Faculty Deans

Withrop masters and family

Faculty Deans Sullivan & Robinson


The Faculty Deans' Office sits at the very center of Winthrop House life. Faculty Deans Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and Stephanie Robinson provide leadership on many fronts, setting the tone for House spirit.


Ron is a tenured clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School, director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, and director of the Harvard Trial Advocacy Workshop; Stephanie is a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, President and CEO of the Jamestown Project. For more information on their professional lives, see below.


The Faculty Deans are assisted by a diverse and talented staff of both resident and non-resident advisors and by their family, including their sons Trey (right) and Chase (left).


To learn more about the Faculty Deans, come to their monthly open houses, see this Harvard Gazette story, drop by the Faculty Deans' office hours ("Winthrop Whispers"), or find them in the dining hall!


Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan Jr.


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Professor Sullivan is a leading theorist in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, trial practice and techniques, legal ethics, and race theory.  He is the faculty director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute and the Harvard Trial Advocacy Workshop.  Professor Sullivan also serves as Faculty Dean of Winthrop House at Harvard College.  He is the first African American ever appointed Faculty Dean in Harvard's history.  He is a founding member and Senior Fellow of the Jamestown Project. Most recently, he was invited to give a TED talk in Washington, DC on the news that he'd secured the release of more wrongfully incarcerated individuals (over 6,000) than anyone in U.S. History.


Professor Sullivan has merged legal theory and practice over the course of his career in unique and cutting-edge ways.

In 2014, Professor Sullivan was tasked to design and implement a Conviction Review Unit (“CRU”) for the newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney.  The CRU, designed to identify and exonerate wrongfully convicted persons, quickly became regarded as the model conviction integrity program in the nation.  In its first year of operation alone, Professor Sullivan discovered over 10 wrongful convictions, which the DA ultimately vacated.  Some of the exonerated citizens had served more than 30 years in prison before they were released.

In 2008, Professor Sullivan served as Chair, Criminal Justice Advisory Committee for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.  In this capacity, Professor Sullivan’s committee made policy recommendations on a range of issues in an effort to put into practice some of the best research in the field.  He also served as a member of the National Legal Advisory Group for the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign.  Finally, Professor Sullivan was appointed Advisor to the Department of Justice Presidential Transition Team.

In 2007, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Professor Sullivan was asked to create a system to solve a criminal justice crisis.  Over 6000 citizens were incarcerated in and around New Orleans without representation and with all official records destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  Professor Sullivan designed an indigent defense delivery system that resulted in the release of nearly all the 6000 inmates.

In 1994, Professor Sullivan was a visiting scholar for the Law Society of Kenya, where he sat on a committee charged with drafting a new constitution for Kenya.  He also worked with the Kenyan Human Rights Commission on monitoring and challenging human rights abuses.

Prior to joining Harvard’s faculty, Professor Sullivan was on the Yale Law School faculty where he won the award for outstanding teaching after his first year.  Before joining the legal academy, he served as the Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.  He also spent several years in private practice in two major Washington, D.C. law firms where he specialized in white-collar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation.

Professor Sullivan still maintains an appellate and trial practice.  He has represented persons ranging from politicians to professional athletes to recording artists to pro bono clients in criminal jeopardy.  Representative clients include: The family of Michael Brown; Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez; The family of Usaamah Rahim. 

Professor Sullivan has provided legal commentary for CNN, FoxNews, PBS, and all the major networks.  He has been quoted in the nation’s leading newspapers and periodicals, and he has testified before the United States Senate and House of Representatives on numerous occasions.

Professor Sullivan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and the Harvard Law School, where he served as President of the Harvard Black Law Students Association and as General Editor of the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal.


Faculty Dean Stephanie Robinson


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Stephanie Robinson, Esq. is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, a national media figure, author, former Chief Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and the President and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank focusing on democracy.

Between 2013 and 2014, Ms. Robinson hosted her own national radio show, Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson, a popular and weekly 30-minute, talk-radio program focused on culture, politics and relationships, that aired on the Tavis Smiley Network.

For five years, between 2008 and 2013, Ms. Robinson was Political Commentator for the Tom Joyner Morning Show where she spoke to between 9 and 10 million people weekly, offering her perspective on the day’s most pressing social and political issues.

Ms. Robinson is a nationally recognized expert on issues relating to social policy, women, race, family, and electoral politics. She was featured as one of the 30 Young Leaders of the Future in Ebony Magazine and was profiled in the book As I Am: Young African American Women in a Critical Age, by Julian Okwu. She is a frequent speaker expressing her views in countless media outlets including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, C-Span, NPR, The Baltimore Sun, CN8, and Fox News. As a political and legal analyst, Ms. Robinson has spoken on a wide variety of topics including faith and policy, international conflict, race and society, political participation and voting trends of African Americans and women.

Ms. Robinson, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland and the Harvard Law School, is a native of Steubenville, Ohio. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. She, along with Harvard Law Professor and husband, Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., are the first black Faculty Deans in the history of Harvard University.