Yale President Richard Levin said he will announce his choice for the University’s new provost within a week to 10 days.
Sources said possible candidates for provost could include Astronomy Department Chairman Charles Bailyn, History Department Director of Undergraduate Studies Glenda Gilmore, Graduate School Dean Susan Hockfield, English professor Linda Peterson, Psychology Department Chairman Peter Salovey and Political Science Chairman Ian Shapiro. The new provost will take office on Jan. 1, replacing Alison Richard as the University’s chief academic and financial officer.
Levin declined to comment on any specific candidates.
Yale Corporation Member Janet Yellen GRD ’71 said Levin discussed potential candidates with the Corporation at its meeting this weekend.
“He has a number of possible candidates and I think he’s converging on his top choice,” Yellen said.
At the meeting, Corporation members gave Levin permission to make the decision, Levin said.
“They’ve given me the authority to make the choice at this point,” Levin said.
Levin said he has devoted a lot of time to the matter because the appointment will be an important one for Yale.
“It’s a very important appointment,” Levin said. “The provost is leader of the University’s academic affairs and it is obviously very important to the University that I make a good selection.”
Physics Department chairman Ramamurti Shankar said he heard speculation that both Hockfield and Shapiro were being considered.
“Susan’s been a dean for some time, and she knows [the University] inside and out, so she’s a logical choice,” Shankar said.
History professor Cynthia Russett said she had heard an “informed rumor” that Shapiro was a possible candidate.
“I heard Ian Shapiro, who has rather successfully run the department and enlarged it and who seems to have a good relationship with the administration,” Russett said.
Many professors contacted said they have heard gossip but would not comment on specific names.
Bailyn is chairman of the Teaching and Learning Committee and a member of the Committee on Yale College Education. Shapiro also serves on the academic review committee. Peterson was chairwoman of the English Department and serves as co-director of the Bass Writing Program. Gilmore and Salovey both serve on the University Budget Committee. Hockfield was recently reappointed to a second five-year term as Graduate School Dean.
Peterson said she had not heard from Levin about being appointed.
“I know nothing about the President’s candidates for provost,” Peterson said. “I’ve heard no names named.”
Levin sent an e-mail last Wednesday announcing Richard’s intended departure and asking faculty and staff to nominate candidates for the position.
“There [have] got to be close to 200 faculty [members] who have responded to my e-mail with nominations,” Levin said.
Salovey said he sent a number of names of people he admired to Levin.
“The Yale environment offers up a number of people who would be good in this position,” Salovey said.
Shankar said faculty discuss the issue often. But Comparative Literature Department chairman Michael Holquist said he had not heard any names.
“I haven’t heard any rumors and am still so staggered by the loss [of Richard],” Holquist said. “It really comes as a shock.”
Holquist said he would not be surprised by any of the candidates mentioned by his colleagues.
“I would not be surprised if any of those people were named,” Holquist said. “It really depends on whether the very conservative policies [Richard] stood for will be maintained or not.”
English, Theater Studies and African American Studies Professor Joseph Roach said the faculty will be sad to see Richard go, but said he trusted Levin would be able to find a good replacement.
“It’s a good faculty and a good administration and we’ve got good people here,” Roach said.
Richard — who has served as Yale’s provost for over eight years — will leave Yale to become the next vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, replacing current vice-chancellor Sir Alec Broers. Richard will step down as provost Jan. 1 and will be on sabbatical next semester.