April 25, 2014

Harvard administrator to replace Dean Art

The appointments of a new dean of students in the College and a new dean of the Graham School bring two new faces to University administration.

The University announced that Harvard administrator John “Jay” Ellison has been appointed dean of students in the College. He will replace Susan Art, who announced her retirement last month. Mark Nemec, a political scientist with a background in data analysis for higher education, will succeed Dan Shannon as dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

Currently an associate dean and the secretary of the Administrative Board at Harvard College, Ellison will officially take over as dean of students following Art’s retirement at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Ellison was appointed as the secretary to Harvard’s Administrative Board in 2005 and also became an associate dean in 2008, according to the Crimson. The board deals with the application and enforcement of standards of social conduct and academic regulations for undergraduate students, from advising students academically to addressing petitions for changes to rules and regulations. During his 12-year-long tenure on the Board, Ellison oversaw reforms to the board’s structure, including the implementation of an honor code for the College.

This board also oversaw the adjudication of Harvard’s recent cheating scandal, which at its height saw roughly 70 students suspended because of academic dishonesty in one course. Ellison received flak for an email in which it appeared he gave preferential treatment to student athletes involved in the scandal, recommending that they take a leave of absence to maintain NCAA eligibility.

Ellison said he expressed interest in the job first, reaching out directly to the firm hired by the University charged with conducting the job search.  Art informed Dean of the College John Boyer that she intended to retire last fall. A listing for the position was placed in December, and a nationwide search for a successor ensued, culminating in last week’s decision to bring Ellison on board.

“Dean Art has done a really amazing job of making the dean of students in the College respected among the students and within the University,” he said. “I would like to take that legacy and make sure I’m well plugged into the faculty and staff so that you can feel like you can talk to me. My goals are always to be as in touch as I can be and approachable with students.”

In the Graham School, Nemec seeks to share a new perspective as a political scientist and as the current CEO of Eduventures, a company that provides research and consulting to the higher education community. He previously taught American politics at Davidson College and the University of Michigan, where he earned his Ph.D.

“The University of Chicago has long been a model for making an outstanding education available to students who are not on a traditional path,” Nemec said in a University press release. “Changing demographics, evolving technologies, and forces such as urbanization and globalization create new needs and opportunities. In this context, complementary forms of a UChicago education will play an important role in expanding the University’s reach.”

Ellison and Nemec will both assume their roles on July 1.