At this point, it is very likely that the only administrator’s name that means anything to you is Richard Shaw, the dean of undergraduate admissions for Yale College. Though it is true that he was responsible for sending your letter of acceptance, it is important to realize that there are a slew of other deans, officers and masters who make Yale College work — and take the blame when it does not.
At the top of the food chain is Yale President Richard Levin. Levin is not only the president of Yale, the university, but Yale, the corporation, as well. Yes, there is a Yale Corporation. It is the highest governing body of the University and has the final say on every important decision.
The Corporation maintains a policy of strict secrecy about many proceedings, which was the cause of controversy among some students recently. In fact, the Corporation does not make minutes from its meetings public until 50 years after the meeting date. The Corporation also is responsible for enumerating the responsibilities of many of the subordinate administrators.
After Levin, the next-highest of these administrators is Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer. She is the University’s second in command and is responsible for a large portion of Yale’s day-to-day operations. Although Richard works largely out of the sight of students, she coordinates and oversees academic policies of all sectors of the University and prepares the University’s operating and capital budgets.
A more visible administrator is Richard Brodhead, the dean of Yale College, and one of the most recognized faces on campus. Brodhead, along with Levin, is responsible for delivering a welcoming address to each incoming freshman class. He serves as the chair of the Yale College faculty and chief administrator of Yale College. The dean of Yale College also sits on most standing committees, such as the Committee for Teaching and Learning, which help set academic policy.
Brodhead appoints still more deans to help him carry out all of the responsibilities charged to the Yale College Dean’s Office. The most prominent of these deans is Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg — commonly referred to as “Betty T.” When Yalies wish to create new undergraduate organizations, Trachtenberg is there. When juniors apply to serve as freshman counselors, Trachtenberg is there. When students have questions about University housing, Trachtenberg is there. She is also involved with the Sexual Harassment Grievance Board and the Dean’s Committee on Student Grievances.
While you may not spend very much time with these upper-level administrators, they will be visible parts of campus life and will make the decisions that help mold your time at Yale.