Morse master search ongoing

Roughly one month after Morse College Master Frank Keil announced that he would leave the post at the end of the spring semester, the search for his successor has begun.

A search committee consisting of Morse fellows and students is gathering input as to what “strengths and characteristics” members of Morse think their new master should have, committee chair and Deputy Provost for Science and Technology Steven Girvin said. Though there is no definitive timeline for appointing Keil’s successor, Girvin said the committee will present its findings to University President Richard Levin next week, adding that he expects a candidate to be chosen “well before” the semester ends.

Girvin said in a Tuesday email that the search committee has met with college staff and emailed all members of Morse asking for suggestions and feedback on the search process. Committee members were available to speak with students during family night dinner last Sunday, Girvin said, and after the Morse College Council meeting last Tuesday. He added that the committee has invited Morsels to suggest faculty or staff members as candidates for master.

“The job of master in Yale College is incredibly important for our students,” Girvin said. “The master is the ‘mayor’ of this community as well as an academic leader, counselor, disciplinarian, and champion for the community.”

Levin said in an email Wednesday that Yale looks for masters who can connect with their students, and serve as both intellectual and moral leaders in their colleges. Residential college masters are usually senior faculty either in Yale College or one of the professional schools, but they can also be senior staff members, Girvin said in an email to Morse students on Feb. 6.

Angelica Calabrese ’14, a member of the committee responsible for talking to students, said she has received input from a “good number of people.” She said more juniors and seniors have contributed suggestions than freshmen or sophomores, adding that this is likely because older students tend to have had more one-on-one interaction with professors.

“Students are definitely coming forward with thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions,” Calabrese said. “I’ve gotten both names and general ideas.”

Keil, who announced he would step down on Jan. 11, said in an email Thursday that developing relationships with students outside of an academic context has been the best part of his job as master. He described his students as having “remarkable talents,” compassion and community involvement.

Calabrese said students will miss Master Keil, who has been a “great, fatherly figure” in Morse.

Two students said they are interested to see what impact the change of leadership will have next fall. John Aroutiounian ’15 said he thinks the new master should be experienced and should match the college’s “eccentric, eclectic” character.

“Whether it will be a seamless transition or not depends on how adept the new master will be at doing what Master Keil has done well, and building upon that,” Aroutiounian said.

Keil and his wife Kristi Lockhart, the college’s associate master, have served in Morse for 11 years.

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