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FAS ‘Actively Recruiting’ Four Ethnic Studies Scholars, Gay Says

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay, pictured in 2019.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay, pictured in 2019. By Allison G. Lee
By Ariel H. Kim and Meimei Xu, Crimson Staff Writers

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has identified four ethnic studies scholars and is in the process of “actively recruiting” them to come to Harvard, FAS Dean Claudine Gay said in a Tuesday interview.

After decades of advocacy efforts for an ethnic studies concentration by students and alumni, Gay announced in June 2019 that the FAS would hire three to four senior faculty in Asian American, Latinx, and Muslim American studies by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Due to logistical issues posed by the pandemic, however, the FAS indefinitely suspended the faculty search in April 2020, resuming four months later.

Gay reiterated in December 2021 that there is “no wavering of commitment” in the search for ethnic studies scholars.

In addition to the ethnic studies cluster hire, Gay added in Tuesday’s interview the FAS is recruiting visiting scholars for the next academic year.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be at this point in the search process — again, knowing full well that there’s still a long way to go,” she said.

She called hiring faculty with a diverse range of expertise the “first step” in creating a representative college environment.

“I believe very firmly that for us to prepare students for lives of leadership and service in a diverse society, to have impact on issues of public consequence, to be truly inclusive as a scholarly community — for all those reasons, I think this work really needs to be more fully represented on our campus and in our curriculum,” Gay said.

She added that the recent $45 million alumni gift to expand Asian American studies will help the FAS pursue its goal of inclusivity.

Apart from ethnic studies, the FAS will begin the search for a campus curator and the creation of a new, formal FAS committee, as recommended in December by the FAS Task Force on Visual Culture and Signage. The committee will include faculty, staff, and students who will act as advisors to the curator.

Gay declined to comment on the implementation of recommendations made by the Tenure-Track Committee last October and the proposal by a committee within the Office of Undergraduate Education for double concentrations without a combined thesis.

She also declined to comment on suspended admission to the graduate secondary program in Latinx studies and the potential suspension of the American studies graduate program, which is currently under external review.

The Crimson interviews FAS Dean Claudine Gay once per month during the academic year. Click here to submit a question for consideration in our next interview.

—Staff writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at ariel.kim@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Meimei Xu can be reached at meimei.xu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeimeiXu7.

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