Dear members of the FAS community,
It is with a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunity to have served the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences that I write today to inform you of my decision to step down as dean. While I am genuinely excited by the promise of incoming President Bacow’s tenure, after more than a decade serving the FAS, I am very much looking forward to returning to the classroom and a life of new academic and personal pursuits. I will continue to serve until my successor is named.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is an amazing collection of smart, dedicated, and driven individuals who work collaboratively toward one of the most consequential missions ever. During the past decade, our community has responded collectively to a new and stringent set of financial and normative expectations for higher education. And it has adapted quickly to a world that has become increasingly interconnected.
I am extremely proud to be part of this community, which has constantly strived to ask the ever bigger, ever more important questions, from climate change to inequality. Especially in our learning mission, through an embrace of making, doing, and performing, Harvard has remained anything but passive. It has been an undeniable privilege for this simple engineer to have had a front-row seat as our community built a foundation within the FAS that will continue Harvard’s commitment to excellence and truth now and into the future.
I have been fortunate to serve this great institution during a transformational time in its history, under the extraordinary leadership of President Drew Faust, and alongside an unmatched collection of inspired deans and leaders. I am enormously thankful for great colleagues, faculty and staff, and inquisitive and creative students. It has been an honor to share in your dreams and aspirations, and I am humbled to have had a small part in supporting your success.
Michael D. Smith
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences