September 18, 2012

Former Africana Head Says He Took Job Out of Sense of Duty

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In an interview with the Tufts Daily on September 12, Prof. David Harris, sociology, the former interim co-director of the Africana Studies and Research Center, said he assumed the post at the center out of a sense of duty.

“Being co-director was definitely not something I was looking to do,” Harris said. “It was something I did because there were no options.”

After serving in several administrative positions since he came to Cornell in 2003, Harris was named co-director of the Africana Center in August 2011, along with Prof. Elizabeth Adkins Regan, psychology and biology. The move sparked outrage among some students and faculty amid the transfer of Africana into the Arts College.

In March, Harris was appointed Tufts University’s provost and senior vice president. He told the Tufts Daily that the experience taught him important lessons that he said he intends to apply in his new role.

“The experience reinforced in me the importance of transparency,” Harris said. “When we searched for a director, we had the faculty involved in drafting the position description, vetting candidates, interviewing. We were trying to make sure that Africana could achieve what it wanted to be. So here at Tufts, I want to try to figure out where Tufts wants to go.”

Click here for the Tufts Daily’s full profile on Harris.

Original Author: David Marten