One Harvard: The Power of Collaboration

For years, centuries even, Harvard has been an institution made up of distinct (and distinctive) schools conducting research and educating students largely independent of one another. As society becomes more global and challenges and opportunities more complex, it is clear that a new model based on collaboration and deeper integration is essential to the University’s ability to sustain its impact in the 21st century.

Harvard President Drew Faust has institutionalized a new era of University-wide collaboration. Her "One Harvard" initiative celebrates the fact that the whole of Harvard has the potential to be much greater than the sum of its parts.

The benefits of One Harvard are easily apparent throughout the University, which has seen an increase in the faculty working together, both formally and informally, on research projects that address large-scale challenges such as health care, global poverty, and climate change. In addition, cross-registration and joint degree programs are on the rise. The Harvard Innovation Lab, which has engaged nearly 20 percent of the overall Harvard student body since it opened four years ago, is a thriving example of what results when people from throughout the Harvard community come together to pursue their ideas.

"Five years ago people weren’t really talking about an interdisciplinary curriculum," says Joseph J. O’Donnell (AB 1967, MBA 1971), a member of the Harvard Corporation who supports One Harvard and has seen the power of collaboration in his work to cure cystic fibrosis. "Today it would be unfathomable to think that you could go to Harvard and not take courses in other schools."

Realizing the vision of One Harvard will enable the University to truly unleash its strengths as a world-class teaching and research institution poised to address society’s most intractable challenges.

"The idea of One Harvard is so natural. There are so many opportunities. Whether you are talking about curing cancer, educating a skilled workforce, or saving the planet, interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial. This is what will differentiate Harvard from its peers in the future."

Joseph J. O'Donnell (AB 1967, MBA 1971), Member, Harvard Corporation


Integration with the University


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