Yale Daily News

For the first time in 18 months, the Yale Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — met in person. At the year’s first meeting, the Jackson Institute, the David Geffen School of Drama and the recently announced capital campaign were all discussed as central issues for the coming year. 

University President Peter Salovey told the News that the trustees discussed how to fully return to campus, the future of COVID-19 restrictions, how to better support the Yale School of Public Health, the University’s new facilities and the Jackson Institute as it transitions into the University’s newest professional school.

“It was the first meeting in person in more than a year and a half,” Salovey told the News. “So people were very excited to be able to come to campus… The corporation members had never seen many of the projects that we completed during COVID, they’d never seen Tsai CITY, they had never seen the Schwarzman Center, they had never seen the Humanities Quadrangle, so one of the really important pieces of the meeting was to actually let them walk these projects, because they represent a lot of expenditure for the University. And so they need to make sure that these spaces function the way that we want them to.”

One of the other main areas of focus of the meeting, according to Salovey, was the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the development of which is central to the University’s commitment to improving the quality of its sciences and technology education, he said.

Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences Jeff Brock wrote in an email to the News that the school has spent the last year formulating a long term strategic plan for the future of the SEAS, at the request of University Provost Scott Strobel. 

“I am deeply grateful to the SEAS Strategic Planning Committee for their tireless work on this process,” Brock wrote. “I now look forward to future engagement with all of the Yale Engineering & Applied Science community, including students, staff, faculty, administrators, alums, and supporters on converting that vision into a Strategic Plan that will guide our decision making and investment.”

The development of the SEAS overlaps with the central principles of the recently announced $7 billion capital campaign, which seeks to improve Yale’s stature in the sciences. The campaign’s five specific areas of focus within the sciences and engineering include data science and computer science, neuroscience, inflammation science, planetary solutions and quantum science and engineering, Salovey said in a previous conversation with the News. 

Along with shoring up science and engineering at Yale, the University will also focus on its global affairs institute. Professor Jim Levinsohn, the director of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, told the News about his hopes for the coming year and the future of the institute’s transition into a graduate school. In an email to the News, he wrote that this is the year that they hope to open as the Yale Jackson School. 

“That entails trying to hire faculty, raise resources, build the administrative structure that is required of a stand-alone School at Yale, and further refine the strategic vision for the new School,” he wrote. “While these are goals directed at positioning Jackson to hopefully open as a School, we are also continuing to try to provide a best-in-class and innovative curriculum for our students and support the research mission of the Institute.”

Salovey also spoke to the Corporation’s role in the University’s return to campus policy, saying that they discussed how to balance the need for a normal Yale educational experience while also ensuring that campus life is “safe and healthy.”

Salovey told the News that the trustees were focused on the year ahead, paying particular attention to the goals and strategy outlined in Salovey’s 2016 long term plan. One of the particular priorities for the administration this year is hiring a diverse set of faculty and staff. 

“There have been a lot of retirements during COVID,” he told the News. “Those [retirements] typically result in searches for new faculty members, and so as we regroup to search, how do we make sure that we’re using every opportunity to find a diverse pool of applicants for those positions. And I’ve given as much consideration to people who are bringing diversity to our faculty as possible.”

Salovey also said that the trustees hope to make progress this year on the development of a new building for the David Geffen School of Drama, bringing the program into one building. The School of Drama is currently spread across a number of buildings on campus.

The Yale Corporation is made up of 16 trustees and the University President.

Philip Mousavizadeh covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously covered the Jackson Institute. He is a sophomore in Trumbull College studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics