Professor Claudine Gay, Daughter of Haitian Immigrants, Named Dean of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Claudine Gay is the new dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/HPAC)

by John S. Rosenberg via harvardmagazine.com

Claudine Gay, Cowett professor of Government and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and Dean of Social Science within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)—will become dean of FAS August 15. As dean of social science, Gay has had budgetary and appointment and promotion authority for slightly more than one-third of the FAS (252 faculty members in social sciences, in a total of 730-plus).

Gay has also been directing the new Inequality in America Initiative, launching an interdisciplinary program of particular scholarly and public interest at the present moment.

In a statement announcing the appointment—his first senior personnel decision since becoming president July 1—Bacow said: “Claudine Gay is an eminent political scientist, an admired teacher and mentor, and an experienced leader with a talent for collaboration and a passion for academic excellence. She is a scholar of uncommon creativity and rigor, with a strong working knowledge of the opportunities and challenges facing the FAS. She radiates a concern for others, and for how what we do here can help improve lives far beyond our walls. I am confident she will lead the FAS with the vitality and the values that characterize universities at their best.”

Gay said: “It is hard to imagine a more exciting opportunity than to learn from and lead the faculty, staff, and students of the FAS. I am reminded daily that ours is an extraordinary community—diverse, ambitious, and deeply committed to teaching and research excellence. We are all drawn here, each in our own way, by a passion for learning, a search for deeper understandings, and a will to serve the common good. I look forward to working together to advance our shared mission, one never more important than it is now.”

The statement noted her scholarly interest in “understanding the political choices of ordinary people and how those choices are shaped by their social, political, and economic environments.” According to her scholarly homepage:

“My research interests are in the fields of American political behavior, public opinion, minority politics, and urban and local politics. My research has considered, among other issues, how the election of minority officeholders affects citizens’ perceptions of their government and their interest in politics and public affairs; how neighborhood environments shape racial and political attitudes among Black Americans; the roots of competition and cooperation between minority groups, with a particular focus on relations between Black Americans and Latinos; processes of immigrant political incorporation; and the consequences of housing mobility programs for political participation among the poor, drawing on evidence from the Moving To Opportunity demonstration program.”

Gay, like Bacow, is the child of immigrants to the United States—in her case, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, according to the announcement. She grew up in New York and then in Saudi Arabia, where her father, a civil engineer, worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A Stanford graduate (economics), Gay earned her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1998 (her dissertation is titled, “Taking Charge: Black Electoral Success and the Redefinition of American Politics”).

After holding assistant and associate professorships in political science at Stanford—and holding a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences—she was recruited to Harvard in 2006. In the government department, she served as director of graduate studies from 2010 to 2015, and has been a member of FAS’s General Education committee and of committees associated with Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science and Center for American Political Studies. A Radcliffe Institute Fellow during the 2013-14 academic year, she was named to the social-science deanship in 2015 and became Cowett professor the same year.

Read more: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2018/07/new-fas-dean-claudine-gay?utm_source=Harvard+Magazine+eNews&utm_campaign=1331fff9b5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_26_07_37&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d59fecc95b-1331fff9b5-85096337

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