Harvard Drops ‘House Master’ Term in Favor of ‘Faculty Dean’

Steve Annear, Boston Globe, February 24, 2016

After months of consideration, Harvard University has announced that the school is dropping the term “House master” when referring to those who oversee undergraduate residences at the school, and instead going with the word “faculty dean.”

In a letter sent Wednesday to the school community, Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told students and staff that the change reflected input heard during a series of wide-ranging debates and meetings on campus.

“This title reflects our House leaders’ high standing in the joint academic and administrative hierarchy of the College and is easily understood by prospective students and their families, who might not (yet!) be deeply familiar with Harvard College’s residential system,” Smith wrote in the letter, which was forwarded to the Globe.

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At Harvard, the House masters–now faculty deans–preside over the residential halls for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. {snip}

The move, which was unanimously supported by the residential leaders, was partly spurred by student concerns over race issues on campus, officials said. But they also said the move had been under consideration for some time.

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