After serving as the home of the Provost’s Office for more than a decade, Warner House, situated at 1 Hillhouse Ave., will have new residents this year.
On June 17, Provost Benjamin Polak announced plans to relocate the administrative staff of the Graduate School dean — a position currently held by Lynn Cooley — to Warner House, a brownstone constructed in 1888 that stands at the base of Hillhouse Avenue. As a result, Polak and his staff have temporarily moved to 2 Whitney Ave., the Whitney Grove Square building, in preparation for their relocation to offices within the Hall of Graduate Studies. In his email announcement, Polak said the reorganization is intended to create a “stronger and more cohesive [Faculty of Arts and Sciences]” by bringing the Graduate School Dean’s Office in closer proximity to the FAS Dean’s Office, Yale College Dean’s Office and the office of the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Currently, the YCDO sits on 1 Prospect St. and the SEAS office is located at 10 Hillhouse Ave. FAS Dean Tamar Gendler and her staff occupy the south side of Warner House, while Cooley and her staff are now located on the north side of the building.
“Now that we have reorganized the [administrative] structure of the FAS, we are reorganizing it physically as well,” Polak said in the email to faculty members. “This move will bring the Graduate School, figuratively and quite literally, into the center of campus and the center of the FAS.”
This change of addresses comes roughly one year after University President Peter Salovey announced the creation of the FAS deanship, a new administrative role tasked with overseeing matters related to faculty recruitment, appointment, tenure and promotion — duties previously shared among the college and graduate school deans — as well as financial oversight of the FAS departments, faculty and staff. Those duties were previously held by the provost.
Gendler said the collocation of FAS and graduate school staff is beneficial since both deans share many overlapping concerns and interests. For example, Gendler said one advantage of the new arrangement is that the three divisional directors — who oversee humanities, social sciences and sciences and now have shared office space inside Warner House — are involved not only in the oversight of faculty in their division, but are also thinking about improvements for graduate education and the support of teaching assistants in these divisions as well.
“[Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, Cooley and I] have regular meetings set up and we actually start our weeks meeting as a trio,” Gendler said. “But it is now easier for us when we need to do it in an ad hoc way for all of us to end up in the same place because that is at most 20 steps away.”
She added that though some conversations with members of the Provost’s Office that were previously face-to-face now happen through phone calls and emails, they are also able to meet in person when necessary since they are only “a single block walk” apart.
In an email to the News, Cooley said the relocation of these administrative offices follows from Salovey’s vision for better integration between different administrative units. She added that while there is not currently a single building that can accommodate the administrative staff across the graduate school office, FAS office, YCDO and SEAS office, this move places the four leadership groups in a much closer vicinity.
In terms of timing for the move, Cooley added that the initial plan was to relocate last summer, but the move was too complicated to do in that narrow window of time. As a result, it was pushed to this summer in order to avoid disrupting the work schedule of administrators during the school year. It remains unclear, however, when Polak and his staff will shift from 2 Whitney Ave. to HGS.
The eventual move to HGS comes on the heels of Polak’s January announcement that the building will undergo a full renovation, in which it may be repurposed into a “central home for the humanities.”
Polak could not be reached for comment.
This is not the first time the provost will be located in HGS. In fact, prior to the move to Warner House in 2002, the building had previously housed the Provost’s Office for over six decades.
In addition to the changes to administrators’ offices, the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct has moved from 1 Hillhouse Ave. to 55 Whitney Ave.
Beginning in the late 19th century, Warner House — then called Cloister Hall — served as the home of the Book and Snake Society.