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Subject: A message from the Academic Deans

Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2008 12:42:56 -0500


Dear Department Chairs,

As you know, the current projection of a 30% decline in our endowment presents the FAS
with a substantial financial challenge. To help address this challenge, we will need to
draw upon our endowment at a higher spending rate than we have historically. Even with
a higher spending rate, we still face a large gap in funding. Based on preliminary
estimates, we need to plan for a cost reduction of $105 million to $125 million relative to
this year's (FY2009) budget. In other words, even if we do not take on any incremental
expenses (such as a salary increase for existing faculty or new ladder faculty searches) we
will still need to find at least $105 million in reductions from current expenses. Faced
with budgetary pressure of this magnitude, we have decided to curtail sharply most
incremental expenditures (relative to the FY2009 budget).

Dean Smith wrote to you last week regarding staff hiring. We are writing to let you know
about three further cost-cutting measures that will be announced at the Faculty Meeting
tomorrow. We would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from sharing this
information with your colleagues until tomorrow 's meeting.

First, we plan to keep all faculty and non-union staff salaries flat next year. Union staff
have a contract with the University, which has been negotiated with the central

Second, we are postponing almost all current tenure-track and tenured searches. There
will be a small number of exceptions (selected with an eye toward minimizing costs and
maintaining priorities) and, of course, internal promotions will continue as planned. The
FAS remains committed to a tenure-track system.

We intend to resume searches once the financial situation turns around. At that time, we
plan to allow departments to proceed with their original searches or to switch those
searches to new fields, so long as they align with the departments' academic plans. Thus,
it is imperative that we continue with the academic planning process.

Third, to minimize the cost of visiting faculty, new non-ladder faculty appointments, and
purchases of faculty from other Harvard schools, we will only authorize requests for
these types of instructional faculty to fulfill essential curricular needs. If such a need is
demonstrated, we ask that departments search for candidates according to the ordered list

* Recent PhDs (from Harvard or other institutions)

* Tenure-track faculty from local institutions
* Senior faculty from local institutions or local practitioners from industry or

To attract and support h ighly qualified candidates who have recently or will shortly earn
their Ph.D., the FAS is developing a new program akin to a teaching post-doc. You will
soon receive a description of this program. This program provides one way in which the
FAS can support our Ph.D. students who are graduating into what looks to be a tight job
market. At the same time, we must support our continuing graduate students.

We appreciate that many of these measures will be difficult for the faculty and we do not
take these actions lightly. Nonetheless, we will do all we can to ensure that our core
mission of teaching and research can continue to thrive even in these difficult times.


Diana Sorensen
Jeremy Bloxham
Stephen M. Kosslyn
Allan M. Brandt
Evelynn M. Hammonds
Michael D. Smith

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