Yale News

As Pericles Lewis has ascended to the role of Dean of Yale College, the University is ushering in new administrators to fill the roles he left behind.

Lewis held a range of administrative positions across campus before he was named Dean in May. Now, Executive Director of the Yale Poorvu Center Jennifer Frederick will replace Lewis as vice provost for academic initiatives, while MacMillan Center director Steven Wilkinson will take on Lewis’s international responsibilities as vice provost for global strategy. 

“Jennifer Frederick and Steven Wilkinson are outstanding professionals and great additions to the provost’s office,” Lewis told the News. “Both of them will serve Yale well in their new roles.”

The vice provost for academic initiatives is responsible for overseeing the University Registrar’s Office, as well as chairing the University’s academic “pillar,” or committee, for IT by introducing new technology-related investments to support academics at the University. 

The role also entails supervising the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, which provides campus writing, mentoring and tutoring resources. Frederick previously reported to Lewis as the founding director of the Poorvu Center, and will continue to oversee the center in her new role. 

“I always find a new role exciting, especially when there’s lots to learn,” Frederick said. “It’s kind of like taking a new class that I know a little bit about and I’ve always been interested in, but now I get to really crack open the books and learn a lot.” 

Lewis emphasized in particular the strides that Frederick made in leading the Poorvu Center’s transition to online operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, lauding her as a “great university citizen.”

Frederick has also been involved with the Belonging at Yale initiative to enhance campus diversity and inclusion, as well as with facilitating workshops for faculty on campus to train them in mentoring students. 

“One of the things about being an administrator at Yale and the many excellent people in these roles is that when things need to be done, you just kind of raise your hand and take things on,” Frederick said. 

Wilkinson, meanwhile, will step in as vice provost for global strategy, and will be responsible for coordinating Yale’s overall international approach and meeting directly with the University’s international partners. 

“[Wilkinson] is a very distinguished scholar who has brought the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies together around an agenda of expanding Yale’s research and teaching on international matters,” Lewis told the News.

In his new role, Wilkinson will specifically provide oversight on the Office of International Affairs, the Office of International Students and Scholars and the President’s Council on International Activities, as well as other University international initiatives. 

In the role, he said, he hopes to bring broader University international efforts “as close as possible” to Yale’s students and faculty. 

“On a day-to-day basis that includes things like meeting with international partners when they come to campus, trying to remove obstacles for faculty and students who want to do international research, and working on things like improved policies to help Scholars at Risk,” Wilkinson said. “There’s also a bit of development work, as Yale tries to raise money to support our international research and teaching.”

A professor of India and South Asian Studies and International Affairs, Wilkinson additionally serves as the director of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. The Center, which Wilkinson described as a “focal point for international research and teaching at Yale,” encompasses seven area studies councils as well as over two dozen thematic programs which work with faculty and students across the University. 

Wilkinson will carry on in his role at the Center, which he said continues to bring about a hundred scholars to campus each year and also sends close to that number abroad. He will additionally serve as president of the University’s philanthropic Gruber Foundation, a role also previously held by Lewis. 

“I think in any new assignment the best way to start is by listening and learning,” Wilkinson told the News. “So what I’m most enjoying at the moment is trying to meet with as many people as I can across the university who carry our international research, to try to understand more about what they do, and what Yale can do better in supporting their efforts.”

Lewis’ term as Dean of Yale College began on July 1, 2022. 

Lucy Hodgman is the editor-in-chief and president of the News. She previously covered student life and the Yale College Council. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she is a junior in Grace Hopper majoring in English.
Evan Gorelick is Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered Woodbridge Hall, with a focus on the University's finances, budget and endowment. He also laid out the weekly print edition of the News as a Production and Design Editor. Originally from Woodbridge, Connecticut, he is a junior in Timothy Dwight College double-majoring in English and economics.