David Kennedy '76 resigned abruptly last month as vice president for international affairs and interim director of the Watson Institute for International Studies, shortly after University of Michigan sociologist Michael Kennedy was selected as Watson's new director.
Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 informed the faculty of Kennedy's resignation in an e-mail on June 10. David Kennedy will return to Harvard Law School, where he was a professor of law and director of Harvard's European Law Research Center when he was selected in late 2007 to head Brown's internationalization effort.
Kennedy's resignation has left uncertainty regarding Brown's internationalization agenda, forcing the administration to scramble to fill the vacancy before the academic year.
The position of vice president for international affairs will be filled from within the University, Kertzer said, in contrast to the more high-profile search that yielded Kennedy's appointment.
"We've gotten various things going," Kertzer said of Brown's recent internationalization efforts. "It's going to be imperative to get another vice president quickly so we don't lose that momentum."
David Kennedy's decision to return full-time to Harvard, where he continued to teach as an adjunct professor during his time at Brown, was largely based on his desire to return to teaching, Kertzer said.
"He'd rather be back at Harvard as a faculty member than at Brown," Kertzer said. "For him, in the end, I think he missed his role as a full-time faculty member."
David Kennedy did not reply to inquiries last week.
But Kertzer said David Kennedy will continue to advise President Ruth Simmons and provide assistance on international initiatives if the opportunity arises. Kennedy "has a special place in his heart for Brown, his alma mater," Kertzer said.
Kennedy came to Brown in January 2008 as the first vice president for international affairs, a position from which he was to spearhead the University's effort to enhance its international cachet. He was also a professor international relations. When former Watson Director Barbara Stallings resigned from that post only months after Kennedy's appointment, Kertzer asked him to step in as interim director of the institute.
Kennedy's dual responsibilities included managing Brown's global image as well as leading Watson.. Many of the proposals tilted Watson in a legal studies direction, including his global governance program and the appointment of several close personal acquaintances with legal backgrounds. He also made an unsuccessful bid to get Watson the power to grant tenure to its appointees.
Unlike previous Watson directors, Michael Kennedy — who is not related to David Kennedy — will report directly to the provost, said Kertzer. This is a change from the previous administrative structure, under which the director technically reported to the vice president for international affairs. The new structure will still allow the director to work closely with the vice president, but less formally.
The appointment of Michael Kennedy as Watson's new director resulted from an international search that began when Stallings stepped down last summer.
Professor of Sociology Michael White, who chaired the search committee, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald that the recruitment process included an extensive multi-discipline, international search across many policy areas.
"We are delighted that Michael Kennedy has now joined us at Brown, bringing his considerable scholarship, extensive international experience and formidable organizational skills," he wrote. "We are assured of an exciting new era for the Watson Institute."
As Watson's director, Michael Kennedy will be responsible for the institute's general direction, strategic planning and a "very active series of public events," Kertzer said.
"The Watson Institute is a somewhat large and complicated institution," Kertzer added, which makes it difficult to predict how the new director will affect its orientation.
At Michigan, Michael Kennedy was the director of the school's Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies. From that experience, he said in an interview, he learned the importance of learning about a place and getting to know about institutions before determining his goals for the institute. He also served as vice provost for international affairs.
"My background as a sociology professor is important, but my role as an administrator is also important," he said. "I bring a kind of experience to Watson that is pretty unusual."
"One of the things that's distinct about Brown is that it has a Watson Institute," Michael Kennedy added.
In particular, Michael Kennedy said the international relations and development studies concentrations offer a unique opportunity for undergraduates to prepare to tackle global questions. "One of the things I'm looking at is how Watson enhances what Brown has beyond Watson's walls," he said.
Kennedy said he hopes to advance the collaboration between faculty inside and outside the institute. But he said it was too soon to know exactly what he would like to do as director.
"The only way to know is to keep watching Watson," he said.