The Faculty of Arts and Sciences ended fiscal 2021 with a surplus of $ 51 million, according to the dean’s annual report, which was presented at a monthly faculty meeting on Tuesday.
This surplus represents a significant contrast to the school’s initial projections, which predicted a deficit of $ 112 million for fiscal year 2021, as well as an improvement from the $ 16 million deficit the FAS had recorded. during the previous fiscal year including the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. .
FAS Dean Claudine Gay encouraged professors at Tuesday’s meeting to proactively think about the future of FAS given its strengthened financial situation.
âWe have invested a tremendous amount of energy in maintaining excellence with the resources we have, and I know there hasn’t necessarily been room to imagine,â she said. “I’m here to tell you that there is this space right now, and it’s a serious invitation to imagine what long-term excellence looks like and what will be needed to get there.”
At a faculty meeting in April 2020, Gay described the financial measures the FAS would follow to overcome the pandemic. These included prioritizing Harvard’s academic and research mission, stepping up support for financial aid, limiting faculty searches, and suspending faculty salary increases and bonus programs.
Gay announced on Tuesday that the FAS was planning to make “targeted investments” using some of the excess income, including spending $ 5 million to buy new technology, such as cameras and screens, to equip offices and homes. classrooms for hybrid and remote work.
âJust as we shouldn’t overreact by tightening our belts in tough times, we shouldn’t overextend ourselves in good times,â she added. âSo I make these investments with our long-term academic excellence in mind. “
Gay also announced that it had authorized 18 new faculty searches, bringing the total to 66 searches for the 2021-2022 academic year, speeding up faculty hires in all three divisions of the FAS. The FAS conducted 31 searches for faculty by scale in the previous academic year, resulting in 11 offers. At the start of the pandemic, Harvard announced a university-wide hiring freeze to cut its budget.
At the meeting, University Rector Alan M. Garber ’76 also recognized the 16 newly appointed faculty members. Only two tenure exams failed this year, and the tenure pass rate for women and teachers of color was 100 percent, according to the annual report.
Following Gay’s remarks, Dean of Faculty Affairs and Planning Nina Zipser noted that FAS faculty ranks declined slightly during the pandemic, but predicted that accelerated faculty searches this year would result in a increase in new hires over the next two years.
Thirty-four faculty members left Harvard in the past academic year, according to the report. Of these professors, 12 retired, 11 were hired at other institutions, seven failed their promotion exams and four died.
Zipser also shared the findings of the FAS report on the âunequal distribution of workloadâ among faculty from different demographic backgrounds, drawing on self-reported faculty activity data.
âWe looked at the data and found that assistant, associate and full professors sit on more committees than their male colleagues,â Zipser said. “This analysis does not include ‘invisible work,’ which can be hours and hours of support – this leads to an uneven amount of time to research and support one’s work.”
To follow up on the findings, Zipser said she would form a faculty committee to “review the distribution of services, teaching and mentoring.”
Gay also told professors at Tuesday’s meeting that the availability of Covid-19 booster shots and eligibility for pediatric vaccines could mean “spring looks and feels a lot different.”
âDuring the remainder of the fall semester, we will be taking steps to allow teachers to teach without masks by next spring,â she said.
“Obviously, any significant changes to our basic public health protocols will have to be decided by the health services, but we can make changes at the FAS level to optimistically prepare for another kind of spring,” a- she added.
– Editor Meera S. Nair can be contacted at [email protected]
– Editor-in-chief Andy Z. Wang can be contacted at [email protected]