Salovey names new deans

This article has been updated from previous versions.University President Peter Salovey announced sweeping changes to the makeup of the Yale administration Wednesday afternoon.

In a campus-wide email, Salovey named new deans for Yale College, the Graduate School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). The positions will be filled by departing Calhoun Master Jonathan Holloway GRD ’95, School of Medicine Professor Lynn Cooley and Deputy Provost for Humanities and Initiatives Tamar Gendler ’87, respectively.

“This is an exciting time for Yale, and I am confident that the new deans will provide vision and leadership for our university in the years ahead,” Salovey said in the email.

The appointments were made after an advisory committee of 13 faculty members and two students recommended candidates to Salovey. The committee — which was led by Berkeley Master Marvin Chun — provided between 10 and 15 names, Salovey told the News. None of the newly appointed deans could be reached for comment Wednesday. 

The committee was formed after Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Graduate School Dean Thomas Pollard announced their departures early this year. Miller took office in 2008, while Pollard stepped into his role in 2010.

The simultaneous appointments mark a major transition in the structure of the Yale administration. Gendler’s new position was created largely in response to concerns about the manageability of the jobs of Yale College dean and University provost.

Gendler’s role, in which she will oversee the faculty of arts and sciences, is entirely new. At the broadest level, she will be responsible for overseeing the FAS, particularly by way of managing appointments and promotions — a role previously shared by the Yale College and Graduate School deans.

Gendler will also manage the budget of the FAS, a role previously held by the University provost.

“With the creation of a dean for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the deans of the Graduate School and Yale College will be able to focus more attention on the quality of graduate and undergraduate education, respectively, including academic curriculum and student life,” Salovey said. “Faculty recruitment, appointment, tenure, and promotion will be handled primarily by the dean of FAS.”

All three deans will report directly to University Provost Benjamin Polak.

In making the decision, Salovey said, he looked to see how the three deans would work together.

“I like very much the fact that all three deans will report to the provost and that their positions are constructed with a certain kind of parity in mind,” Salovey told the News in February, when the three-dean structure was created. “This will continue the tradition of having organizational structures at Yale that reinforce the centrality of Yale College and the Graduate School.”

The appointments continue the tradition of having senior administrators from humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences.

Gendler, for instance, researches the intersections of philosophy and psychology. Holloway, on the other hand, is best known as a historian of post-emancipation United States history. Cooley, for her part, focuses on the developments of female eggs in a genus of small flies.

Before the formal selection of the deans, faculty and students outlined broad criteria that they hoped to see in the individuals chosen to fill the positions.

“The faculty will want an outstanding scholar, the students will expect an excellent and experienced teacher, and we will all want a person who is a great administrator. All are equally important.” said Chemistry Professor Gary Haller, who led the advisory committee that recommended Mary Miller’s appointment in 2008.

According to Senior Advisor to the President Martha Highsmith, the long-standing practice for appointments such as Wednesday’s is for the University president to recommend the candidates for approval to the Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body. The Corporation last met this weekend over Commencement.

The three new deans will formally step into their roles on July 1.

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