Yasmine Halmane, Contributing Photographer

During the most recent meeting of the Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, deans updated the trustees on the progress around the science priorities and policy-relevant social sciences.

The Feb. 20 meeting centered on the different academic strategies in play in various parts of the University and how Yale’s schools work together, University President Peter Salovey said. Deans Nancy Brown, Indy Burke and Tamar Gendler — who head up the Yale School of Medicine, the Yale School of the Environment and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, respectively — presented on the progress and investments made towards the University’s five science priorities. Deans of the School of Management and the Law School, Kerwin Charles and Heather Gerken, updated the leaders on current events-related policy initiatives at their schools.

“These are areas that are going to affect the evolution of the world in the 21st century,” senior trustee Catharine Bond Hill GRD ’85 said in an interview with the News. “Yale is going to play a role in helping the world address the incredibly complicated issues that we’re going to be facing.”

Regarding the sciences, Brown spoke about neuroscience and inflammation, Burke covered planetary solutions and Gendler shared updates on quantum science and data science. In 2018, the University Science Strategy Committee had identified the five areas as priorities for investment. Bond Hill said that this means the trustees want to ensure the faculty in these areas are supported and that there is the necessary physical infrastructure to carry out cutting-edge research.

At every meeting, the trustees hear an update on the science strategy, Bond Hill said. But these recent sessions went more in depth to help the trustees understand the University’s academic strategy. Additionally, they allowed them to meet the deans, some of whom the trustees had not yet met.

Gendler said that neuroscience is a “key area of investment for the FAS.” With the recent announcement of the Wu Tsai Institute for Human Cognition, the building will house psychology professors, medical professors and computer and data science experts. Salovey said that the University can also hire faculty in the sciences with joint appointments across schools.

For the presentation centered on data-driven social science that is relevant to public policy, Charles and Gerken presented primarily about subsets of their respective schools.

Charles spoke about the Broad Center, which conducts research on and trains leaders for the public education sector. The center does scholarly work to make policy recommendations about K-12 education, and trains people who want to be principals or superintendents.

Gerken updated the trustees on clinics at the Law School, particularly the Justice Collaboratory. There, law professors work with FAS social scientists to improve the criminal justice system, addressing issues including policing, criminal court systems or incarceration and its alternatives.

Salovey emphasized that the University is still academically oriented, which Bond Hill seconded, but the legal scholars do practical work out of clinics.

“Sometimes you can have scholars who are not deeply committed to practice,” Bond Hill said. “The clinics show that both are going on at the Yale Law School.”

Subsequent meetings will focus on engineering and on the arts and humanities, Bond Hill said.

The trustees meet five times each year.

Rose Horowitch | rose.horowitch@yale.edu