When the University announced the priorities for its “Yale Tomorrow” capital campaign earlier this month, the requested gifts reflected the continuing importance of the 2003 academic review to administrators in Yale College.
The campaign’s Giving Catalog categorizes requests according to a list of eight goals for the future of Yale College, including science and quantitative reasoning education, foreign languages, the arts, and writing, which were all emphasized in the report of the Committee on Yale College Education. While administrators have already implemented many of the report’s suggestions, money raised in the capital campaign will institutionalize pilot programs and provide funding for further expansions.
Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he derived the eight goals from the CYCE report to provide a “strategic plan” at the beginning of his tenure as dean in 2004. The capital campaign’s specific requests were formulated by the Dean’s Office in conjunction with faculty councils supervising writing, the arts and science, Salovey said.
“The general thrust is that the deans put forward ideas for their schools, and the provost and the president set priorities for the University from [the CYCE’s] initiatives,” Salovey said.
While many of the gifts requested in the catalog are comparatively general, some address very specific recommendations of the report. For example, the report recommended enhancements to the undergraduate curriculum in health studies, and the capital campaign is requesting a donation of $10,000,000 for course development in that area. In addition, seven opportunities are available to fund arts professorships to teach undergraduates.
The gifts will also shore up institutions created after the CYCE report, like the Writing Center, which is asking for a $30,000,000 contribution to endow the Center to cover current and expanding operations.
Professors and members of the CYCE said they are pleased with the recommendations made in the report three years ago and are encouraged by the progress made so far.
Penelope Laurans, associate dean of Yale College, who served on the CYCE, said she is “extremely happy” that the report’s suggestions are being implemented and points to the creation of the Science and Quantitative Reasoning Center, the growth of the Writing Center and the expansion of the freshman seminar program as evidence of its success.
William Segraves, associate dean of sciences, said the CYCE put a lot of care into drafting its recommendations in order to enhance all aspects of education at the University. He said science departments all over Science Hill are already receiving money from the campaign to create new courses, to develop academic support programs and to foster undergraduate research.
“Everything that we’re talking about doing costs money,” he said. “We have already received some very significant gifts to support these endeavors and have been able to move faster because of those generous gifts.”
Astronomy professor Charles Bailyn, who served on the CYCE as chair of the physical sciences and engineering working group, said he agrees that the University has a fine record of accomplishment in terms of the recommendations but it remains to be seen how effective the changes will be in the long run.
“The crucial question is the extent to which student learning has been enhanced by all this, and that can’t really be evaluated until a class has gone all the way through under the new system, which won’t be for another two years,” he said in an e-mail.
In terms of funding for science education, he said, it is important for donors to recognize that the goals of the science departments stretch beyond those of the College to include research enterprises and graduate education.
Alfred Guy, director of the Writing Center, said the fact that money from the capital campaign will be directed specifically toward the writing program will be invaluable to the development of existing programs and will allow for more tutors at the Bass Writing Center and an increased number of writing intensive discussion sections. The new funds will also enable the implementation of programs that are currently not possible because of financial shortages.
He said the CYCE’s overhaul of the College’s writing program was in part what attracted him to his job at the University.
“Yale College is saying writing is one of the central missions that we all must share — very few research schools have that attitude,” he said.
Despite the long list of goals that the University has already accomplished, Laurans said, there are still many areas which will benefit greatly from the capital campaign, including summer study abroad resources, more facilities for the arts, a larger Science and Quantitative Reasoning Center and increased funding for international students on campus.