Presidential update on Yale’s academic priorities

Increased access, new facilities, and expanded multidisciplinary studies are among the academic priorities cited by President Salovey in a message on May 9.

Increased access to and affordability of a Yale education, construction of new landmark facilities for science and the humanities, and expanded opportunities for multidisciplinary teaching and scholarship are among the initiatives President Peter Salovey cited in his update on the university’s academic priorities on May 9.

In a letter to the Yale community, Salovey said that in investing in faculty excellence and recommitting to the university’s educational programming, “[our] goal is to make Yale stronger and build on existing strengths.

Each element of our strategy also responds directly to a specific domestic or global challenge; it is our responsibility and the heart of our mission to improve the world today and for future generations.” (Read the complete update here.)

The president outlined the following goals and achievements.

Amplifying academic excellence, diversity, and multidisciplinarity

A rigorous Yale College curriculum

  • New majors were created in multidisciplinary neuroscience, statistics and data science, urban studies, and computer science and economics.
  • Less-commonly-taught languages courses, including ones on indigenous languages, were offered for the first time.
  • The YData course was offered for first time.
  • The Program on Ethnicity, Race, and Migration was reconfigured.

Increasing affordability and access to Yale College

  • The first-year class was the most socioeconomically diverse in Yale history.
  • Yale spent more than $160 million this year in undergraduate financial aid.
  • The First-Year Scholars at Yale and Online Experiences for Yale programs were expanded.

Supporting graduate students across all schools of Yale

  • The Emerging Scholars Initiative supported 45 incoming Ph.D. students and 30 who are currently matriculated, plus 16 post-baccalaureate research education fellowships for recent graduates.
  • Students in science and engineering received expanded University Fellowship support for 12 months and $4,000 above annual stipend.
  • Several schools created initiatives to reduce graduate student debt.

Embracing emerging opportunities in teaching and learning

  • The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning was formally dedicated and now provides resources for all the schools across campus.
  • The graduate schools and Faculty of Arts and Sciences recruited “exceptional faculty members” to come to Yale.

A new innovation corridor

Students table at a Tsai CITY event on campus.
Students table at a Tsai CITY event on campus.

Saying that “[thinking] innovatively is an important component of educational excellence for students of all levels — and not only in the sciences,” Salovey wrote about Yale’s new innovation corridor, which includes the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, the Greenberg Engineering Teaching Concourse, and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY).

Although it is the newest program and awaiting construction of its own facility, Tsai CITY has already begun programming, said Salovey, adding: “Although it will certainly help students create new ventures and become entrepreneurs, it has a broader mandate. Tsai CITY provides students with the knowledge and experience to create and change public policy in their communities, to bring creativity and multidisciplinary approaches to their future careers, and to serve others.”

New landmark facilities for the sciences and humanities

When you walk around campus, you will see physical changes that reflect bold investments in the sciences and humanities,” wrote Salovey, pointing to three current projects:

  • The new science building on Prospect Street, a seven-story, state-of-the-art structure that will host courses in diverse disciplines. “Students will be taking classes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences next to labs housing pioneering research,” said Salovey.
  • Transformation of 320 York St. as hub for humanities, a project that is “well underway,” noted Salovey. “It was planned with student and faculty input and will be home to many humanities departments and have space for graduate students to work and to meet with undergraduates during their teaching terms. It will also include a 90-seat state-of-the-art film screening room that will help students to connect to other people and cultures through film.
  • The leasing of biotech space at 100 College St., “an ideal location that bridges the university’s medical and central campuses,” said Salovey, adding, “This action is part of our strategy in the sciences. In this new space, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students will have opportunities to conduct research with faculty leaders at the intersection of multiple disciplines.”
The new science building under construction on Prospect Street.
The new science building under construction on Prospect Street.

Upcoming opportunities for multidisciplinary scholarship and research

The newly created Tobin Center for Economic Policy will “teach students to think critically and to apply rigorous analysis to domestic policy issues,” said the president. The center has begun programming while it awaits construction of its headquarters.

In addition, the transformation of the Jackson Institute into the Jackson School of Global Affairs will “strengthen the university’s role in educating global citizens and leaders,” said Salovey. “Students will have new opportunities to work with distinguished faculty members and leading practitioners from government, military, industry, and other sectors.”

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