Xander DeVries, Staff Photographer
Editor’s Note: The original headline of this article, published on Feb. 14, incorrectly implied that the University had in recent years continued to transfer funds beyond those included in the gift agreement. The article mischaracterized some sources of funding for the Institute’s conversion to a school, originally stating that the University had transferred more internal funds to the Institute than it had. The story also implied that administrators misled faculty about whether future fundraising would drain other resources, when in fact faculty were reassured that it would not, and those fundraising efforts did not draw from University funds in recent years. The article has been updated based on additional sourcing to include factual corrections and clarifications to misleading statements.
Yale is advancing a long-term plan to obtain funding for the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in advance of its conversion to a school in 2022. University President Peter Salovey has identified fundraising for the Jackson Institute as one of the top priorities of the coming capital campaign, set to publicly launch in October of 2021.
While the Jackson Institute’s endowment began as a $50 million donation back in 2009, a combination of endowment income and additional gifts — and $50 million of Yale’s own money — has bumped the Institute’s endowment to approximately $200 million. Before its opening in fall 2022, however, the University is seeking to raise an additional $210 million in funds for the new school, of which Yale has already raised $175 million through gift pledges and donations. The funds bring the Jackson Institute close to its endowment target of $400 million.
Vice President of Development Joan O’Neill said that the University should be able to reach the $210 million goal by the school’s planned opening in 2022. In a December interview with the News, she said that the University likely would not meet its “aspirational” fundraising goal of $210 million before the start of the capital campaign in October.
“You will talk to some professors or maybe some administrators who just really don’t like the Jackson School and think it is draining resources or is too privileged or it’s distracting faculty or it’s gaining a lot of publicity,” said Paul Kennedy, a history professor and member of Jackson’s transitional board. “There will be a bunch of professors who say: ‘I don’t want anything to do with the Jackson School, I’m going on with my own and I don’t want my department to be badly fiscally damaged by this.’”
For his part, Kennedy said he thinks Yale, with its vast resources and illustrious professors, is the right place to experiment with combining practical policy work and traditional academia.
According to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate meeting minutes from 2019, multiple professors at the time questioned whether converting the Jackson Institute to a school would drain resources from existing schools and departments. Yale has not transferred internal funds to the Jackson Institute in the past five years beyond what was promised in the 2009 gift agreement.
“During the period between 2009 and 2019, Yale fulfilled its commitments under the 2009 agreement that led to the founding of the Jackson Institute,” Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives Pericles Lewis told the News in an interview after this article was first published. “No further transfers beyond those in the 2009 agreement were made in relation to the planning for a transition to a school. All the money for the transition to a school is being raised from new gifts.”
Pharmaceutical giant John Jackson and his wife Susan Jackson donated $50 million in seed funding for the eponymous Institute. The gift agreement between the Jacksons, The Liana Foundation Inc. and former University President Richard Levin, made in April 2009, stated that Yale would match the sum with $24 million from its own funding along with an additional $2.4 million each year to establish the Institute. The $2.4 million would be made up of $1.2 million from the provost’s discretionary funds, which is money the provost controls and can allocate anywhere, and $1.2 million from the MacMillan Center, a Yale research center devoted to international and area studies. These funds had earlier supported the Council on International Studies, the forerunner of the Jackson Institute.
In addition, approximately $13 million came from two professorships that had been part of the MacMillan Center. About $11 million of this money came from the provost’s discretionary funds. At the time of the allocation, the provost was Benjamin Polak. The provost continued to allocate about $1.2 million each year to the Jackson Institute up to at least 2019, per financial records obtained by the News. In sum, these allocations bring University funding for the institute to $50 million.
Also in Jackson Institute’s current endowment is a $13 million fund — up from an original $10 million due to investment — that administrators committed to raising in 2009.
Administrators later said they would raise $200 million in addition to the Jacksons’ contribution, after a 2018 Provost’s Committee report determined that would meet the school’s needs. This includes an additional unspecified donation that the Jacksons gave to convert the Institute to a school, per the gift agreement obtained by the News.
In addition, the provost allocated $5 million to finance a professorship search, while more than $4 million came from two Pierre Keller Scholarship Funds, which provide funding for tuition for European students. Those funds will now provide funding for European Jackson students. An additional $1.95 million came from William Draper endowed funds in MacMillan. The endowment equivalent of these funds was valued at about $97 million as of 2019.
About $50 million came from the endowments and fundraising efforts to beef up existing programs transferred to the Jackson Institute, including the World Fellows Global Health programs and the Johnson Center for Study of Diplomacy.
Former senior trustee of the Yale Corporation Vernon Loucks ’57 voiced concerns that starting a new school may cost more than anticipated, and that Jackson might create a new set of bills that will ultimately come out of the University endowment.
“A new school is very demanding in terms of the people [needed] to staff it,” Loucks told the News. “When you pay them it takes a lot of money … After you commit to something, you can’t be chasing the funding, you have to have it upfront.”
Yale’s existing programs should be among the best in the world, he said, and the University should focus on filling its open professorships before starting a new initiative. Yale’s website lists more than 100 open positions for instructional faculty, ladder faculty and professorships within the medical schools and affiliated hospitals. Yale cannot be the best at everything, Loucks added, but other institutions cannot be either, so the University should not try to rival other schools in every discipline.
But dollars and cents are not some faculty members’ only concern. With the funds it has raised so far, Jackson has already begun hiring professors. Jackson’s model requires full professors jointly tenured with another Yale school or department, splitting professors’ time between Jackson and their existing department or school.
To establish a reputation within the University itself, Jackson has faculty “wear two hats,” Kennedy said. Some of Yale’s most renowned professors can teach at Jackson without leaving their home departments. Additionally, the joint tenure model can help attract rising stars in the field who want an appointment in Yale’s FAS departments.
Economics and Management Professor Judy Chevalier, who chaired the committee that recommended Jackson’s conversion to a school, told the News that the issue of Jackson pulling resources from departments is “of course an important one.”
However, she explained that there are tradeoffs. If a department only has one hiring slot available, utilizing a joint appointment with Jackson might enable it to hire two people instead of one.
The Provost’s Office granted Jackson an exception to the hiring freeze imposed when the pandemic hit. Now that the freeze is partially thawed — meaning Yale is hiring, though in fewer numbers than past years — Jackson has ramped up hiring. Still, at least one other department has not been given the slots they have asked for. History Professor Carlos Eire said that the department has not been granted about a quarter of the slots it requested.
In an email to the News, Levinsohn explained that he works with the Provost’s office to use Jackson’s slots to hire faculty. The FAS dean oversees the number of hiring slots individual departments receive and how those slots are used.
Scott Strobel assumed the role of provost on Jan. 1, 2020.
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