I write with the bittersweet news that Huntington Lambert, Dean of the Division of Continuing Education (DCE), will retire at the end of this calendar year.
Hunt became dean in 2013. In these six years, the DCE team has grown its academic quality, the number of programs, the number of students served and their success rates, and the breadth of student services. DCE has also strengthened its role as a partner to Harvard’s professional schools as they seek to create efforts that serve part-time and distance learners.
From its roots as an organization founded to provide free public lectures to residents of the Boston community, the team at DCE has grown Harvard Extension School into an educational platform with a global reach, offering more than 900 online and on-campus courses, and degrees and certificates that provide access to Harvard-style small seminar classes to part-time, adult students around the world. As part of DCE, the Harvard Summer School has also expanded, growing to almost 10,000 students and over 500 courses across traditional and new programs. Hunt has led the way for the development of a global alumni network welcoming Harvard Extension School graduates into the family of Harvard alumni. At the same time, the programs of DCE have continued to generate revenue that is critically important to the support of the FAS teaching and research mission.
During Hunt’s time as dean, Harvard has increasingly sought to engage learners who seek to expand their knowledge and develop deeper professional skills through non-degree offerings. Hunt and other leaders within DCE have been important voices in that work, both in cross-university review efforts and through DCE’s own programs. DCE’s Professional Development Programs have been enormously successful at training professionals for the next step in their careers. The expansion of nontraditional learners in degree and non-degree programs is one more way Harvard has responded to the global need for high quality education among those who cannot pursue school full time.
As the consummate “data guy,” Hunt mentioned to me that his thinking about retirement had been influenced by the realization that he had logged more than 120,000 working hours over his 40 years of driving innovation and change. Harvard is enormously fortunate to have benefited from a portion of those hours in service to our goal of advancing access to Harvard educational offerings to the distance and part-time learner. Hunt leaves a proud legacy at Harvard, and I am deeply grateful for the positive impact he has had on our community.
Henry Leitner, Associate Dean and Chief Innovation Officer at DCE, has agreed to serve as interim dean starting in January 2020. A global search for Hunt’s successor will begin later this fall.
Please join me in congratulating Hunt on all these successes and for his extraordinary service to Harvard.
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences