The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is looking to fill two leadership roles in the sciences.
On Monday, a seven-person faculty advisory committee was charged with the mission of selecting the first inaugural FAS dean of science, who will oversee the nine nonengineering science departments that fall within the FAS. A search will also be held to identify a new dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science after current dean T. Kyle Vanderlick leaves the role in December 2017.
Both searches will be led by Dean of the FAS Tamar Gendler, and are part of a larger effort to fill science leadership roles that was announced by University President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak on Jan. 25.
“Excellence, growth and innovation in the sciences, including medicine, technology, engineering and mathematics, are crucial to Yale’s continued preeminence among the world’s great research universities,” Salovey and Polak’s message reads. “The STEM disciplines are fundamental to our mission of improving the world and educating leaders for an increasingly global society.”
The same 2014 report that recommended creating the position of FAS dean also recommended creating divisional deans for the humanities, social sciences and sciences, Gendler said. This is the standard structure in place at Yale’s peer institutions, but Yale lacked it because financial oversight of the FAS previously sat directly with the provost, according to Gendler. She added that this new structure, three years in the making, gives divisional deans budgetary and academic oversight for their respective departments.
In a Jan. 25 FAS-wide email, Gendler explained that the 14 FAS science departments are divided into subgroups encompassing biological sciences, physical sciences and engineering and applied sciences. For administrative purposes, the five engineering and applied science departments are grouped together and overseen by the dean of SEAS, while the nine biological and physical sciences are overseen by the newly-created position of the FAS dean of science, she said.
The FAS dean of science will oversee issues pertinent to science faculty ranging from hiring to retention and promotion, manage the day-to-day and long-term planning of the biological and physical science departments, chair the area advisory committee and lead the tenure and appointments committee along with the dean of the FAS, Gendler said. The dean of the SEAS will have the same responsibilities for departments in engineering and applied science and will coordinate efforts between these and the other FAS science departments. The dean of the SEAS will also oversee SEAS-based programs such as the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, and will represent the University in external activities associated with engineering, such as American Society for Engineering Education meetings.
“Both the FAS dean of science and the dean of SEAS will sit on the major FAS committees, including FAS Steering — which oversees all matters of FAS policy — and the Faculty Resource Committee — which oversees the allocation of all FAS faculty searches,” Gendler wrote. “Together with the FAS deans of humanities and social science, they will meet regularly with the dean of the FAS to coordinate FAS-wide goals, strategies, policies and practices.”
Gendler told the News that the search for the new FAS dean of science takes priority, since the position will take effect this July while the new dean of SEAS will not assume the role until either January or July of 2018, after current Dean Vanderlick returns to teaching. Gendler said she has assembled a faculty advisory committee to identify a new FAS dean of science from within the University. In her email, she said she hopes to appoint a search committee for the dean of SEAS position, which will look internally as well as externally, next month.
The search committee for the FAS dean of science is comprised of faculty and chairs from departments ranging from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to Applied Physics to History.
“The committee is constituted by leaders from across the FAS science community,” Gendler said. “Many members of the committee are chairs of departments, and the committee has been carefully structured to represent a range of scientific methodologies and scientific areas.” The SEAS only contains about 50 faculty members, while the physical and biological sciences have about 150 professors and offer a bigger pool for an internal search, Gendler told the News. She added that it is customary in engineering to do a national search because engineering departments, in addition to their relationship to Yale, have ties to professional organizations and handle external matters such as national accreditation. Gendler added that the workload of the incoming dean of SEAS is comparable to that of full-time administrative roles wherein faculty members typically teach at most one course a year. Anyone hired from beyond the University to take the position would be someone whose research and teaching is at the caliber of a recruited tenured faculty member, Gendler said.
“I am excited by the president’s and provost’s strong commitment to a significant, campuswide investment in science, and look forward to working with all of you to identify appropriate candidates for these two important roles,” Gendler wrote to the FAS.
Correction, Jan. 31: An earlier version of this story miswrote FAS instead of SEAS when referring to the dean that will coordinate efforts between engineering and applied sciences and the other FAS science departments.