For Yale President Richard Levin and his colleagues, the searching never seems to end.
In the past year, Levin and other top University officials have devoted an unusually large amount of time and energy trying to fill vacancies in key administrative posts. To date, Levin is still struggling to replace Vice President for Finance and Administration Joseph Mullinix and Drama School Dean Stan Wojewodski — a search that has lasted over 10 months.
The Mullinix and Wojewodski departures are just two examples of the many recent turnovers in the Yale administration. This torrent of change has left Levin with a lot of work.
“The searches take up a considerable amount of my time,” Levin said. “This year, there are a larger number than usual.”
Since last April, Office of Public Affairs director Larry Haas, Divinity School Dean Richard Wood, Financial Aid Director Donald Routh, Information Technology Services Director Daniel Updegrove, British Art Center Director Patrick Macaughey, University Librarian Scott Bennett, Beinecke Library director Ralph Franklin, and six college deans and masters have all either left their posts or announced upcoming departures.
But Levin does not face the task of searching alone. With the help of University Secretary Linda Lorimer, Provost Alison Richard, search committees and outside search consultants, Levin has filled many key posts within six months of commencing a search.
In March, Levin announced the appointments of Office of Public Affairs director Helaine Klasky, Divinity School Dean Rebecca Chopp, University Librarian Alice Prochaska and two college masters.
Several months ago, ITS veteran Philip Long was promoted to fill the vacancy in his office, and Myra Smith was named the new director of financial aid. All of the incoming residential college deans and masters have been named.
But Levin is still charged with finding a new University officer to replace Mullinix, a search he is personally handling, and a drama dean to replace Wojewodski.
Filling these gaps has proved troublesome. Levin said press leaks may have seriously hurt his plans to tap a new drama dean many months ago.
“The drama situation is frustrating because [press] leaks had an impact on our ability to attract a leading candidate early on, Oskar Eustis,” Levin said.
As a result of the failure to land a successor, Wojewodski may stay on past his planned departure this spring to direct next year’s shows.
The vice president for finance and administration search is also complicated. Mullinix departed Yale abruptly after being offered a similar post at the University of California.
With union contract negotiations between the University and locals 34 and 35 looming, the failure to secure a new vice president could have serious consequences for Yale.
“The VP search has taken so long because I have very high standards for the job,” Levin said. “It’s not that people aren’t interested in the job, it’s that I’m focused on people who haven’t applied, and I’m trying to encourage them to come here.”
While the announcement of a departure can be frustrating, Levin said he is grateful to the talented people that come to serve at Yale for any period of time.
“When a person makes up their mind that its time to go, that’s a decision to be respected,” Levin said. “I’ve come to recognize that people only hold to these jobs for five to 10 years.”