The day after University President Richard Levin announced his intent to step down at the end of this academic year, Yale Corporation Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67 rolled out the Yale Corporation’s plans for picking a successor.
In a campus-wide email on Friday, Bass announced the appointment of eight Corporation fellows to the presidential search committee and he told the News Monday night he will select four faculty members by the end of this week to round out the 12-person committee. The search will be the second in Yale’s history to include faculty members — the 1992 search that appointed Levin was the first. But several professors have expressed concern that the faculty will still not be adequately represented in choosing the University’s next president.
“One of the problems the next president will need to deal with will be to restore the balance between the faculty and the administration in the cooperative running of the University,” said computer science professor Michael Fischer. “The faculty representatives should be elected, not appointed by the same administrators who have been assuming more and more power in the University.”
The candidates for faculty positions will be nominated by deans and directors across the University. Bass said members of the Yale community can also suggest candidates to him before noon today.
Bass will ultimately be responsible for choosing the committee’s faculty representatives, explaining in a Monday email that he is currently “in the midst of a process of broad consultation” with the faculty.
“In my view, the decision in the last search to appoint tenured members of the faculty who have had some administrative experience was wise, and I intend to follow that example,” he wrote to the campus on Friday.
Bass would not provide an exact timetable for the search, but said he expects to nominate a committee chair by the end of the week and a successor to Levin by the time the president steps down on June 30.
While Yale’s previous presidential search took 10 months to make its decision, both Levin and former Corporation senior fellow Roland Betts ’68 said Thursday that they expect the upcoming search to take between four and six months. Administrators have said the search will be conducted nationwide.
In addition to naming members of the search committee, Bass announced four counselors who will be responsible for soliciting input from students, faculty, alumni and staff. Brandon Levin ’13, former Yale College Council president, will serve as the student counselor, while Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner and former chair of the Association of Yale Alumni Board of Governors Michael Madison will represent the staff and alumni, respectively. Bass said he will choose a faculty counselor from among the names submitted by deans and directors.
In the wake of Bass’s announcement, several professors have written the senior fellow to request that the faculty receive more representation — either in number of committee members or in the nomination process for those members.
French and African American studies professor Christopher Miller wrote a Saturday email to Bass advocating for an election among the faculty to chose their members of the search committee.
“I am writing … to request that the four faculty members of the search committee be elected by the faculty of Yale College,” he said. “This is how it is done at other institutions, and it is the only way to ensure that various points of view are included. With all of the resources available to the Corporation, it would surely be possible to make this happen in a timely fashion.”
Fischer pointed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s search to replace former President Susan Hockfield earlier this year as one in which faculty had more say — 10 of the committee’s 22 members were on the MIT faculty, though all were named by the school’s corporation.
The Corporation will hold a series of forums open to the Yale community on Sept. 28 to discuss what qualities and priorities the next president should have.