Conor Frailey GRD ’12 will take over as the interim dean of Jonathan Edwards College at the start of second semester, JE Master Penelope Laurans announced Wednesday night to students gathered in the college’s dining hall.

Frailey, currently a graduate student in mathematics, will assume the position from outgoing JE Dean Kyle Farley, who announced plans to leave Yale after this semester in a Nov. 2 email to JE students. Frailey will be the only current residential college dean with a background in math, science or engineering, Laurans said.

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“It’s always hard to lose a dean with whom you’ve had such a close relationship and worked so well,” Laurans said of Farley Wednesday. “But I’m very excited about having someone from [the] STEM fields as a partner — I think it will be a positive contribution to the college.”
Frailey’s mathematical background will help round out advising resources in JE, Laurans said, as she is an English professor and better versed in the humanities. Frailey has taught undergraduate calculus courses such as Math 112, Math 115 and Math 120 in the past and has worked as a math and science tutor at Yale for the past five years.

The new dean also has shown dedication to working with undergraduates, Laurans said, noting that students have spontaneously written to various administrators to praise his teaching skills and commitment to undergraduate education.

Laurans said she began searching for an interim dean immediately after Farley announced that he would move to Sydney, Australia in January to oversee curricula at the international education group Academics Australia. Though she interviewed a number of candidates, Laurans said she knew Frailey was the best man for the job from the moment she met him, and Yale College Dean Mary Miller made the final decision on his appointment.

While Frailey will serve as the interim dean for the spring semester, Miller wrote in a Wednesday letter to JE affiliates that a search committee will look for a permanent dean to assume the post before the 2012-’13 academic year begins. Laurans will chair the search committee, which has not yet been assembled but will include JE students and fellows.

At the Wednesday announcement, Frailey thanked Laurans and Farley for their support and said he is excited to work closely with the college’s students.

“Everyone has given me such a warm reception,” Frailey said. “JE has the best spirit.”

Unlike Farley, who is married and whose two children were born during his time at Yale, Laurans said that Frailey is single. She and several students said they will miss not only Farley, but also his wife, children, and the youth and vitality they have brought to the college.

Frailey, who has been a graduate student affiliate of Davenport College up to this point, said he is excited to join a new college community. He noted that JE is leading the intramural scoreboard and is the two-time defending champion of the Tyng Cup.

Ten JE students interviewed said they are excited for Frailey’s tenure as interim dean, with some adding that they are looking forward to playing pickup soccer games with him.

Frailey graduated from the University of Chicago with bachelor’s of science degrees in mathematics and physics. He will receive his doctorate in mathematics in May.