Following her departure from office less than a month ago, former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has embarked on a new venture in the field of education. Starting this autumn, Lightfoot will be instructing a course at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tentatively titled “Health Policy and Leadership.” This development was announced by the school itself.
As of the end of August, Lightfoot will assume the role of the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the institution. The Menschel program, as described by the school, offers a unique opportunity for individuals who have recently held prominent positions in government, multilateral organizations, non-profits, or journalism to spend time at the school, mentoring and teaching students who aspire to similar roles. Throughout her time on campus, Lightfoot will hold regular office hours to engage with students, faculty, and staff.
“As mayor, she showed strong leadership in advocating for health, equity, and dignity for every resident of Chicago, from her declaration of structural racism as a public health crisis to her innovative initiative to bring mental health services to libraries and shelters. And of course, she led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic,” According to CBS News, Michelle A. Williams, the dean of faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, made the statement.
Lightfoot expressed her joy regarding the news on Twitter, stating, “I’ve always loved teaching, and the opportunity to get back to it is something I am excited about. Looking forward to sharing the experiences and perceptions I learned governing through one of the most challenging times in American history with the @HarvardChanSPH community!”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, previous Menschel fellows have included several former mayors and governors. Notably, former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey have both held the position of Menschel fellows.
In its announcement, Harvard acknowledged Lightfoot’s leadership in spearheading a comprehensive, citywide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, involving collaboration among government entities, businesses, and community organizations. However, during her tenure as mayor, Lightfoot faced criticism for certain policies. This included receiving a haircut during the peak of pandemic lockdowns after urging citizens to stay home, as well as placing police officers who refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19 on unpaid leave.