Welcoming New Faculty and Congratulating Director Nancy Gibbs

As we begin a new academic year at Harvard Kennedy School, the Shorenstein Center is thrilled that five new faculty have joined us at the Center. Professors Sharad Goel, Jim Waldo, Jennifer Lerner, Julia Minson, and Todd Rogers are joining Professors Matthew Baum, Nancy Gibbs, Thomas Patterson, and Latanya Sweeney, along with Lecturer and Senior Fellow Richard Parker, as the Center’s resident faculty members. Resident faculty have their offices and labs housed within the Center, where they conduct research, lead projects, host events and workshops, and contribute to the intellectual and cultural life of the Center.

These five new faculty members bring expertise in behavioral decision science – a new area of focus and research initiative at the Shorenstein Center – and the intersection of computer science, social issues, and public policy.

Sharad Goel, Professor of Public Policy, is an applied mathematician who looks at public policy through the lens of computer science, bringing a computational perspective to a range of issues, including democratic processes, policing, discrimination, and machine learning. Prior to joining the Kennedy School this year, Professor Goel was the founder and faculty director of the Stanford Computational Policy Lab. Previously, he worked at Microsoft Research. He holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Chicago, as well as a master’s degree in computer science and PhD in applied mathematics from Cornell University.

Jim Waldo, Professor of Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard, teaches courses in distributed systems and privacy, and technology and public policy. He is also the Chief Technology Officer for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He was previously a Distinguished Engineer with Sun Microsystems Laboratories, worked in distributed systems at Apollo Computer and Hewlett Packard. He is the author of several books and numerous journal and conference proceedings articles, and holds over 50 patents. Jim received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst.

Jennifer Lerner, Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy, Decision Science, and Management, was the first psychologist in the history of the Harvard Kennedy School to receive tenure. Professor Lerner also holds appointments in Harvard’s Department of Psychology and Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. Her research draws on insights from psychology, economics, and neuroscience, to examine human judgment and decision making.

In addition to her roles at Harvard, Professor Lerner served in the federal government from 2018-2019 as the Navy’s first Chief Decision Scientist and as Special Advisor to the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. She was previously on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, and held a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA. She received her PhD in Psychology from the University of California – Berkeley.

Julia Minson, Associate Professor of Public Policy, is a decision scientist with research interests in conflict, negotiations and judgment and decision making. Her primary line of research addresses the “psychology of disagreement” – How do people engage with opinions, judgments and decisions that are different from their own? Prior to coming to the Kennedy School, Professor Minson served as a Lecturer at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she taught Negotiations at both the MBA and the undergraduate levels. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford University and her BA in Psychology from Harvard University.

Todd Rogers, Professor of Public Policy, is a behavioral scientist whose work supports student success and attendance, strengthens democracy, and improves communication. He has co-founded two social enterprises, the Analyst Institute and EveryDay Labs. At Harvard, Professor Rogers is the faculty director of the Behavioral Insights Group, faculty chair of the executive education program Behavioral Insights and Public Policy, and director of the Student Social Support R&D Lab. He received a Ph.D. jointly from Harvard’s department of Psychology and Harvard Business School, and a B.A. from Williams College, majoring in both Religion and Psychology.

To learn more about the new Behavioral Decision Science research initiative at the Shorenstein Center, led by Professors Lerner, Minson, and Rogers, click here.

In addition to these four new resident faculty members, we are overjoyed to announce that Shorenstein Center Director Nancy Gibbs has been promoted to become a full faculty member at Harvard Kennedy School, as Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy. Having joined the Kennedy School as visiting faculty in 2018, and taking the role of Shorenstein Center Director in 2019, Gibbs has led the Center into an exciting period of growth and transformation. She has also contributed greatly to the Kennedy School’s educational mission by bringing her decades of experience as a writer and editor at TIME, including four years as its Editor-in-Chief, to students in courses like Op-Ed Writing and The Politics of the Press. The Shorenstein Center’s staff, faculty, and fellows are overjoyed at this recognition of her leadership and commitment to the school, the Shorenstein Center, and its mission to support democracy by addressing the crises of trust and truth in our information ecosystem.