Harvard Leadership Expert Khurana Named Undergraduate Dean

Harvard University named Rakesh Khurana, a leadership expert at the business school, as dean of Harvard College, which was caught in an exam cheating scandal that led to the previous dean’s departure.

Khurana, who is also a professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will begin his new role as undergraduate dean in July, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard said today in a statement.

Khurana has written widely on leadership and helped Harvard Business School students develop an ethics pledge that graduates began signing in 2010. As co-master with his wife Stephanie of Cabot House, one of the college residences, Khurana also brings an understanding of students’ experiences at the school, said Michael Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“I am confident that he will advance undergraduate education with both a respect for enduring values and the ability to embrace change,” Smith said in the statement on Harvard’s website. “He understands the interplay of academic, extracurricular, and residential life at Harvard and is an eloquent spokesperson for the transformative nature of the Harvard undergraduate experience.”

Khurana received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a master’s in sociology from Harvard. He earned a Ph.D. jointly through Harvard Business School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998, according to the statement. He joined the business school faculty in 2000.

Leadership Books

He received the Charles Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 and 2012. His books include “Handbook for Teaching Leadership,” which he co-wrote in 2012, according to a letter Smith sent to Harvard staff and faculty.

Khurana “embodies the interconnectedness of Harvard,” President Drew Faust said in the statement. “His experiences as a graduate student, an award-winning teacher at HBS, and the master of an undergraduate house give him a unique perspective on the university, and his deep respect for the liberal-arts model and the residential education will serve him well as he guides Harvard College.”

Khurana succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, who stepped down last year after Harvard was rocked by the cheating scandal on a final exam in an undergraduate government course that led to dozens of student suspensions. Hammonds left her post at the end of a five-year term after she said she had authorized searches of staff e-mails to discover the source of a news leak related to the scandal.

Smith said last year that the school would redouble its efforts to promote academic integrity, and Faust formed a task force to develop recommendations on e-mail privacy.

Harvard, founded in 1636 and the oldest U.S. college, has about 6,700 undergraduates.

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