Yale Creates School of Engineering & Applied Science

T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Yale will create a School of Engineering & Applied Science, President Richard C. Levin announced today.

“Re-establishing the School of Engineering & Applied Science is the next step in a 14-year effort to strengthen engineering at Yale, “ said Levin, “and is part of our broader strategy of enhancing Yale’s excellence in science and technology. This will raise the visibility and preeminence of the field, at a time of great promise for engineering’s contribution to solving problems to improve health, prosperity and the environment.”

The School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS) was approved by the Yale Corporation and will be led by T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, who joined Yale on January 1, 2008.

“I am thrilled that Kyle will be leading the School of Engineering & Applied Science during this exciting and critical time” said Levin. “As I noted when she was appointed in January, she is a respected scholar, dynamic teacher and seasoned administrator known for her unflagging energy, breadth of vision, charisma and ability to lead while building consensus.”

“The establishment of SEAS will ensure strategic growth and enhanced research and educational opportunities in engineering, including the creation of bridges to other Schools at Yale,” Vanderlick said. “It will also cement the integral role of engineering in a complete liberal arts education.”

Yale’s long history of commitment to engineering began in the 1850s when the Yale Scientific School first began providing instruction in engineering to its undergraduates. In 1863, the School (called the Sheffield Scientific School) offered the first Ph.D. degree in engineering in the United States, and J. Willard Gibbs, the pre-eminent scientist of his time, was its first recipient. In 1932, Yale recognized the distinctive kind of training provided by engineering and created a School of Engineering. By the 1950’s it is estimated that 15% of the country’s engineers were graduates of the Yale School of Engineering. Restructuring of Engineering at Yale began in the 1960’s, when individual departments were unified in a single Department of Engineering and Applied Science within the Faculty of Arts of Sciences, and continued through 1980’s at which point individual engineering departments had been reformed.

Engineering at Yale has grown in both size and stature during Levin’s tenure as president. In 1994 he recruited D. Allan Bromley, then Scientific Advisor to President George H. W. Bush, as Dean to enhance the program — an effort expanded upon by Yale Engineering Dean Paul A. Fleury, who succeeded Bromley. In 2003, Yale launched the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and two years later, dedicated the more than 60,000-square-foot Daniel L. Malone Engineering Center. Yale plans to construct a new Engineering research building for interdisciplinary work, and will be increasing the number of faculty positions in the new School of Engineering & Applied Science from its current level of 59 to 70.

“Engineers create solutions to complex problems with roots in the technical domain as driven by societal needs and advancements,” Vanderlick said. “In general there is no single or right solution; parts of the problem are often ill-defined; and the scientific components of the problem cannot be separated from the societal components and the human context”.

“Moreover,” added Vanderlick, “complex problems are not solved in isolation. They require people from different disciplines and backgrounds, working side by side, and effectively communicating with one another. This is exactly the type of engineering education that Yale can, and must, provide in our role of producing future generations of leaders.”

While Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will continue to award undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, respectively, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will oversee faculty appointments and promotions, SEAS will have the opportunity to create joint appointments with other departments and Schools in the university, thereby strengthening relationships with the life sciences, forestry and environment studies, and other fields in the arts and sciences.

The creation of SEAS comes amidst a dramatic expansion of scientific and medical research at Yale, including new facilities and programs. Last year, Yale acquired the former Bayer Pharmaceuticals facilities, which is being transformed into the 136-acre “West Campus,” featuring more than 1 million square feet of laboratory and other space.



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Media Contact

Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157