Kennedy School Shifts Budget Surplus to Diversity and Equity Initiatives | New

Harvard Kennedy School announced a budget surplus of $ 1.5 million in fiscal 2021, which will allow the school to continue cluster recruiting, expand its financial aid program and invest in infrastructure, according to the dean of the school.

HKS Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in an interview on Tuesday that as a result of the surplus HKS broke even in the past two years – a result he called “much better” than what the school had feared.

According to Elmendorf, the Kennedy School has started several cluster hiring searches this year, including searches for professors studying the environment, public management, and geopolitical authority of China, respectively.

The use of cluster hiring is part of recent changes to the school’s hiring practices aimed at improving diversity within the school’s faculty. Students have long called on HKS to strengthen its efforts on diversity and equity.

“We have found that recruiting clusters helps us attract a more diverse set of faculty members, and we intend to continue researching clusters where we can,” Elmendorf said.

In recent years, the school has hired approximately ten faculty members whose research focuses on the intersection of race and public policy. Elmendorf said the new hires are a “very substantial” and “appropriate” change for the school, noting that the school has just over 100 faculty members.

“That doesn’t mean we’ve finished hiring people who work on race and public policy, but we’re glad we’ve been able to hire so many over the past few years,” Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf added that the school has reformed its faculty search practices to ensure it builds a “big network” rather than “relying on the personal networks” of current faculty, which he says gives rise to prejudices.

The budget surplus will also allow HKS to provide additional financial assistance of $ 2 million per year. The increase, however, does not respond to calls from students for full, needs-based financial aid, which Elmendorf says is currently not financially feasible.

Still, he argued that making HKS financially accessible is a “top priority” for the school and reiterated the need to continue fundraising.

Elmendorf also said in Tuesday’s interview that HKS plans to invest in its physical and IT infrastructure. HKS will also pursue new online learning opportunities, which Elmendorf says will allow the school to extend its reach to students around the world.

Elmendorf pointed to the school’s executive education programs – which have all been held virtually since the start of the pandemic but will return to in-person programming this spring – as an example of the opportunities that online learning can bring.

“We want to continue to reach people around the world like we did during the shutdown,” Elmendorf said. “We will try to create more online courses to help public leaders wherever they are. “

During the interview, Elmendorf also touched on the recent appointment of Michael Nutter as chair of the Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Board.

The role of the committee in overseeing the Institute has become increasingly controversial. In February 2020, Caroline B. Kennedy ’80 – the last living child of former United States President John F. Kennedy ’40 – resigned as honorary chair of the committee over concerns that Elmendorf and the Kennedy School violated autonomy. of the advisory committee.

Despite Kennedy’s departure, Elmendorf said he spoke to her “fairly regularly” and that she had been consulted about Nutter’s selection. He declined to provide details of their conversations.

An investigation by The Crimson in April found that Elmendorf took a more active role in overseeing the IOP compared to his predecessors. Although he declined to compare his level of engagement with previous deans, Elmendorf said he aimed to ensure that the IOP serves Harvard undergraduates “as effectively as possible.”

“It is so important that Harvard students have the opportunity to engage in politics and [be] drawn into public service, ”Elmendorf said. “It’s part of my responsibility as dean and that’s why I’m involved. “

– Editor-in-Chief Joshua S. Cai can be contacted at [email protected]

– Editor-in-Chief Eric Yan can be contacted at [email protected]

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