The Yale College Dean’s Office is leading a search for a new assistant dean of science and QR to replace Assistant Dean Carl Hashimoto GRD ’86, who will leave his position at the end of February.
Pamela Schirmeister ’80 GRD ’88, senior associate dean and dean of undergraduate education, is convening the search committee, which will consist of one science faculty member, one quantitative reasoning faculty member, two faculty from the Yale College Dean’s Office and two undergraduates. The committee is expected to select a candidate within several weeks, with Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway making the final decision.
“I would like somebody who can look around and say, ‘We need to do this’ or who is proactive in identifying initiatives that will improve undergraduate STEM education,” Schirmeister said.
The most important quality in fulfilling this role is finding somebody who is interested in science and STEM, as well as in curriculum and teaching across these various disciplines, she added.
The dean will be responsible for staffing the Science and QR Councils, which, among other tasks, determine which courses receive Sc and QR designations. However, Schirmeister noted that it is difficult to find someone with enough background to be able to work with both of these councils given that people often do not have equal expertise across the science and QR curricula.
Along with course designations, the dean also needs to be prepared to work with students, Schirmeister said.
“The position has a heavy student research component, so this dean needs to able to advise students on how they look for a summer research opportunity and needs to have networks in the science departments to help link students with people,” she said.
Although he is not involved in the selection of the next dean, Hashimoto echoed this sentiment, adding that the ideal candidate is a scientist who has done research and has teaching experience, including knowledge of current pedagogy in science education.
The new dean will be heavily involved with the Science, Technology and Research Scholars program, which promotes diversity in STEM fields by providing research opportunities and workshops for women, students from underrepresented ethnic groups and economically underprivileged students.
The science dean also serves as spokesperson for undergraduate STEM education and experiences at Yale, according to Hashimoto. The dean will be called upon to speak on these topics to various audiences, including at Bulldog Days and the pre-orientation program Cultural Connections.
“I hope the new dean will be able to build upon the successful work that Dean Hashimoto has produced: strong advising, a thorough understanding of the research opportunities available through our fellowship system and a discerning eye for good proposals,” Holloway said.”
Schirmeister said that because the dean works so closely with students, student representation in the search committee is crucial. She cited the push in STEM to improve STEM teaching, something she said likely came from the students.
Yale College Council Vice President Christopher Bowman ’18 said that the new assistant dean will be essential to improving the STEM student experience within Yale College, especially because STEM students generally cite less satisfaction with their majors than their humanities and social science counterparts.
Schirmeister noted that the search process will include a primary round of application reading followed by initial interviews, in which the student representatives will be heavily involved. Subsequently, the committee will invite two or three candidates to campus for extensive interviews with Holloway, department deans and the heads of the QR and Science Councils.