Corp. also reviews graduate education

The prospect of building two new residential colleges may have dominated this weekend’s meeting of the Yale Corporation, but that’s not to say its members do not have anything else on their minds.

The highlight of their summit, to be sure, was the Corporation’s decision Saturday to direct University administrators to proceed with planning for the two new colleges, which would amount to Yale’s largest expansion in decades. But that was not the only item on the agenda Friday and Saturday for the University’s highest governing body.

Among the Corporation’s other dealings were a presentation from Graduate School Dean Jon Butler, a fireside chat with Sen. Amy Klobuchar ’82 and further discussion about several other campus construction projects, Provost Andrew Hamilton said.

In fact, while expanding Yale College was the focus of the meeting, the Corporation spent Friday afternoon focusing not on the College but on the Graduate School.

Butler gave a presentation to the Corporation on the state of graduate education in the United States as well as its strengths — and challenges — at Yale. Corporation members discussed a range of issues, including funding for fellowships, the amount of time it takes to earn a degree, mentoring and the job market for doctoral students in different areas of study.

“I am quite sure these are issues that we will discuss at greater length with the Corporation at future meetings,” Hamilton said in an e-mail message Sunday.

The Corporation typically spends its February meeting focusing on one or two big issues, and the residential-college question dominated the agenda this time around. Last year, the Corporation focused its February session on meeting with administrators, faculty and students from the schools of Architecture, Art, Drama and Music to learn of their priorities and concerns.

But the Corporation — which typically is shrouded in secrecy and keeps its agenda closely guarded before meetings — made time for a few other issues this year, too.

On Friday night, Corporation members partook in what Hamilton described as a “marvelous” fireside chat with Klobuchar, a Democrat of Minnesota, and Reuben Jeffery III ’75, undersecretary for economic, energy and agricultural affairs in the State Department.

“As former Yalies,” Hamilton said, “they were invited to bring the Corporation a perspective of … current issues in Washington.”

In other business, the Corporation’s buildings and grounds committee examined in detail several projects, including the planned renovation of Ingalls Rink, as well as the proposed overhaul of 143 Elm Street in preparation for its new use as the home of Dwight Hall, Hamilton said.

The next Corporation meeting is scheduled for April. At that meeting or in June, the Corporation will vote on whether to formally authorize the construction of two new colleges.

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