Katherine G. O'Dair, Ph.D.
I work to support Harvard College students in their residential and co-curricular lives on campus. I oversee the Dean of Students Office which includes Harvard’s distinctive residential and co-curricular experience including first-year Yard life, the upper-class House system, student engagement, leadership, and creating an inclusive and welcoming community experience for Harvard students.
Student engagement, connecting students to campus and to each other, and building systems that encourage and support inclusive environments that help students thrive. I love thinking about how our structures support students and am constantly seeking ways for us to reduce barriers for students to live and learn at Harvard. I value data - about the student experience, about how we are using our resources - and use this data to make decisions. Our work in the DSO is focused on learning, so as we help students learn about themselves and about others, we must ourselves keep learning so that we can meet student needs. We have as much to learn from students as they do from us.
I am a swimmer and love open-water swimming (when I am not injured!) and really anything that gets me outdoors - biking, trail running, running along the Charles in the mornings. I am an avid reader who has picked up the audio book craze lately, simultaneously reading or listening to bestsellers, higher education research, or anything anyone recommends. I follow about 15 different podcasts and am always looking for recommendations. I love board games and word games, love going to student events and athletic competitions, and have added a bucket list item: performing with a student dance troupe someday. I volunteer with the Pan-Mass challenge each summer, working on the leadership team at the Sturbridge site. I am also on a visiting committee for another local University and serve on the Board of Trustees for a local private secondary school.
I have worked at Harvard since August of 2016. Prior to arriving at Harvard I served for 12 years in a number of roles at Boston College, most recently as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. I worked at MIT for 8 years as Assistant Dean for Student Life; my career in higher education started at Tufts University, where I served for 5 years in student life. My first job out of college was as a publications assistant at the National Bureau of Economic research in Cambridge, so it is nice to return to the neighborhood!
- Miami University, BA in Communication
- Northeastern University, M.Ed in Student Personnel and Counseling
- Boston College, PhD in Higher Education Administration