Harvard's main governing board, the Harvard Corporation, will make its recommendation to the Board of Overseers, a body with final say, on Sunday, multiple sources told The Boston Globe and The Harvard Crimson. Both newspapers said Faust was the only remaining candidate.
"We don't comment on the search process," Harvard spokesman John Longbrake told The Associated Press early Friday.
Faust, an expert on the Civil War and the American South, was the first dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Radcliffe, the former women's college at Harvard, officially merged with the university in 1999. The institute is the last vestige of an independent Radcliffe, hosting fellows for advanced research and maintaining a mission to study women's issues and gender.
She would succeed Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, who resigned in June after a five-year tenure marked by conflicts with faculty. Summers suggested natural ability may partly explain why fewer women reach top-level science jobs, reports AP.
In January, another top candidate, Thomas R. Cech, the head of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Nobel prize winner, asked the search committee to remove him from consideration.
At the height of the backlash against Summers and his comments on women scientists, Faust oversaw the creation of two faculty task forces that examined gender diversity at the Cambridge campus. She also teaches in the history department.
Faust has no Harvard degree. She has a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College and received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught for many years.