New Deans of Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

President Richard C. Levin today named Graduate School Dean Peter Salovey as dean of Yale College and Jon Butler, chair of the History Department, as dean of the Graduate School.

“It gives me very great pleasure to announce the appointment of two distinguished scholars, teachers, and community citizens as the deans of Yale College and the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,” Levin said. “They have a shared commitment to undergraduate and graduate education as complementary and necessary parts of a great modern university. I believe their understanding of one another, and of Yale, will lead to unprecedented collaboration between the College and the Graduate School in the years ahead.”

Salovey, who will succeed Dean Richard H. Brodhead, who was named president of Duke University, and Butler will begin five-year terms July 1.

“I am thrilled to contribute to the University in this new position and look forward to championing the value of a liberal arts education, which is so much a part of the very fabric of Yale College,” Salovey said.

“The Graduate School is one of Yale’s great glories, a site of extraordinary intellectual engagement among brilliant students and a gifted, engaged faculty. It will be an honor to help deepen their interchange at a time of vibrant transformation in every field of scholarly inquiry,” Butler said.

Peter Salovey, new dean of Yale College
Peter Salovey

Salovey, a New Jersey native and the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, joined the Yale faculty in 1986 after receiving his undergraduate degree from Stanford and his Ph.D. from Yale. He was appointed dean of the Graduate School in January 2003. He has authored more than 200 publications, focused primarily on human emotion and health psychology. His research has explored the psychological consequences of the arousal of emotion, especially the ways in which moods and emotions influence autobiographical memory and social interaction. He and his students, for example, delineated the role of envy and jealousy in regulating interpersonal behavior. With John D. Mayer he developed a broad framework called “Emotional Intelligence,” the theory that just as people have a wide range of intellectual abilities, they also have a wide range of measurable emotional skills that profoundly affect their thinking and action.

In his research as the deputy director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research for AIDS, Salovey investigates the effectiveness of health promotion messages in persuading people to change risky behaviors, and he has conducted similar work on health communications targeting cancer prevention behaviors. He has served on the National Science Foundation’s Social Psychology Advisory Panel and the National Institute of Mental Health Behavioral Science Working Group, and is presently a member of the NIMH National Advisory Mental Health Council. He was a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award and of the 2001 National Cancer Institute’s CIS Partner in Research Award.

Salovey has served as chair of the Psychology Department and director of undergraduate studies and graduate studies. In addition to his teaching and mentoring scores of graduate students, he has won both the William Clyde DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College and the Les Hixon ‘63 Prize for Teaching in the Social Sciences.

Jon Butler, new Dean of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Jon Butler

Butler, a historian of American religion, is the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History and professor of Religious Studies. A native of Minnesota, Butler received both his B.A. and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and joined the Yale faculty in 1985.

Among his books are “Awash in a Sea of Faith, Christianizing the American People,” which reinterpreted three hundred years of American religious and cultural development by challenging the notion that New England Puritanism constituted the touchstone of the American religious experience. It received the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Award for the best book in American history in 1990. “Becoming America: The Revolution before 1776,” published in 2001, stressed the American transformation of Britain’s colonies before the American Revolution and was a History Book Club Selection. Butler also co-edited a 17-volume Oxford University Press series for adolescent readers on the American religious experience. “Religion in American Life” (2003), which he wrote with Grant Wacker and Randall Balmer, illustrates religion’s centrality to the American experience.

From 1993-2000 Butler and his Yale colleague Harry S. Stout co-directed the Pew Program in Religion and American History, a national fellowship program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts that provided $4 million to over 250 assistant professors and graduate students throughout the United States, including Yale, to write first books and Ph.D. dissertations. Butler has served as director of graduate studies and chair in the American Studies Program, and has been divisional director in the Humanities. He has mentored scores of graduate students, taught a popular lecture course in modern American religion, and led a freshman seminar on “Revolutionary America.”

Levin, who thanked the members of the search committee for their work in identifying a list of strong candidates for the deanships, noted that Salovey and Butler both served on the Committee on Yale College Education, which performed the first comprehensive review of Yale College in 30 years and issued its recommendations in the spring of 2003.

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