Ready to expand, Engineering staffs up

Bruce Carmichael, the associate provost for science and technology, has been named deputy dean for academic administration at Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. He will take office Nov. 17.

Carmichael comes to the post as the School of Engineering, which became its own professional school this year, continues to grow. Planning is underway for a new quantum engineering building to be built on the site of University Health Services; the University is also in the midst of adding 11 new professors to the Faculty of Engineering’s existing 59-person faculty.

SEAS was revived in April as part of Yale’s broader, 14-year effort to advance the sciences and to emphasize the role of engineering in a liberal arts education.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Bruce join us at this time of growth and strategic planning for our new school,” School of Engineering Dean T. Kyle Vanderlick said in a statement.

The school’s re-establishment, she said in an interview, can be traced in large part to Carmichael’s work over the past five years in Warner House.

“Engineering right now is in such a strong position to move forward as a new school … really because of the role he played in the Provost’s Office,” she said. “He really helped set the stage and make sure resources were in place when they would be needed, which is now, so that the new school could get off on the right foot.”

Carmichael, who is away at a conference this week, said in an e-mail message that although he would miss his colleagues in the Provost’s Office, the excitement of being a part of engineering at such a crucial time in the discipline’s history at Yale offsets any separation anxiety.

As deputy dean, Carmichael said he will focus on ramping up research in engineering, supporting faculty, graduate and undergraduate engineering students, and — as a long-term goal — further integrating SEAS into the fabric of Yale’s liberal arts curriculum. He emphasized that advancing engineering on campus is key to the broader institutional goal of increasing Yale’s standing in the sciences.

But he also emphasized that his approach to the new post will not be to impose a static vision on the future of SEAS.

“This is not so much ‘a’ vision but rather a desire to work with others to develop a mutually described future,” he said. “And then understand the strengths, opportunities and challenges embedded in achieving that future.”

Beyond just the tangible asset of Carmichael’s administrative background, the symbolic importance of his high-level appointment should not to be overlooked, said Paul Fleury, former dean of engineering and a professor of engineering and applied physics.

Fleury said Carmichael’s appointment to the position is an indication that University President Richard Levin is serious about pushing for the sciences.

“I think it reflects the administration and particularly [his] commitment to science overall,” he said. “Along with the development of the West Campus and the new buildings for biology and soon after that, physics … the whole spectrum is very positive.”

In his five-year term as associate provost, Carmichael managed resources for the science and technology departments and units under his purview, among them engineering. His role in the Provost’s Office followed a two-decade long stint of leadership across other parts of the University. Carmichael previously served as associate dean for resources and management at the Yale School of Nursing and held a variety of positions at the School of Medicine, including executive director for major projects and executive director for facilities development and operations.

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