The Berkman Center for Internet & Society has announced a leadership transition as Professor William (Terry) Fisher steps down after 12 years as Chair of the Board of Directors and Professor Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of the Berkman Center and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School, assumes the role.  The change will be effective as of July 1, 2014.

Said Harvard University Provost Alan M. Garber: “Under Terry Fisher’s extraordinary leadership, the Berkman Center has become known as the home of some of the most penetrating thinking about how we interact with cyberspace and how it can be developed to serve society better.  We are indebted to him for nurturing and helping to shape this unique resource for Harvard and the world. Jonathan Zittrain is a most worthy successor. Long a pillar of the Berkman community, he has the intellect, breadth of interests, creativity, and dedication to ensure that the center will remain vital – indeed, indispensable – at a time when the Internet is woven into more and more aspects of our lives.”

Said HLS Dean Martha Minow: “Terry Fisher’s stellar leadership has ensured the Berkman Center’s vibrant collaborations across disciplines, sectors, and geographies, while also providing an unerring commitment to combining creativity with a focus on the opportunities and challenges afforded by cyberspace and the communities and communication it enables.  I join with the Provost and Directors in delight that Jonathan Zittrain will take up the role of chair. As one of the co-founders of the Center and as a fount of superb ideas, Jonathan brings deep knowledge and innovative spirit to this extraordinary effort.”

Urs Gasser, the Berkman Center’s Executive Director and a Professor of Practice at HLS, said, “The Berkman Center team is deeply grateful for all that Terry Fisher has contributed to the Center and the community during his extraordinary tenure, and wishes him a truly well deserved and restful sabbatical in 2014-2015. Recognized as a visionary here at Berkman and around the world, Jonathan Zittrain will continue to inspire and delight the community and help deepen our national and international network of partners across all sectors.” He noted that Zittrain’s faculty appointments with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government will further strengthen the Center’s collaborations across Campus.

Terry Fisher has led the Berkman Center since 2002, helping to shape it during a period of maturation and expansion.  Under his guidance, the Center has grown from a small research unit at Harvard Law School into a University-wide Center and a world-renowned community of scholars and activists, engaged in rigorous research and socially responsible innovation.  He navigated the Center through the lean times of the fiscal crisis and oversaw the successful incubation of numerous projects and initiatives that have changed the landscape of academic inquiry pertaining to information technology.

Zittrain’s transition to the position of Faculty Chair represents both momentum and re-commitment to the ethos and spirit in which he co-founded the Berkman Center with Charlie Nesson in 1997.  Professor Zittrain’s commitment to and passion for the development of innovative research and teaching programs will continue to infuse the Center’s direction and activities, building on the strong foundation and programs that flourished under Terry Fisher’s leadership, said Dean Minow.

As the Berkman Center’s principal governing body, the Board of Directors shapes the Berkman Center’s overall vision and makes significant financial, research, academic, personnel, governance, and other overarching strategic decisions. Terry Fisher remains a member of the Board, joined by Professors Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford, John Deighton, Charles Nesson, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, John Palfrey, Jeffrey Schnapp, Stuart Shieber, and Mark Wu. Board member Urs Gasser continues as Executive Director, leading implementation of the vision and objectives set forth by the Board.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at