While many anxiously await policy pronouncements from D.C. Mayor-Elect Sharon Pratt Dixon, mum has been the word from her -- and the myriad members of her staff -- about her immediate plans for the residents of this city.

During her campaign, she spouted grand themes of reform and painted ambitious portraits of renaissance, without providing many details. Since her come-from-behind victory in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary and overwhelming triumph in the Nov. 6 election, she has announced the names of the leaders of her transition team and some of its many members.

But no one has come forward to tell D.C. residents exactly what is being cooked up for their future.

Dixon has had little to say about the far-ranging recommendations of the D.C. Commission on Budget and Financial Priorities, including a major reduction in the size of the police force. Nor has she been willing to be drawn into a debate with Mayor Marion Barry and D.C. Council members over the specific spending cuts or tax increases that will be necessary to close the deficit in the current fiscal year.

The scholars at Harvard University's Institute of Politics apparently are going to get the poop first. Dixon is scheduled to address a forum at the Kennedy School of Government this afternoon. The title of her talk -- "Washington, D.C.: With a Shovel, Not a Broom" -- indicates that even if she doesn't get into details, Dixon will at least talk about the scope of her job.

One research fellow at Harvard, who asked not to be identified, said that for a newly elected official, an invitation to speak at the Kennedy School is a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, the fellow said, it's a tremendous honor to be invited to speak. On the other hand, the officials' ideas undergo strong scrutiny and challenge.

The school builds power by influencing public policy, the research fellow noted. Tinkering social scientists like to peer out from their ivy clad halls and examine their theories at work.

"They want to identify her as a leader," the fellow said, "as well as to indoctrinate her."

Charles T. Royer, a former television journalist, former mayor of Seattle and current director of the institute, disagreed. "I don't think we view ourselves as sending people out to be laboratory mice," he said.

The institute runs a training session for newly elected mayors every two years. "She's on cycle," Royer said of Dixon. "She had heard about our program, heard about what we do, particularly in the area of transition . . . We're going to put together {for her} a few people who can discuss some of the things we routinely talk about in the mayors conference."

Most difficult for a new mayor, said Royer, is making the transition from candidate to public official. "There is no training for mayor, other than being mayor," he said. "You can't get it in a city council, a governor's office or in Congress. You might be able to get it as a city manager, but still, the politics are different. There is just no good training except involvement in the city, knowing who you are, where you want to go and what you want to do."

Perhaps Dixon's Boston sojourn will include a closer look at her mayoral objectives. Royer said the institute provides an opportunity "to get away from the day-to-day intense pressure of transition, to step back and take a deep breath, to look at the landscape a little more clearly.

"One of the truths is that you are under enormous pressure to form an opinion about something you may not be ready to have an opinion about," he said. "You're under pressure from people who helped in the campaign and now want jobs and access, and from a government that even before you are sworn in, wants you to make decisions. I think the situation in Washington is so difficult, those pressures are intensified many more times than what new mayors normally have to face."

In addition to the general phenomenon of making the transition from candidate to public official, Royer said, Dixon specifically asked for guidance in the areas of crime, law enforcement, drugs and economic development.

She also plans to meet with Harvard's Black Student Caucus, some of whom have vigorously demonstrated in recent weeks against the school's inattention to black academic concerns.

Tomorrow, Dixon is scheduled to meet with the D.C. media, thereby conveying to her home town her transition plans, her opinion of the report by the budget commmssion headed by Alice M. Rivlin, and other issues of immediate concern.

In the wake of the Rivlin Commission's sweeping recommendations on how to close the city's growing budget deficit, there has been some grumbling among D.C. Council members about the budget of the commission itself and the commission's liberal use of consultants and other paid experts to do research.

Commission chairman Rivlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the council this week that the commission's budget for the year-long exercise was $2 million, half paid for by the city, half by the federal government.

Rivlin's assertion drew a skeptical comment this week from council member Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large), who contended that the city footed the whole bill, because Congress simply removed the $1 million from funds earmarked for prison construction and told the District to make up the difference.

Other council members are privately annoyed because they feel that many of the commission's recommendations are simply a rehash of old ideas long under consideration by the council, and they question whether the city got what it paid for in the commission's sweeping 150-page call for change.