HARVARD GAZETTE ARCHIVES
Fineberg to conclude service as provost
Appointed by President Neil L. Rudenstine in 1997, Fineberg has served as the president's key partner and adviser on both academic and administrative matters of University-wide concern. Among other things, he has worked to strengthen institutional planning, encourage interfaculty academic collaboration, and foster innovation in such domains as information technology and student health.
Announcing his plans, Fineberg said he hoped to ensure that Summers would have the opportunity and flexibility to develop this important role and relationship as he sees fit, from the outset of his tenure.
Fineberg who served as dean of the Faculty of Public Health from 1983 to 1997, will retain his appointment as professor of health policy and management. He said he plans to take a sabbatical starting July 1 to refocus on his academic work and consider his longer-term plans.
Rudenstine said Fineberg has been a close colleague and friend, as well as an outstanding provost. He credited Fineberg with strengthening and expanding the inter-faculty initiatives. Fineberg also extended Harvard's national and international reach, Rudenstine said, by working with Harvard's graduates and friends around the world.
"He has, above all, brought a thoughtful and humane presence to all the affairs of the University," Rudenstine said. "Those qualities, together with his strong capacity for analysis and judgment, have made him literally invaluable to me and to the University."
Fineberg has been a member of the Harvard community for 30 years, as a student, alumnus, faculty member, and administrator. He has received four degrees from as many Harvard Schools: the College, the Medical School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
As provost, Fineberg played an essential role serving as the president's partner, adviser and deputy. With Rudenstine, he negotiated the incorporation of Radcliffe College into Harvard as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. And Fineberg commissioned the physical planning committee that will oversee the University's growth and expansion.
Fineberg has presided over the University's interfaculty programs, putting them on firmer financial ground and encouraging development of new research and teaching projects. He also established the Provost's Fund for Interfaculty Collaboration in 1998 to support interdisciplinary work involving faculty from different schools. The fund has distributed $520,000 to some 50 working groups since its inception.
Fineberg has been a leader in academic and administrative computing, overseeing Harvard's response to the challenge of keeping pace with rapidly evolving technology. Under Fineberg's leadership, the University has entered the technology vanguard, piloting projects in voice-over-Internet and wireless technology. Fineberg also convened the Harvard Academic Computing Committee to discover how to use new technologies to enhance teaching and research. As a result of the committee's work, Fineberg established two funds to support innovation in instructional computing and distance learning, which will distribute as much as $7 million over the next three years to promising projects.
Fineberg has worked to improve the well being of the University community as well, fostering diversity and expanding and enhancing benefits programs, and initiating a review of health services, especially mental health services. This review resulted in the addition of seven new mental health clinicians to the University's staff and the creation of a Student Health Coordinating Board that seeks to improve health care for students across Harvard.
Fineberg said the provost's role should continue to be strengthened and developed in future years, particularly with respect to University-wide initiatives and academic, financial, and physical planning.
"For now, I look forward to the remaining three months of my service as provost, which I intend to be active ones," Fineberg said.
Fineberg emphasized his intention to be fully available to President-elect Summers and others to offer his advice and help in whatever ways will be most conducive to a smooth transition.
"It is clear that Harvey Fineberg has been an outstanding provost, and I have much to learn from him," said Summers. "I look forward to benefiting greatly from his counsel, and I will begin consulting soon in regard to future provostial possibilities."