Faculty Council Votes For New Engineering Concentration

{shortcode-edc68c238fbb2e3bd7fc6973bf3ddadd7cc08dc1}Harvard’s Faculty Council voted in favor of a new engineering concentration and discussed proposals concerning the Neurobiology department and the Asia Center at its biweekly meeting Wednesday.

The Council, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ highest governing body, followed up on a proposal it first heard at its Jan. 24 meeting by voting to support the creation of a new concentration in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The proposal suggests changing the environmental science engineering track within the engineering sciences program to a formal concentration.

Council member David L. Howell said the plan garnered “a lot of support” from other members and that he believes the proposal is “very straightforward” and “logical.”

“In engineering, they have different tracks within engineering, and the new environmental science and engineering concentration sort of brings that into line with the other concentrations that they have in engineering,” he said.

The proposal will likely come up for discussion at the next full Faculty meeting in March. Barring major changes, the Faculty will vote on it at their April meeting.


Executive Director of the Asia Center Elizabeth Liao presented a proposal to the Council on behalf of Professor Karen L. Thornber and advocated the dissolution of the Council on Asian Studies, a FAS standing committee.

Howell, an East Asian Languages and Civilizations professor himself, said he supported the proposal because the Asia Center already fulfills the main functions of the Council on Asian Studies, rendering the Council “redundant.” According to Howell, the Asia Center acts as an umbrella organization and a forum for scholars studying Asia.

“The Council on Asian Studies had done a lot of that previously, but now those sorts of functions of bringing people to work on Asia together throughout the University has gone over to the Asia Center,” Howell said. “That's why we don't need the Council on Asian Studies anymore.”

The Council also heard from Professor Jeff Lichtman on a proposal to change the name of the Neurobiology concentration. The proposal advocates adopting the name Neuroscience in order to better reflect the term used by scientists in the field.

The Council will likely vote on the suggested name change for the Neurobiology department and the dissolution of the Council on Asian Studies at their next meeting on Feb. 28.

—Staff writer Angela N. Fu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @angelanfu.


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