To Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:
I write to share the news that I will be stepping down as dean of the faculty on June 30.
After 12 years in academic leadership, including nearly seven years in this intense, exhilarating, and profoundly humbling role as dean, I have decided it is time for me to take the advice that we in public health so often dispense and step back to reflect, recharge, and return to activities that hold deep meaning for me. I plan to take a year-long sabbatical and then rejoin the faculty to resume my research, teaching, and mentoring, all of which I have missed a great deal.
These past seven years have been full of challenges, but even more full of joy. I am deeply grateful to our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and all our collaborators around the globe for coming together to make sure and steady progress toward our shared vision of world with health, dignity, and justice for all.
Looking back, I see a kaleidoscope of memories. The COVID pandemic, of course, looms above all. I will always be proud of how our community mobilized to meet the moment, producing research and guidance that saved countless lives and shifting our vital educational programs online without missing a beat. Many among us continue to work on critical projects to help the world identify and respond to future pathogens more effectively and deliver vaccines and treatments more equitably. This is public health at its best.
I’d like to close with a few words to our students and alumni. Your fierce commitment to building a better world has always inspired and energized me. Watching everything you accomplish, both on campus and beyond, gives me tremendous hope for our future. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you in the years to come.
It has been my immense privilege to lead such a brilliant, dedicated, and compassionate community. You are remarkable.
With deep appreciation and warmest wishes,
Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School