Derek Bok is the 300th Anniversary University Research Professor, University President Emeritus, and Faculty Chair of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. He has been a lawyer and Professor of Law, Dean of the Law School, and President of Harvard University. On July 1, 2006, he became Interim President of Harvard pending the choice of a new permanent president.
He has written six books on higher education: Beyond the Ivory Tower, Higher Learning, Universities and the Future of America, The Shape of the River, Universities in the Marketplace, and Our Underachieving Colleges. He serves as Chair of the Board of the Spencer Foundation and was formerly Chair of Common Cause. His current research interests include the state of higher education and a project sponsored by several foundations on the adequacy of the U.S. government in coping with the nations domestic problems. His two books on this subject are The State of the Nation and The Trouble with Government.
Professor Bok has a long-standing interest in the teaching of ethics. The impetus for the Center for Ethics and the Professions comes from his efforts to develop an awareness of ethical issues in teaching and research. His article "Can Ethics Be Taught?" in the October 1976 issue of Change is a seminal statement on the subject.