Indian American professor, Rakesh Khurana appointed dean of Harvard

23 Jan 2014


Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed dean of the prestigious Harvard College, the latest in the list of distinguished Indian-origin academicians to lead top global universities.

Harvard Professor Rakesh Khurana, who was praised as a scholar and teacher with deep experience working with undergraduates and a strong commitment to the College, was named dean of Harvard College today by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith / Photogrpah: Stephanie Mitchell: Harvard Staff Photographer.  

The 46-year old academician is currently 'Marvin Bower' professor of leadership development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard, the report said.

Khurana succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, professor of history of science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard and would assume his new role on 1 July.

Describing Khurana as a "faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness'' of Harvard, Harvard president Drew Faust said, Khurana's experiences as a graduate student, an award-winning teacher at HBS, and the master of an undergraduate House gave him a unique perspective on the university, and his deep respect for the liberal - arts model and the residential education would serve him well as he guides Harvard College.

Following the announcement, Khurana said he was ''honoured'' to have the opportunity to serve the College and work with the faculty, students, and staff to create a transformative educational experience for students. He added, he was convinced that, working together, the faculty and others would have a significant and positive impact on the college.

FAS dean Michael D Smith, announcing the appointment in an email to the FAS community, praised Khurana as a scholar and teacher with deep experience working with undergraduates and a strong commitment to the College.

"Rakesh is a distinguished scholar of organizational behaviour and leadership, an award-winning teacher, and a dynamic House master who has also deeply engaged with undergraduate issues on important committees," wrote Smith.

"Rakesh's style of leadership is distinctly inclusive; he understands the importance of listening and looks forward to engaging with the faculty and the College."

According to  Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School, Rakesh's selection was a testament first and foremost to his skill and vision as a teacher and scholar, and a demonstration, too, of the ways Drew Faust's vision for one university could create exciting new opportunities.

Khurana who earned his BS from Cornell University, started graduate studies at Harvard in 1993, earning his PhD in 1998. He taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1998 and 2000.

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