Leadership of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy will change hands when current program director Elizabeth Bradley departs Yale at the end of this academic year.
Bradley — the Brady-Johnson professor of grand strategy, head of Branford College, professor of public health and faculty director of the Global Health Leadership Institute — will assume the position of president of Vassar College, according to a Jan. 11 communitywide email from University President Peter Salovey. Since 2015, she has served as director of Grand Strategy, a yearlong interdisciplinary course involving classroom study and summer fieldwork for selected undergraduates. Information about the selection process for Bradley’s successor has not yet been released.
“The new director is chosen by President Salovey after consultation with the Brady-Johnson Provostial Advisory Committee and the [Grand Strategy] faculty,” said history professor and Grand Strategy co-founder John Gaddis. “As to how the program evolves under new leadership, I don’t know the answer, except that it is indeed likely to be evolutionary.”
According to Gaddis, the advisory committee is composed of the program’s three founders — himself, international-studies lecturer Charles Hill and history professor Paul Kennedy — as well as other members chosen by University Provost Ben Polak, who also heads the search process.
Bradley succeeded Gaddis as program director, beginning her term on the first day of 2016. She said her transition into the role was “wonderful,” adding that the program is “meaningful” and she expects it will continue to develop under the new leadership.
“I’ve been in my current role since 2015 and can say with confidence that everyone affiliated with the program is sad to see professor Bradley go,” said Associate Director Christopher Miller. “She has been a great leader for the program and a mentor to many students.”
The director’s job entails leading the two-semester course “Studies in Grand Strategy” and coordinating both the Yale faculty involved with the program and several visiting lecturers, Bradley said. She added that the program also organizes alumni events, guest speakers and conferences such as the African Forum for Strategic Leadership and U.S. Grand Strategy Since World War I.
“My favorite part has been getting to know the students and watching them develop their comfort with the classical texts and historical perspectives of the class,” Bradley said. “I enjoy seeing them use the learnings from this reading to ask deeper questions about current global challenges.”
Bradley highlighted students’ strategy briefs as a particularly memorable event during her tenure. Students prepared the briefs, an element of their final project in which they were required to create and present a tentative plan for the incoming presidential administration on a specific issue, under the assumption that the administration was helmed by Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, she recalled, but the final brief presentation occurred after Donald Trump’s election. Bradley said she was impressed with students’ “quick thinking and creativity” in adapting their presentations.
Bradley said she hopes the program continues to adapt to contemporary global challenges so that it remains a valuable learning experience for students in the future.