Just months after becoming Yale’s inaugural dean of science in January, Jeffrey Brock ’92 will also assume the role of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences dean, University President Peter Salovey announced Wednesday.
Succeeding SEAS interim dean Mitchell Smooke, Brock will simultaneously serve as the dean of SEAS and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences dean of sciences. According to FAS Dean Tamar Gendler, Brock’s deanship was approved by the Yale Corporation this summer. She said that having a single leader serving in both positions would position the University to think strategically about connections across science and engineering “at this once-in-a-generation moment of investment.”
“I enter into this humbly and need to spend a lot of time speaking with the faculty and seeing what I can learn from them,” Brock said in an interview with the News.
According to Gendler, Brock’s administrative load –– which now includes two deanships –– will rely on assistance from faculty peers across the sciences. Unlike other divisional deans, Brock will not be involved in the “detailed preparation of and assembly of” tenure and appointments cases, Gendler added.
Brock’s appointment comes as the University looks to invest heavily into its STEM research and teaching, as recommended by the University Science Strategies Committee. In November, Salovey accepted the USSC’s recommendations, which identified five “top priority” areas for STEM investment, including neuroscience, quantum science and integrative data science.
Still, it remains unclear why Brock was hired for a 3-year term; deans at Yale’s twelve other professional schools are all appointed for 5-year terms, with performance reviews by Salovey between every term. Gendler did not directly respond to questions about why Brock’s term is shorter than that of his decanal counterparts but said “University administrative appointments take many different forms.”
Brock’s deanship concludes years of unsuccessful SEAS dean search, which began in 2017 when former SEAS dean Kyle Vanderlick announced her resignation from the post. While the first dean search committee led by Computer Science professor Holly Rushmeier made an offer to a candidate in February 2018, the candidate declined the offer “for a range of academic and personal reasons,” Gendler told the News in January. She added that the University suspended the first dean search soon after because “there was no one else in the pool at quite that level of excellence.”
Yale reopened the search for SEAS dean last November, and this time, hired a search firm, Witt/Kieffer, to lighten the burden on faculty members, Gendler explained. The University solicited applications from both external and internal candidates until Jan. 31. At the time, Gendler told the News that a “robust slate” of candidates have applied for the position and said the University is in “the enviable position of not needing to rush” because it “had an excellent acting dean in place.”
When asked why the University hired an internal candidate after going through two searches, Gendler said when Brock began his role as dean of science in January, the University “had not yet seen what an extraordinary leader he is.” Brock left his mathematics professorship at Brown University to join Yale’s faculty in July 2018.
“Over the last six months, he has proven himself to be exceptional in every way,” Gendler said. “We are thrilled that he has agreed to expand his leadership role at this crucial moment for science and engineering at Yale.”
The School of Engineering and Applied Science was founded in 1852.
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