Faculty members join presidential search committee

The final members of the committee that will select a successor for University President Richard Levin were announced Friday, and the newly appointed faculty representatives said they will look to their colleagues for guidance when considering candidates for the job.

Professors Judith Chevalier ’89, Amy Hungerford, Richard Lifton and Anna Pyle joined the eight Corporation fellows serving on the committee. Bass also appointed professors Michael McBride and Ruth Yeazell GRD ’71 to act as faculty counselors to the search committee, responsible for gathering input from professors and forwarding it to the committee. The faculty counselors said there will soon be a website launched as part of their efforts to solicit feedback from professors.

Still, Yeazell said she expects it to be challenging for faculty members involved in the process to represent all views of their colleagues, given the large volume and diversity of opinions.

“Representing the faculty as a whole is going to be tricky because the faculty isn’t going to speak as one voice,” Yeazell said.

The faculty appointments were made by Yale Corporation Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67 just two days after he closed a four-day nomination period in which he said he received over 800 emails from the Yale community and more than 200 nominations of professors to serve on the committee.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Graduate School Dean Thomas Pollard, as well as current and former faculty divisional directors, considered professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences nominated by their colleagues before forwarding him a shortlist, Bass said in a Sept. 6 campus-wide email. Deans across the University’s professional schools also reviewed nominees in their respective faculty, and then forwarded Bass their suggestions.

Levin said the professional school deans received about 70 or 80 suggestions in total across the schools, and forwarded roughly a dozen to Bass, while the FAS deans and directors received about 139 suggestions and forwarded a list of six.

All four appointed faculty members are tenured and have had some administrative experience — two characteristics that Bass said in an Aug. 31 email that he would look for in potential search committee members.

Faculty on the committee and the faculty counselors said they will do everything they can to consider the opinions of all faculty members.

Hungerford said in a Sunday email that she expects presidential candidates will have different qualifications and views on the “University’s sense of citizenship, its role in the world, in enterprise, in the professions and the arts more specifically,” but did not discuss specifics.

“I think it would be a good idea to have a committee discussion about exactly what we’re looking for,” Chevalier said. “In many ways I’m trying to not form a picture of what we’re looking for [before the committee meets].”

Bass did not respond when asked if faculty members on the committee would be eligible candidates for the presidency. Chevalier, whose name has been floated as potential presidential candidate, said “it’s a good idea to not be on the search committee if you thought you wanted to be a candidate.”

“That’s how I view search committees,” Chevalier said, “but I don’t know how other people view it.”

Still, that kind of final decision has precedent in recent history: Pollard was appointed dean of the Graduate School in 2010 after serving as chair of the search committee.

Corporation members Charles Goodyear ’80 and Paul Joskow ’70 GRD ’72 will serve as chair and vice chair of the search committee, respectively.

Comments