After serving for a decade as dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, Harry Harding announced last week that he will step down from his position in June.
The expert on Sino-American policy said he was pleased with his time as dean and wanted the school to benefit from fresh leadership. Harding plans to remain on staff at the Elliott School and will spend the next academic year teaching at partner institutions in Asia, according to a University statement.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity the University gave me to head the Elliott School, but the time always comes when it’s best to move on,” he said in an interview Friday.
Calling his time as dean his “third career,” Harding has spent close to 10 years at the Brookings Institution and a decade teaching at Stanford University. He said 10 years in each post was “enough.”
Though Harding’s public announcement came last week, his intentions have been clear to the University for “quite some time,” said Kathleen Reilly, the Elliott School’s director of public affairs.
A search committee has been formed to find a new dean.Jim Goldgeier, director of the school’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian studies, is in charge of the selection process and said the committee was in a confidential phase of searching for a replacement. He said his group will need to present a nominee to University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, who have the final say on Harding’s successor.
“(Harding) steps down on June 30, so we hope to find someone who can start on July 1,” he said.
In addition to searching for Harding’s replacement, University officials are also in the process of selecting a Law School dean and a director of the School of Media and Public Affairs.
Harding declined to comment on what he would like to see in a successor, only saying that he would like someone “who can move the school forward.”
By the end of the semester, Harding will have spent 10 and a half years as Elliott School dean. Under his leadership, the international affairs school’s full-time faculty increased by 75 percent and its student body increased by more than 1,000. Other changes under Harding’s watch include the addition of the Institute for Global and International Studies, and the construction of the 1957 E Street facility, which became home to the Elliott School in 2003.
“He’s been a great dean and just done a terrific job,” Goldgeier said. “He’s had a very successful tenure as dean, and our goal is to find a successor to continue the upward path we’re on.”
“It’s been a great 10 years,” Harding said. “I’m very pleased with what my colleagues and I have been able to do with the school, not only in size, but also in quality and prominence.”
Cynthia McClintock, a professor of political science and international affairs who has taught at GW since 1975, praised Harding as a strong leader and a “great colleague.”
“I think he’s been a fabulous dean,” McClintock said. “He’s a very well respected scholar, and that’s very important, especially in Washington, to set a tone for the University. We’re going to miss him as dean a lot.”