Though ROTC will not return to campus until next fall, University professors and ROTC officials alike say Yale is already taking steps to integrate the program’s instructors into the faculty.
In accordance with federal law, which specifies that any institution with an ROTC unit must give its commanding officers the academic rank of professor, Yale will grant the commanding officers and instructors of its new Naval and Air Force ROTC units the titles of either professor adjunct or lecturer. Lt. Molly Crabbe, who will serve as a Naval ROTC instructor at Yale during the 2012-’13 academic year, said appointing ROTC instructors to the faculty will help the program integrate into academic life at the University.
“I don’t really know if they can really make it any easier to adjust — they’ve done an amazing job already to invite us to things Yale faculty normally do,” Crabbe said. “I feel like the carpet has been rolled out for us.”
The decision also follows the recommendation of the Report of the Faculty Committee on ROTC, which was released in April and suggested that commanding and executive officers in the ROTC program be given the academic ranking of either professor adjunct — a title usually given to professional writers, performing artists, or business leaders who have significant professional experience but lack advanced degrees — or lecturer. Under the agreements Yale signed with the Navy and the Air Force in May and September, respectively, the University agreed to award officers of ROTC one of these academic rankings when they join the faculty in fall 2012.
The ROTC officers granted the title of professor adjunct will be part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Crabbe said that Yale’s decision to recognize ROTC officers as professors will help instructors be perceived as part of academic life rather than as military ambassadors to campus.
“No one really understands our [military] titles, so it gives us an opportunity not to be seen as outsiders,” she said.
Crabbe said Yale administrators and faculty have already helped make her feel welcome at the University, adding that she has been invited to several all-staff meetings this fall.
Capt. Ron Harrell, who will serve as the commanding officer for Yale’s Naval ROTC, said he has attended two faculty meetings on campus this semester. At the first of these meetings, Harrell said Yale College Dean Mary Miller introduced the commanding and executive officers of the ROTC units to the faculty. After both meetings, Harrell said numerous faculty members came over to introduce themselves to him and exchange contact information.
ROTC officers and professors work together closely at colleges and universities around the country. Crabbe and Harrell, who currently work with the Naval ROTC unit at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., said they are involved with classes at the college and often give guest lectures or speak on panels run by professors.
Political science professor Steven Smith said he thought it was important to consider ways to integrate ROTC instructors into University life in addition to granting them academic titles. All instructors could be assigned individual Yale faculty mentors who would lead them “through the shoals of the Yale community” — taking ROTC officers to lunch or inviting them to departmental lectures, among other activities, Smith said. He added that he would be happy to serve in this role.
Eitan Hersh, an assistant professor in the Economics Department, said he is looking forward to ROTC resuming its presence on campus.
“I would welcome the opportunity to work with ROTC affiliates to facilitate their integration into campus life,” Hersh said. “ROTC serves a vital role in our country, and, to the extent that I can help their program through my professional service, I will do so.”
ROTC’s return to Yale in fall 2012 will end the program’s 42-year absence from campus.