Bottomly steps into deputy provost role

Acting Immunobiology Department chair Kim Bottomly has been appointed deputy provost for science, technology and faculty development — a revamped version of the position Yale Provost Andrew Hamilton left in October when he replaced former Provost Susan Hockfield. Bottomly will assume her new role on July 1, Hamilton announced yesterday.

Bottomly said the position will include both the previous duties of overseeing science and technology at the University and the new responsibility of working with the college and graduate school deans on faculty development — improving faculty diversity, career guidance and the recruitment, mentoring, and the retention of women and minorities in sciences.

“This is really a new part of the position,” she said. “We’re putting in place a new form of thinking about faculty development, which has been sort of ad hoc until now but will now be concentrated in one office — mine.”

Hamilton said Bottomly is well-suited for directing both science and faculty development.

“I am delighted that Kim Bottomly will bring her experience and enthusiasm to two of the most important challenges currently facing us at Yale,” he said.

Deputy provosts are charged with shaping and implementing the University’s academic, administrative and budgetary policies, Hamilton said.

Bottomly said she plans to work with Graduate School Dean Jon Butler and Yale College Dean Peter Salovey to reform hiring practices and better support junior faculty in their careers, and she looks forward to meeting with department chairs when she assumes the deputy provost position this summer.

Hamilton said, as deputy provost, Bottomly will focus her attention on several administrative units involved in the natural sciences and engineering. She will also supervise the departments of anthropology, psychology, statistics and linguistics; the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; the Peabody Museum; the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies and the Haskins Laboratory.

With two degrees from the University of Washington, Bottomly came to Yale in 1980 after working at the National Institutes of Health. Her most recent research focuses on the regulation of CD4 T-cell differentiation and function, especially as regards the pathogenesis of asthma.

Since her arrival, she has taught undergraduate, graduate and medical school courses and served on numerous committees across the University. She was a member of the Committee for Yale College Education, led a cross-university analysis of opportunities in bio-informatics, and acted as divisional director of biological sciences. Bottomly is currently on the steering committee of the Women’s Faculty Forum.

University President Richard Levin said Bottomly has a good grasp on the future of science at Yale and was the top choice for the position.

“Kim has been a great citizen of the University,” Levin said. “She served with great insight as the director of the division of biological sciences.”

School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said he has worked closely with Bottomly, who chairs the medical school’s basic science strategic planning committee, over the past year.

“Kim’s appointment is a fantastic decision,” he said. “She combines a lot of key talents in that she is a premier scientist and has outstanding abilities as both a leader and administrator.”

Alpern said he hopes Bottomly will help bring talented scientists from the college, Graduate School and School of Medicine together as deputy provost. The former chair of immunobiology, Richard Flavell, has been on sabbatical and is expected to return by fall semester, Alpern said.

Bottomly said she hopes to increase interdisciplinary work, particularly in the sciences, and is especially enthusiastic about the developing Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“Physical sciences have a lot, I think, to teach the biological sciences,” she said. “We need more linking. Many more things are computational now … [and] the physical sciences need to grapple with new ways of thinking about the biological sciences.”

Bottomly said she hopes to make science classes more accessible to all students, including non-science majors, both in terms of content and classroom location.

“You want to make sure that people who are going to be majoring in science or working in science are able to fully integrate with the rest of the University and vice versa,” she said.

Meg Urry, a physics professor and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, said she has worked closely with Bottomly, as they are among the few scientist members of the Women’s Faculty Forum.

“This is an absolutely outstanding appointment — [Bottomly] is an incredibly intelligent and accomplished researcher,” Urry said. “Someone like Kim has a good sense of what needs to go where. She’s definitely up to the job, but it may take her some time to decide where to focus changes in hiring and other things. She’s enormously effective, persuasive in a gentle but firm way and very thoughtful … She is a great listener and is good at synthesizing people’s views.”

Urry said she is confident that Bottomly will work hard to increase the number of female scientists at Yale and create stronger, more balanced mentoring programs for junior faculty.

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