In a world moving faster than ever, the leading institutions of higher education will be those agile enough to capitalize on unexpected opportunities and meet unforeseen needs.
The Dean’s Leadership Fund provides unrestricted funds that can be used immediately and flexibly, giving Harvard the capacity to continue as a place of discovery and a premier source of ideas, advancing teaching, learning, and research, and leading change in the world.
The Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences will strengthen the Dean’s Leadership Fund to ensure Harvard can move quickly and effectively to seize new opportunities and address challenges. For example, when the financial markets crashed and more students needed more financial aid than was anticipated or available, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith turned to immediate-use funds to fulfill Harvard’s promise of financial aid. And he was able to do it at a time of rising institutional expenses, falling endowment returns, and cuts in government assistance. Dean Smith met the unexpected, dramatic increase in needed student aid, protecting not only Harvard’s industry-leading financial aid program but also the dreams and aspirations of Harvard students from families hit hard by the economic downturn. Unrestricted dollars made this possible.
When fast-moving technologies and new ways of learning meant Harvard had to move nimbly to seize opportunity and be in a position to lead, Dean Smith turned to the Dean’s Leadership Fund to support investment in HarvardX. This University-wide initiative enables faculty to produce innovative online content and experiment with blended models of teaching that are enriching face-to-face exchanges between faculty and students. HarvardX represents an opportunity for Harvard to lead in redefining the model of higher education, reach a new world of learners, and strengthen the educational experiences of students on campus—all because Dean Smith was able to invest these unrestricted dollars.