Frailey GRD ’12 to serve as JE interim dean

Conor Frailey GRD ’12 will take over as the interim dean of Jonathan Edwards College at the start of second semester, JE Master Penelope Laurans announced Wednesday night to students gathered in the college’s dining hall.

Frailey, currently a graduate student in mathematics, will assume the position from outgoing JE Dean Kyle Farley, who announced plans to leave Yale after this semester in a Nov. 2 email to JE students. Frailey will be the only current residential college dean with a background in math, science or engineering, Laurans said.

“It’s always hard to lose a dean with whom you’ve had such a close relationship and worked so well,” Laurans said of Farley Wednesday. “But I’m very excited about having someone from [the] STEM fields as a partner — I think it will be a positive contribution to the college.”
Frailey’s mathematical background will help round out advising resources in JE, Laurans said, as she is an English professor and better versed in the humanities. Frailey has taught undergraduate calculus courses such as Math 112, Math 115 and Math 120 in the past and has worked as a math and science tutor at Yale for the past five years.

The new dean also has shown dedication to working with undergraduates, Laurans said, noting that students have spontaneously written to various administrators to praise his teaching skills and commitment to undergraduate education.

Laurans said she began searching for an interim dean immediately after Farley announced that he would move to Sydney, Australia in January to oversee curricula at the international education group Academics Australia. Though she interviewed a number of candidates, Laurans said she knew Frailey was the best man for the job from the moment she met him, and Yale College Dean Mary Miller made the final decision on his appointment.

While Frailey will serve as the interim dean for the spring semester, Miller wrote in a Wednesday letter to JE affiliates that a search committee will look for a permanent dean to assume the post before the 2012-’13 academic year begins. Laurans will chair the search committee, which has not yet been assembled but will include JE students and fellows.

At the Wednesday announcement, Frailey thanked Laurans and Farley for their support and said he is excited to work closely with the college’s students.

“Everyone has given me such a warm reception,” Frailey said. “JE has the best spirit.”

Unlike Farley, who is married and whose two children were born during his time at Yale, Laurans said that Frailey is single. She and several students said they will miss not only Farley, but also his wife, children, and the youth and vitality they have brought to the college.

Frailey, who has been a graduate student affiliate of Davenport College up to this point, said he is excited to join a new college community. He noted that JE is leading the intramural scoreboard and is the two-time defending champion of the Tyng Cup.

Ten JE students interviewed said they are excited for Frailey’s tenure as interim dean, with some adding that they are looking forward to playing pickup soccer games with him.

Frailey graduated from the University of Chicago with bachelor’s of science degrees in mathematics and physics. He will receive his doctorate in mathematics in May.


  • River_Tam

    F*ck yeah. We need more STEM deans.

  • obsyed

    Looking forward to this as well, but I’ll definitely miss the children. Farley had the most adorable kids. Frailey needs to get married asap. ;)

  • aloob

    As coaches like to say, “There is no I in Farley.”

  • JohnnyE

    Bravo, STEM dean is a step in the right direction to keep Yale relevant in future generations.

  • anonymouz

    There are a lot of reasons for the shortage of STEM deans. Relative to humanities, STEM fields tend to have active academic job markets, endogenous demand for faculty (as compared to artificial demand for humanities professors driven by university-wide steering committees comprised largely of humanities professors), much greater opportunities for externally fundable research, and tenure criteria that are at least a bit objective. The proliferation of humanities, or non-STEM deans, is probably due in part to the fact that academic politics matters much more for those fields in which little objective criteria is possible, so that they have an incentive to take administrative roles within the university. Most STEM professors could care less about Deanships and the like, they have real talent to put to work, not just obscure degrees. Say what you want about Bloom and the like I honestly find their writing incoherent. Not to say there is no role for humanities, but there the nature of the disciplines is such that there is little incentive for STEM faculty to live in a Residential College. There might be some incentive for graduate students, though.