As the Yale School of Public Health celebrates its 100th anniversary, the YSPH community has begun searching for a new dean to lead the school through the coming decades.
Following an email in June from University President Peter Salovey announcing the stepping down of current dean Paul Cleary, the search committee for the new dean — chaired by public health professor Susan Busch and consisting of eight other Yale faculty — met for the first time last Saturday to discuss the new leadership for the School of Public Health. Although the committee has not set a hard deadline for its search, it plans to identify a new dean before Cleary’s term expires in June 2016. Both Cleary and other YSPH faculty interviewed expressed their confidence in the search committee’s ability to select the next leader for the school.
“We hope to have a new dean in place by July 1, 2016, but will continue to search until we find the appropriate candidate,” Busch said in a Sunday email to the News, adding that the committee expects a nationwide search for the position.
In a formal announcement that will be placed in scholarly journals targeted at public health faculty within the next two weeks, Yale invites nominations and letters of application from all over the nation. According to the statement, candidates with strong recognition, academic accomplishments and backgrounds in funded research will be preferred.
Cleary, who has led the school through almost a decade of national and international recognition, said he hopes it will continue to develop its excellence in research, education and service activities, while continuing to be one of the world’s top schools of public health.
“I am confident that the search committee will identify an outstanding man or woman who can do a superb job at continuing to develop the school in that way,” Cleary said.
The School of Public Health has consistently been ranked one of the top in the world during Cleary’s tenure. Faculty at the school acknowledged Cleary’s efforts in expanding the school’s influence at Yale, nationally and globally, and expressed hope that the new dean will carry on his legacy.
Elizabeth Bradley, public health professor and master of Branford College, said she expects the new dean to continue and expand the multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health that sets the school apart.
Former deputy dean and epidemiology professor Michael Bracken MPH ’70 GRD ’74 said one of the unique features of the School of Public Health is its close collaboration with the Yale School of Medicine, which allows creative research and teaching opportunities. This collaboration needs to be further fostered and encouraged by the new dean, Bracken said.
Bracken added that the new dean must first and foremost support academic excellence in teaching and scholarship.
“This means that the dean, herself or himself, must have the highest academic credentials to earn the respect of the faculty,” Bracken said. “Some universities have recruited public health deans from non-academic professions, such as business, but this is to be deplored.”
He added that Yale has recruited some outstanding junior faculty to the School of Public Health over the last 20 years and that this must be maintained.
Mayur Desai GRD ’97, professor of epidemiology, also said he looks forward to a dean who will build on scholarly achievements of the school, adding that the new leader’s key priorities include increasing scholarships and fellowships for master’s degree students, growing the doctoral program and attracting new sources of funding to support faculty research.
“I am excited to see how the search evolves and am sure that the committee will identify the best candidate to build on the achievements made by Dean Cleary and lead us in the upcoming years,” said Albert Ko, chair of department of epidemiology of microbial diseases at YSPH.
Cleary began his tenure as dean in 2006.