Yale News

The search for Yale College’s next dean is officially underway.

University President Peter Salovey announced the members of the nine-person search committee for Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun’s replacement in a Wednesday afternoon email to Yale College community members. The update comes two weeks after the Jan. 27 announcement that Chun — who served as Yale College dean for one five-year term — would step down at the end of the academic year to return to full-time teaching and research. The search committee includes two University administrators and one undergraduate student, as well as six Yale College faculty members, many of whom have experience in various administrative posts. Head of Trumbull College and psychology professor Margaret Clark will chair the committee, which will gather student and professor feedback and deliberate over the next semester. 

“I am grateful to Dean Chun for positioning Yale College for continued excellence in the years ahead,” Salovey wrote. “We will identify a successor who can build on all that he has contributed to the life and success of our undergraduate community.”

The President’s Office has not yet announced a date by which the next dean will be appointed. Dean’s search committees in the past have submitted lists of eight to fifteen candidates, which typically remain confidential. The past four deans have been drawn from Yale’s leadership ranks and were all department chairs or heads of colleges.

In all, the committee will have six faculty. The committee that selected Chun as dean in 2017 had 13 total members, while this new committee contains only 9.

“It’s an excellent committee, representing a wide range of perspectives and experiences,” Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences Tamar Gendler wrote to the News. 

The humanities have three representatives, all of whom currently hold various administrative positions: anthropology professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the African American Studies department Aimee Cox, art history lecturer and Jonathan Edwards Dean Christina Ferando, and Head of Pauli Murray College and Chinese literature professor Tina Lu. Also on the committee is Alan Gerber, professor of political science, public health and economics who previously served as divisional dean of the social sciences. Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology David Vasseur is the only professor from the science or engineering departments to sit on the committee. 

Two University leaders — Joseph Gordon, former dean of undergraduate education, and Susan Gibbons, chief of staff to President Salovey — will also sit on the committee. 

Maayan Schoen ’23 will serve as the student representative on the committee; past searches for Yale College deans have included either one or two student representatives. 

“I am excited and grateful to be named to the committee,” Schoen wrote to the News. “I truly feel so privileged and can’t wait to work with everyone.” 

Several committee members, including Lu and Vasseur, noted that the committee has not met yet and declined to comment for this story.

Salovey wrote in his Feb. 9 announcement that members of the search advisory committee will consult with the Yale College community and create a list of recommendations for people who will meet the “essential qualities” that they define the next dean should have. He also wrote that the committee is looking for recommendations from community members on ideas for the future of Yale College and the next dean, and students can submit recommendations here

The makeup of this committee mirrors that of the 2017 search committee, which was led by Enrique De La Cruz, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. It included the heads of Grace Hopper and Morse Colleges, Julia Adams and Catherine Panter-Brick, along with the dean of Silliman College, Jessie Hill. It also included seven faculty members across multiple departments, one undergraduate student and the University chaplain and director of administrative affairs for the University president. 

The search committee this time around similarly includes two heads of colleges, faculty members from various departments and an undergraduate student. 

Chun led the 2014 search committee that chose his predecessor, Jonathan Holloway as Yale College Dean. Chun served as head of Berkeley College from 2007 to 2016 and was the first Asian American dean of Yale College.

Sarah Cook covers President Salovey's Cabinet and works on the social media team. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she is a first year in Grace Hopper majoring in Neuroscience.
Isaac Yu writes about Yale's faculty and academics. He lays out the front page of the print edition, edits the News' Instagram and previously covered transportation and urban planning in New Haven. Hailing from Garland, Texas, he is a Berkeley College sophomore majoring in American Studies.