Khurana is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard.
FAS Dean Michael Smith announced the appointment in an email to the FAS community and praised Khurana as a scholar and teacher with deep experience working with undergraduates and a strong commitment to the College. Khurana succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, professor of African and African American Studies, who stepped down last June, after completing her five-year term.
He will assume the role on July 1. Harvard President Drew Faust said Khurana is a faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness of Harvard. "His experiences as a graduate student, an award-winning teacher at HBS, and the master of an undergraduate House give him a unique perspective on the University, and his deep respect for the liberal-arts model and the residential education will serve him well as he guides Harvard College," Faust said.
In announcing the appointment, Smith said Khurana is a distinguished scholar of organizational behaviour and leadership, an award-winning teacher, and a dynamic House master who has also engaged deeply with undergraduate issues on important committees.
"He brings to the deanship an intimate understanding of the Harvard College experience, a profound commitment to the values of a liberal-arts education, and a warm and compassionate personality that accompanies his belief in the importance of community and an inclusive approach to decision-making," Smith said.
Khurana, who earned his Ph.D. through a joint programme between HBS and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998, said he is "honoured" to be appointed as Dean and to "create a transformative educational experience" for the students.
"I am convinced that, working together, we will have a significant and positive impact on the College," he said. Harvard Business School's India-born Dean Nitin Nohria also welcomed Khurana's appointment saying that his selection is a testament to his skill and vision as a teacher and scholar.
"I think the appointment is wonderful news, and I am looking forward to working with Rakesh to identify and strengthen efforts across the College and HBS that will benefit us all," Nohria said.