Harvard Institutional Risk Management Symposium 2019

June 26, 2019

Thank you for your interest in the Harvard Institutional Risk Management Symposium held on June 26, 2019 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. We hope you find these resources helpful. Please note that you must have a HarvardKey login to view the presentations.


Michael Monaghan, Director of Risk Management & Audit Services, Financial Administration

Opening Remarks
Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President, Harvard University

Keynote Address: Climate and Health – The Greatest Public Health Challenge of Our Time, and What You Can Do About It
Gina McCarthy, Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former U.S. EPA Administrator

Our dependence on fossil fuels is changing weather patterns and temperatures are rising, leading to more extreme weather events, the spread of vector-borne diseases, harmful air pollutants, and food insecurity that all affect our health. But we also know that every step we take to tackle climate change creates major health benefits: cleaner air, cleaner water, and safer places for us to live, work and play. We can all do so much more in our lives, in our homes, our communities, our schools, to take action on climate change. We cannot rest until each and every one of you gets engaged and active.  Our kids are counting on us because their lives and their futures are at stake.


A. A Panel Discussion on Free Speech at Harvard

Brad Abruzzi, University Attorney, Office of the General Counsel
Katie O'Dair, Dean of Students, Harvard College
Marcia Sells, Associate Dean and Dean of Students, Harvard Law School
Sarah Wald, Senior Policy Advisor and Chief of Staff, Harvard Kennedy School

Free speech issues on university and college campuses continue to have prominence in the national dialogue, especially following President Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to link certain funding to how higher education institutions enforce the right to “free inquiry.” Free speech is essential to Harvard and its foundational commitment to the free exchange of ideas; but with it also comes important philosophical and logistical complexities. In this panel discussion, leaders from Harvard College, the Kennedy and Law Schools will share how they think about and address free speech issues at their schools.

B. Cybersecurity, Harvard and You

Christian Hamer, Chief Information Security Officer, Harvard University Information Technology


Harvard is constantly under threat by increasingly sophisticated nation-state, criminal and other cyber actors looking to steal data and disrupt operations. In this session, you’ll learn about the latest information security threats in the wild, hear some anonymized real-world examples of what the University confronts, see a demo of a cyberattack in action, and learn the best ways to keep yourself and your data safe amidst it all. Anyone interested in the subject is welcome to attend.

C. Environmental Health and Safety Research Risks with Field, International and Off-campus Activities

Bill VanSchalkwyk, Managing Director of Environmental Health & Safety, Campus Services
Mary Corrigan, Associate Director of Laboratory Programs, Campus Services
Bree Carlson, Senior Environmental Project Manager, Campus Services


Harvard’s environmental health and safety (EHS) risks extend far beyond the confines of our Massachusetts campuses; and are especially prevalent in the mission-critical field and international research work our researchers undertake throughout the U.S. and globally. But these off-campus research activities bring with them a host of complexities, challenges and dangers that require special knowledge and planning to ensure the safety of those involved. In this session, EHS experts will discuss the areas of most concern with field research, share real-world examples of the types risks experienced by Harvard researchers, and will highlight tools that can help you and your faculty assess, mitigate and manage EHS risks associated with international and other off-campus research activities.

D. Financial Planning in Uncertain Times

Tom Hollister, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Financial Administration
Jen Dilts, Assistant Vice President, Office of Financial Strategy and Planning, Financial Administration


With the growing possibility of a financial downturn, it is increasingly important for managers to begin planning for an organizational response.  How can we create flexible action plans in response to a variety of possible scenarios, and how can downside preparation in particular be incorporated into our regular planning cadence at the University, School/Unit, and department levels? Harvard University CFO Tom Hollister and the Office of Financial Strategy and Planning will engage the group with lessons learned from the last crisis, frameworks for strategic thinking, and best practices from our cross-industry research.

E. Harvard and the Globalization of Higher Education: Trends and Emerging Challenges

Todd Washburn, Senior Assistant Provost for International Affairs, Office of the Provost


Over the past generation, Harvard has become significantly more international: the number of international students, scholars, and research activities has grown substantially. This change has occurred not as the result of central planning, but as a result of the changing interests of Harvard students and scholars and, more importantly, as a result of the changing nature of academic research. How has the globalization of higher education affected US universities in general, and Harvard in particular? This session examines some of the major global trends that are transforming higher education today.


