As he prepares to leave for Northwestern University at the end of the academic year, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway says his workdays this spring may not be uncommonly busy, but are definitely more fractured.
The dean, who will become Northwestern’s provost on July 1, is juggling multiple responsibilities as he ties up loose ends before the transition: compiling documents to help his successor understand his or her new role and preparing for his own departure, all while continuing in his duties as the dean of more than 5,400 undergraduates.
“My life now has moved into a different kind of space,” Holloway said. “I have to do coat-switching throughout the day — am I thinking for Yale right now or am I thinking for Northwestern?”
Holloway sat down with members of the Yale College Dean’s Office at a daylong retreat earlier this month to discuss the task of preparing the next dean, whom the University has yet to name. Along with understanding daily operations, Holloway said it is important that his successor is well-acquainted with other responsibilities like fundraising and serving on the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which may not fall neatly into the six or so divisions that the YCDO officially oversees: student engagement, student affairs, academic affairs, undergraduate education, international and professional experience, and undergraduate admissions.
“When everybody was writing down this list … of all the things we need to make sure my successor understands, I was getting a little stressed out,” Holloway said. “[There are] all these things I don’t think on a daily basis I’m responsible for because they’re just what I now know as part of the job, and it’s a lot, frankly. Totally interesting, but there’s a lot of details there.”
Holloway said he visits Northwestern every three weeks or so for in-person work. He has also been in touch with Northwestern’s current provost, Daniel Linzer ’76, to discuss Northwestern policies that will be relevant to his time as provost, he said. Although he currently has no decision-making authority as “provost-designate,” Holloway said he appreciates that Linzer was interested in hearing his ideas for his new role.
Linzer, who played no role in selecting Holloway, told the News that he is excited to hand over the position to Holloway.
“We’ve gotten to know each other over the last few months, so that we can start working together on the transition,” Linzer said. “I’ve found him to be just a wonderful partner to discuss issues, ideas, processes and people with — [He is] very thoughtful and engaged. [He has] a deep understanding of the mission of a research university, the challenges that it faces and the opportunities. He’s just a truly lovely person to be working with on this.”
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro told the News that the university is thrilled to have Holloway, a “talented scholar, teacher and administrator,” join as the school’s chief academic officer.
An advisory committee comprising Yale faculty members, staff members and one undergraduate is currently in the process of searching for Holloway’s successor. The first black man to hold the deanship and a former graduate student, professor and residential college head at Yale, Holloway announced his decision to leave Yale last November, three years into his five-year term as dean.