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Rakesh Khurana named Dean of prestigious Harvard College

Rakesh Khurana

Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed Dean of the prestigious Harvard College

Rakesh KhuranaNew York: Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed Dean of the prestigious Harvard College, becoming the latest addition to a long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership roles at renowned global universities.

Khurana, 46, is currently the ‘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.

He succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, Professor of History of Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard and will assume his new role on July 1.

Harvard College is the school within Harvard University that grants undergraduate degrees.

Khurana earned his Ph.D. through a joint program between HBS and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998.

Harvard President Drew Faust described Khurana as a “faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness” of Harvard.

Following the announcement, Khurana said he is ‘honored’ to have the opportunity to serve the College and work with the faculty, students, and staff to create a “transformative educational experience for our students. I am convinced that, working together, we will have a significant and positive impact on the College.”

Although Khurana did not attend the College himself, he said, “one of the benefits of being a House master is that you get some window into student experiences.”

FAS Dean Michael Smith, who announced 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.

Khurana earned his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and began graduate studies at Harvard in 1993, earning his Ph.D.in 1998. He was appointed to the HBS faculty in 2000 and became co-master of Cabot in 2010.

He taught at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1998 and 2000. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a founding member of Cambridge Technology Partners.

Khurana’s research uses a sociological perspective to focus on the processes by which elites and leaders are selected and developed. He has written extensively about the CEO labor market and business education.

He has also been recognized for his commitment to pedagogy, twice earning the excellence in teaching awards and being nominated in 2013 for the Star Family Prize for Excellence in Advising.

He has also co-authored “Handbook for Leadership Theory and Practice” (2010) and “The Handbook for Teaching Leadership” (2012), seminal texts on leadership theory and pedagogical practice.

As a member of the Harvard community, he led or served on a number of policy-making panels, including the Committee on Academic Integrity, Campus Culture, and the Alcohol and Other Drug Services Campus-Community Collaborative.

In 2011-2012, he co-chaired the Committee on Harvard College Alcohol Policy. Most recently, he served on the task force charged by Faust with recommending policies related to the privacy of electronic communications conducted at Harvard.

Khurana joins the growing club of Indian-origin academicians heading prestigious universities in the US.

Khurana was named to the deanship after a grueling selection process which started last July when Smith had announced the creation of an advisory committee consisting of faculty from all FAS academic divisions.


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