Harry Harding, Political and Policy Expert, Named Founding Dean of U.Va.'s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

January 30, 2009

January 30, 2009 — Harry Harding, one of America's preeminent China scholars, will become the first dean of the University of Virginia's Frank Batten Sr. School of Leadership and Public Policy, University President John T. Casteen III announced today. Harding begins his term on July 1.

Harding served for 10 years as the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, where he is credited with establishing the school's reputation as an internationally competitive graduate program.

"The University of Virginia is fortunate to have attracted a dean of Harry Harding's caliber to become the founding dean of the Batten School," Casteen said. "He brings with him a record of great accomplishment as well as an outstanding track record as a scholar, teacher and administrator who embraces a global view of the world and who understands the critical issues our students will face when they leave us to become global citizen-leaders." 

Harding said he was deeply honored to become the founding dean and greatly impressed by the enthusiasm with which the faculty greeted the school's creation. "I look forward to working with them, my fellow deans, the members of the administration and the University's Board of Visitors to establish one of the world's most distinguished and innovative schools of leadership and public policy."

The Batten School — the first new school to be established at the University in more than five decades — is the result of a $100 million gift from Frank Batten Sr., a 1950 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and long-time University supporter. When the creation of the school was announced in April 2007, Casteen said, "This gift, intended to cultivate future generations of leaders dedicated to the common good, will both preserve our democratic traditions and inspire the next generation to live up to the vision that gave this place its first breath."

Batten, retired chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications Inc. in Norfolk, also had a vision for the school based on his belief that there is an urgent need to develop a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders who can bring about transformational change.

"Talented public leaders are needed from a range of professional backgrounds. It is critical to get younger people excited about the responsibilities and opportunities of public service in all its manifestations," Batten has said. "The earlier in their careers that exceptional students begin to think of themselves as future public leaders who can promote a better society, the greater the likelihood they will become such leaders."    

Harding credited Batten's wisdom in emphasizing leadership as one of the key skills required for success in the field of public policy.

"Where more appropriate to establish this kind of school of public policy than at the University founded by Thomas Jefferson? Jefferson practiced public policy at both the state level – as a state legislator and governor of Virginia – and at the national level – as both vice president and president of the United States," Harding said. "He grappled with domestic issues as governor and president, and with international issues as ambassador to France and secretary of state."
In his first year as dean, Harding will be expected to:

•    review the public policy degree programs;
•    develop an innovative curriculum for a two-year master's degree in public policy;
•    determine the number of new faculty needed in the school, as well as which current University faculty might hold joint appointments;
•    implement a recruitment and hiring plan;
•    recruit the first class of students for the school's two-year master in public policy program; and
•    encourage creation of research centers and programs on key areas of public policy.

It will fall to Harding to fulfill the vision laid out by Casteen and Batten, as well as by Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., executive vice president and University provost, to whom Harding will report on a daily basis. "Harry comes to us with exceptional credentials. He has been both a government adviser and a global observer," Garson said. "We expect him to lead the Batten school – and his new colleagues at the University of Virginia – in showing us all new ways to diplomacy."

Harding received his B.A. in public and international affairs from Princeton University in 1967 and his M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1974) in political science from Stanford University.  

Before becoming dean of the Elliott School at GW, Harding was a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1983 until 1994. Prior to that he served on the political science faculties of Stanford University (1971-83) and Swarthmore College (1970-71) and directed the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1979-1980).

Harding is vice chairman of the board of the Asia Foundation, a senior fellow at the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, and counselor to Eurasia Group, a New York-based political risk advisory and consulting firm.

He is also a prolific writer and political commentator. His first book, "Organizing China," won the 1986 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, which honors outstanding books that focus on topics related to the Pacific Rim. Other major publications include: "A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China Since 1972" (1992) and "China's Second Revolution: Reform After Mao" (1987).

About the Frank Batten Sr. School of Leadership and Public Policy

The primary goal of the Batten School is to supply the nation with visionary leaders who can drive the policy innovation process, energize organizations, build inclusive coalitions and translate good ideas into action.

The Batten School offers an accelerated, five-year bachelor/master of public policy program. The program is open to University students from all undergraduate majors. The first Batten master of public policy class of 26 students will graduate in May. The second class of 30 students will receive their master of public policy degrees in 2010. The deadline for University students to apply to the third Batten master of public policy class is Feb. 20.