The Faculty of Arts and Sciences welcomed 13 new faculty members this semester, with the majority joining Yale’s science and engineering departments.
Two of the new faculty members arrived in humanities departments, one in the social sciences and 10 in science and engineering departments. Of the 13 faculty positions, seven are tenure-track assistant professors and six are tenured associate or full professorships, according to Dean of the FAS Tamar Gendler. Several of the new professors praised the current transition process to Yale and told the News they are looking forward to becoming more familiar with the University in the coming months.
“This welcoming environment is a big part of what attracted me to Yale from the start,” said Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology professor David Breslow, who began working at Yale this month. “I’m also quite excited to be joining the vibrant and interdisciplinary research community at Yale. Many long-standing leaders and rising stars in my field are at Yale, and it’s a thrill to now have them as colleagues. And last but certainly not least, I’m very much looking forward to being a part of Yale College. Teaching and interacting with Yale’s incredibly talented students is an exciting opportunity that will be a lot of fun.”
This semester’s group joins the 25 faculty members who came to Yale last fall.
According to Gendler, it is more common for science and engineering faculty to join the FAS in January because they need to relocate their lab work from their previous school, a process that can take up to a year to complete after the initial job offer is made in the early spring.
New professors in the sciences said it is a particularly exciting time to work at Yale, as the University is expanding and strengthening its departments in the sciences. Computer science professor Dragomir Radev said his course “Natural Language Processing” this spring attracted 155 shoppers, prompting him to move to a room three times bigger than the original.
Radev, who previously taught at Columbia University and the University of Michigan, added that so far he has been impressed with the quality of undergraduate students and the conveniently small size of the campus.
Electrical engineering professor Rajit Manohar said he is excited by Yale’s renewed interest in science and engineering and continued focus on academic excellence. He added that all of the staff and faculty members he has met so far have been extremely helpful.
“I think it’s terrific that having world-class scientific research and education is a top priority for Yale,” Breslow said. “I personally believe strongly in these goals, and it’s great to know the University is committed as well. I can see the work on the new Yale Science Building every day, which is a reminder of how exciting the future is for science at Yale.”
Incoming psychology professor Nicholas Turk-Browne, formerly of Princeton, said he is in the process of moving his laboratory and will not be teaching this semester. However, he said he is excited to participate in the expansion of neuroscience and research computing on campus and to plug into a “strong infrastructure for developmental research” in support of his latest studies on how the baby brain works.
Turk-Browne added that he was honored to join Yale’s Psychology Department and work with esteemed colleagues and graduate students in the field, and hopes to form strong connections with undergraduates through larger lecture classes and research opportunities in his lab. He said he is looking forward to exploring and contributing to his new community, something many of his colleagues echoed.
“Everyone I’ve met so far has been very welcoming,” Manohar said. “I think there are going to be plenty of opportunities to collaborate with outstanding colleagues across multiple disciplines in a way that would be challenging in a larger school. That’s something that I find very exciting.”
Professor of English and film John Peters, who previously taught at the University of Iowa for three decades, is currently teaching a freshman seminar and a graduate seminar both related to media. Peters called his ongoing transition a “bit overwhelming,” but said Yale is “warmly welcoming.”
“Perhaps the biggest attractor to Yale was the quality of the people I met, as both thinkers and human beings,” Peters said.
In the 2016–17 academic year, 38 new faculty members joined the FAS: 11 in the humanities, 10 in the social sciences and 17 in biological, physical and engineering sciences.