Physics and Astronomy professor Christopher W. Stubbs will assume the role of interim dean of science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on July 1, according to an email sent by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith to faculty on Thursday.
Stubbs will be the second ever administrator in the role. His predecessor, Geophysics professor Jeremy Bloxham, became the inaugural holder of the position in 2007. Bloxham announced in March that he would end his eleven-year tenure at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 academic year.
“In this role, Professor Stubbs will have principal responsibility for all academic, financial, and space planning across the Science Division, working in partnership with the departments and centers,” Smith wrote in his email. “He will also serve as a member of the Academic Planning Group, the academic senior leadership team that advises the FAS Dean on a broad range of policy and resource issues.”
Stubbs joined the Faculty in 2003 as a professor of Physics and Astronomy. He previously served as the chair of the Physics department and was named a Harvard College Professor in 2009—an honor bestowed upon members of the Faculty in recognition of excellence in their roles as educators. As a physicist, Stubbs was a member of one of the two teams that first discovered dark energy, and also founded the APOLLO collaboration that probes for novel gravitational effects.
Since accepting the position, Stubbs said he has met with numerous colleagues, including Bloxham and others who work in the office of the Dean of Science.
“We're in the process of doing assessments and making priorities and crafting plans,” Stubbs said. “I think this transition is smoothly underway.”
Stubbs said he believes the challenges the sciences division faces include maintaining ties with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as SEAS expands into Allston, continuing previous initiatives started by Bloxham and Smith, and upholding the General Education requirements.
“I think we need to step up and support the General Education revisions we've undertaken and offer a suite of courses that meet the needs of our students,” he said.
Stubbs will assume the role as president-elect Lawrence S. Bacow continues the search for the next dean of FAS. Smith announced in March he would be stepping down as FAS dean once Bacow chooses his successor.
Stubbs will likely serve as dean of science only until the next FAS dean appoints a permanent divisional dean, though he said he does not intend to lead a “caretaker administration.”
“I think with these interim positions, one alternative is to just sort of sit tight and do minimal things and bide your time until a successor is appointed, and another approach is to seize the window of opportunity and try to effect change,” Stubbs said. “I certainly intend to do the latter.”