A. Before and After the Storm: Strategies for Preparedness and Recovery

Brian Mazmanian, Associate Director of Emergency Management, Campus Services


A hurricane is headed towards Harvard. Are you ready? The aftermath of the storm is devastating. How soon can you get back to normal? This interactive session will help you assess and improve your personal and professional readiness and resiliency.

B. FBI Perspectives on Foreign Influence

Kris Grahame, Intelligence Analyst, Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI and other federal agencies have increased their attention on foreign entity interactions with US universities, focusing on theft of US intellectual property. Federal regulations intended to address this issue have significant implications for how research is conducted at Harvard and elsewhere. In this session, FBI Intelligence Analyst, Kris Grahame, will describe what the FBI is seeing in terms of foreign influence on research within US higher education, and will describe how researchers and administrators can better protect the intellectual property of the institution.

C. Inclusive Excellence at Harvard

John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Senior Advisor and Strategist to the President, Harvard University


As stated in the final report of the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion & Belonging, “To gain the benefit of diversity, Harvard must fully integrate all members of the University into academic, professional, and social contexts that support their individual flourishing and activate their potential.” In this session, Dr. Wilson will speak about the University’s continuing efforts to advance a culture of inclusion and belonging. This session will be relevant to all Harvard employees

D. The Opportunities and Risks with Online Learning

Erin Driver-Linn, Dean for Education, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Rebecca Nesson, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, Harvard Division of Continuing Education
Ross Pearo, Senior Director, Strategic Alliances and Initiatives, Harvard Business School Online
David Roberts, Dean for External Education and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Online education is growing rapidly at Harvard and beyond. Its opportunities are vast, including the ability to reach a far greater and wider set of learners than traditional classroom-based courses, and to tailor content and course pacing to the needs of each student. But online education also brings with it risks including student retention and course completion issues, revenue alignment and sustainability challenges, brand impact concerns, and a variety of logistical and technological complexities. In this panel discussion, key leaders responsible for several of Harvard’s online learning offerings will share their insights and experiences from this emerging educational arena as well as discuss what Harvard is doing to maintain its place at the forefront of the online learning movement. 

E. Traveling Smart and Staying Safe: Partnering for International Success

Jennifer Puccetti, Executive Director, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine and Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai, Harvard Medical School
Matt Etre, Associate Director for International Safety and Security, Harvard Global Support Services


Harvard’s international footprint spans every continent and more than 165 countries. A level of personal safety and security risk exists in every international research project, academic program, or office site abroad. As Harvard’s international activities continue to increase, how can we work together to facilitate these engagements while mitigating safety and security risks for our students, faculty, and staff? The difference between success and failure lies in understanding the risks associated with each engagement and implementing strategies to manage those risks. This session will increase your awareness of the personal safety and security risks inherent in international work and travel. We’ll provide you with tools and resources to identify those risks in the context of your destination, the emergency response resources available to you, and the risk management strategies to support Harvard’s international work and travel.


Risky Research and Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Pardis Sabeti, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences; Institute Member, Broad Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

When the most widespread Ebola epidemic in history began in West Africa in 2015, Dr. Pardis Sabeti led a team that sequenced virus samples from infected patients, thus enabling the first diagnosis of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. These efforts marked the first in-depth use of real-time DNA sequencing in the midst of a deadly pandemic. This is high-risk research. Many of Dr. Sabeti’s collaborators died during the outbreak, but the work they did saved the lives of many. During her closing keynote address, Dr. Sabeti will discuss her work as a computational geneticist, the development of algorithms that detect deadly pathogens, deconstruction of traditional barriers and silos, and the trials of working in high-risk settings to both limit the spread of disease, and to reduce the potential for pandemics. Dr. Sabeti will also discuss what our collective efforts need to look like moving forward if we hope to detect, track and defeat outbreaks sooner, both in the U.S. and abroad.


See also: Risk Management