Lawrence Summers, who earlier this year resigned as president of Harvard, was on Friday named a University professor with offices both at the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Business School.
Following a year-long sabbatical, Mr Summers will return to teaching as the Charles W. Eliot University Professor. "I am very excited about the prospect of reflecting, writing and speaking on a range of economic and international policy questions," said Mr Summers.
The University professorship is Harvard's most distinguished professorial position. There are currently 20 active University Professors, including Mr Summers. It is not unusual for University professors to work across faculties, according to Harvard officials. David Ellwood, dean of the school, called Mr Summers “a world-class intellect” who “epitomises the spirit of rigorous thinking”.
Mr Summers - who served as Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton – stepped down as president of the university in February pre-empting a second vote of no confidence from the faculty of arts and sciences, the university’s largest and most influential faculty.
His five-year tenure as president was marked with controversy almost from the outset. Professors said that Mr Summers’s outspoken views and his sometimes brusque managerial style made it difficult for him to connect with a substantial portion of Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences.
His most famous clash occurred last year when he gave a speech suggesting that “issues of intrinsic aptitude” might be responsible for the dearth of women in science and engineering positions at top universities.
Derek Bok, who served as president of the university from 1971 to 1991, will step in as interim president from today until the Harvard Corporation, the school’s governing board, is prepared to announce a new president.
Mr Summers got his PhD in economics from Harvard in 1982. In 1983, he joined the faculty as a professor of economics, one of the youngest individuals in recent history to be named as a tenured member of the University's faculty.