co-chair of the Kennedy School’s Behavioral Insights Group and associate director of Harvard’s Laboratory for Decision Science. She chairs the executive education program that the Kennedy School offers to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. She teaches a course on Behavioral Science for Inclusive Organizations and has been heading up our PhD in Public Policy admissions committee.

Iris did a superb job as Academic Dean from 2011 to 2014, and I am delighted that she has agreed to return to this role. I am looking forward eagerly to working with her!

As part of this transition, Iris will be sharing her leadership role at the Women and Public Policy Program with Hannah Riley Bowles. Iris and Hannah will now serve as co-directors of this research center and work as partners to propel the center forward.

Hannah is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and area chair for Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences, a role in which she excels. She is affiliated with both the Women and Public Policy Program and our Center for Public Leadership. Hannah has an MPP from the Kennedy School and a doctorate in business administration from Harvard Business School. Among her other activities, Hannah leads an executive education course titled “Women and Power”; the Financial Times recently ran a story about the way this course is helping a female leader in Malawi work toward her goal of becoming a member of Parliament.