Yale Corporation plans lab renovations

Fellows of the Yale Corporation allocated money for plans to renovate laboratory classrooms in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory and furthered discussion with President-elect Peter Salovey about his preparations for the presidency when they convened on campus this weekend for their annual February meeting.

The Yale Corporation’s February meeting, one of its five meetings per year, is typically intended to give the fellows exposure to different parts of campus rather than holding the regular committee meetings, University President Richard Levin said. This year, the corporation met with several administrators, staff members and professors for updates and spent time alone with Salovey as part of his transition to the presidency. Levin also said the fellows met with science and math professors to learn about STEM developments and traveled up Science Hill to visit classrooms before approving funding to design higher-quality teaching laboratories in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.

“Putting in higher-quality teaching laboratories [is] a few years away,” Levin said. “But it’s something we really feel is important to accomplish.”

Levin said the renovations will probably take three or four years to complete. The Yale Corporation’s decision is part of the continuing process of improving elementary science and math courses and renovating facilities on Science Hill. Last year, he said, the corporation decided to allocate money for renovating lecture classrooms on Science Hill, and this weekend the group visited some of lecture halls that underwent renovation last summer. The second half of renovations will take place this summer, Levin added.

As provost, Salovey sat in on all parts of the Yale Corporation meetings except for the executive sessions that open and close each meeting weekend and are typically attended by only Levin and the other fellows. But this year, Salovey attended the executive sessions with Levin, and Salovey told the News he discussed the progress of his “listening tour” — during which he plans to hear from a wide range of members of the Yale community — with the fellows in a session at the end.

“I think it’s really important he develop his own relationship with the corporation,” Levin said, adding that he did not attend the session in which Salovey discussed his president-elect activities.

The group visited the new Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) and the Center for Science and Social Science Information (CSSSI), before checking in on some of the older science teaching laboratories in Osborn Memorial Laboratories and having lunch in the new Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classroom at 17 Hillhouse Ave.

The corporation members also heard from Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel about the biennial staff workplace survey results, University Librarian Susan Gibbons about the University libraries and School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern about the status of the medical school and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Alpern said he updated the corporation members about meetings of the Yale-New Haven Hospital health system board, which has been discussing its future plans, including potential mergers or expansions.

“The question is, should our health system expand more aggressively?” Alpern added. “[It is] very important for the Yale Corporation to believe that the health system is making the right decision.”

Salovey said he also introduced the corporation fellows to the new provost, Benjamin Polak.

The Yale Corporation is comprised of 19 fellows, including Levin.

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