As the 11-member search committee for a new undergraduate dean wraps up its second full week of work, it is honing in on potential successors to departing Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead.
Yale College Council officers and representatives participated in an official closed-door meeting with search committee members Wednesday evening to discuss candidates for the deanship.
YCC president Elliott Mogul ’05 and vice president Nirupam Sinha ’05 said the YCC’s position is to convey the views of undergraduate students — not the representatives’ personal opinions — to the search committee. Mogul and Sinha said the YCC has received about 250 responses, representing approximately 5 percent of the student body, to an informal survey about the search that is posted on the council’s YaleStation Web site. They will present all data to the search committee, they said.
History chairman Jon Butler, Graduate School Dean Peter Salovey, Whitney Humanities Center director Maria Rosa Menocal and Astronomy chairman Charles Bailyn received the most student support in the survey, Mogul and Sinha said Wednesday night.
“Butler, Menocal, Bailyn and Salovey have been doing well [in the survey],” Mogul said. “[The committee is] going to read the individual responses [to the survey].”
Pierson College Master and Slavic Languages and Literatures chairman Harvey Goldblatt and deputy provost for Science and Technology Andrew Hamilton also received strong student support, Mogul and Sinha said.
Mogul and Sinha said Political Science chairman Ian Shapiro, former English chairwoman Linda Peterson and Berkeley College Master and English professor John Rogers received less support in the survey than the above-mentioned four candidates.
“John Rogers is mentioned here and there, but I wouldn’t call him the frontrunner,” Sinha said. “Some of them have not had many responses, for whatever reason.”
Many faculty members continue to focus on seven professors — Butler, Salovey, Menocal, Bailyn, Shapiro, Peterson and Rogers — who they say University President Richard Levin may tap to replace Brodhead, who will assume the Duke University presidency on July 1.
Recently, professors have said they think Levin is seriously considering Salovey for the undergraduate deanship. Levin, who remains tight-lipped about the search, would not comment on Salovey’s candidacy — or on any other individual candidacies. But he said he remains in constant contact with Theater Studies and English professor Joseph Roach, the search committee chair.
“[I’m] hoping for recommendations [from the search committee] by the end of February,” Levin said. “They’re talking to faculty and students to try and elicit names.”
Rogers said last week that he had already met with the search committee, which he said has also consulted with the 11 other residential college masters.
Hinting at a potential shift in the upper administration, Rogers said he thinks Levin is “absolutely” considering asking Salovey to move from the graduate to undergraduate deanship.
“I think [Salovey] will be an amazing candidate,” Rogers said. “[But] if there were some shuffling from the top, someone should be in the humanities.”
One professor said he thinks a Salovey appointment would be “a promotion,” even though it would technically be a lateral move.
“Yale College, no matter what anyone says, is the crown jewel of this institution,” the professor said. “Even if it might [ruffle] some feathers, even though we just appointed Dean Salovey to the Graduate School deanship, it’s not going to rule anything out. For me, it’s a promotion — it’s a higher-visibility position.”
In multiple interviews this month, Salovey declined to comment on his potential candidacy, saying he remains committed to the Graduate School.
“The committee and the president should make decisions that are in the best interest of the University,” Salovey said Wednesday. “I have a big job to do, and I’ve just been doing it.”
Many professors continue to underscore the importance of representation in the humanities, and Levin said Wednesday appointing a new dean from the humanities “is a consideration.”
“It’s nice to have some balance among the senior administrators,” Levin said Wednesday. ”It’s not absolutely required. It would be a positive factor.”
Rogers said he thinks it is important for a representative of the humanities to hold a top administrative position.
“I don’t think it’s essential that the dean of Yale College needs to be in the humanities, but there does need to be someone in the humanities [in the administration],” Rogers said.
Levin said he hopes to name a new dean by March’s spring recess.