Since my appointment as dean, I have engaged increasingly with alumni and students as I get to know the members of this special community. These energizing conversations are helping me to define my priorities, which will include addressing one of the most important aspects of a graduate student’s career—advising—to determine how we can enhance the mentorship our students receive. As a start, I have convened a small planning group with the aim of launching an advising initiative later this year. Your voices will be crucial as we seek to understand the characteristics that lead to the best student advising, and I hope you will share your valuable perspectives once the initiative is launched.
We are all enriched by the unique journeys our students take on the way to GSAS, coming from a variety of backgrounds and contributing different voices to the discussions arising here. They are master’s and PhD students, veterans, and parents, with multiple religious beliefs and gender identities. In this year’s incoming class, 45 percent of students come from 98 countries, and, for the first time in Harvard history, female PhD students outnumber male. We are expanding our efforts around inclusion and belonging to ensure that all feel welcome, so that every student can take advantage of all that GSAS offers and feel supported as they engage in creative thinking and pursue scholarship at the very edge of knowledge.
As we focus on making GSAS a place where students can fully participate, we also want to create more ways that you, our alumni, can engage more deeply with GSAS. I will be holding alumni events in cities around the world, and I am looking forward to connecting with more of you and sharing a few of the amazing stories emerging from the incredible work our students and your fellow alumni are doing. Even though you may live thousands of miles away, I want you to feel a part of this remarkable community.