Jorge I. Dominguez will step down from his position as vice provost for international affairs at the end of next June but will continue to teach as a professor of government, the University announced Thursday.
Dominguez, who has served as vice provost since July 2006, said that he decided to scale back his responsibilities to spend more time with his family and six grandchildren. He said he informed University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 of his decision in July.
“I haven’t sat down and counted each and every day, but my estimate is that by that time [in June 2015] I will have flown the equivalent of a full year on Harvard’s behalf,” Dominguez said. “There is a moment when it becomes one more airport security crossing, one more missed flight…. This seemed like a good time.”
During his nine years as vice provost, which followed 11 years as director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Dominguez oversaw the launch of satellite Harvard offices in China, Mexico, and Turkey. He said he hopes the University will open offices in Cape Town, South Africa over the next few months and eventually in a city in the Middle East.
Harvard has not built overseas campuses in the style of Yale-National University of Singapore College, instead opting for small global offices, an international strategy that Dominguez facilitated.
“The President, Provost, the governing boards of the University gradually came to the view that it is hard enough to run Harvard here in Cambridge and Boston,” Dominguez said. “The idea of trying to do it in some other location is too hard to conceive.”
He also expanded fellowships for students and professors outside of the United States to come to Harvard and for Harvard affiliates to study and research internationally.
“The job, my wife at one point called it, is a collage,” Dominguez said. “When I travel and people say, ‘Vice provost for international affairs, what is that?’, the easiest translation is: I was the University’s foreign minister.”
Dominguez said he is particularly proud of the development of a system of policies and procedures for keeping track of Harvard affiliates abroad. According to Dominguez, on the 11th day of his tenure as vice provost, war broke out in Lebanon, prompting the evacuation of Harvard affiliates in the region.
“I remember asking at the time, ‘How many Harvard students or faculty do we have in Lebanon?’ The answer was nobody knew,” Dominguez said. “The policies, the procedures, and institutions [now] in place were things I began my first year as vice provost.”
Administrators and faculty praised Dominguez’s time as an administrator and said they understood his decision to level off his responsibilities.
“Jorge’s done a tremendous amount of service to the University…. He also runs the Harvard Academy Post-Doctoral program, so he’s been in these major administrative roles constantly,” said Government professor Steven R. Levitsky, who referred to Dominguez as a mentor. “Not only is it physically exhausting, but it takes him away from undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, and his research.”
Dominguez is the second high-level central administrator this year to announce his impending departure, following news in October that Christine M. Heenan will resign as vice president for government, community, and public affairs. According to Dominguez, a search committee for his replacement has not yet been formed.
—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston contributed reporting to this article.
—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.
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