‘Dedication to excellence’: FAS Dean Tamar Gendler named to second term

Tamar Gendler
Dean Tamar Gendler

Tamar Szabó Gendler has been reappointed as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) for a five-year term beginning July 1, President Peter Salovey announced.

Gendler is the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy and professor of psychology and cognitive science. A leading academic within and beyond her fields of specialization, Gendler has served on boards or steering committees for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine; the National Science Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Mellon Foundation; the Smithsonian Institution; the Kavli Foundation; the Tata Corporation; and numerous colleges and universities across the United States and internationally.

Gendler’s connection to Yale is longstanding. As an undergraduate (B.A. 1987), she completed a double major in humanities and mathematics-and-philosophy, summa cum laude, and was a nationally ranked member of the Yale Debate Association. After graduation, she spent several years with the RAND Corporation studying education policy before completing a Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard in 1996. She returned to Yale in 1996-1997 to teach in the Directed Studies program, then spent nearly a decade as a professor at Syracuse and Cornell Universities. She returned to Yale in 2006 as professor of philosophy and chair of the Cognitive Science Program. In 2009-2010, supported by the Mellon Foundation’s New Directions program, she spent a year as a full-time student at Yale doing coursework in psychology, neuroscience, and statistics. In 2010, she became the first woman chair in the philosophy department’s two-century history. In 2013, she was appointed deputy provost for humanities and initiatives, a position she held until she assumed her current role.

As the inaugural dean of the FAS, Dean Gendler envisioned and realized the office as we know it today,” said Salovey in his announcement. “She has worked tirelessly to articulate and execute an innovative and ambitious vision for the arts and sciences at Yale.”

During her initial term, Gendler conceptualized and implemented the overall administrative and budgetary configuration for the FAS, including the creation of the positions of divisional deans, and oversaw a program of strategic and transformative faculty hiring across the FAS departments and programs. Among her signature achievements are major investments in the Departments of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics and Data Science; the transition to a new tenure system in the FAS; and the conception and realization of the innovative Scholars as Leaders; Scholars as Learners (SAL2) faculty development and enrichment program.

It has been an honor to serve as the inaugural dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” said Gendler. “I work with an extraordinary team of faculty and staff, and our job is to ensure the ongoing excellence of one of the world’s great educational institutions.”

In addition to her work as a scholar and an administrator, Gendler is also a renowned teacher. She is the 2013 recipient of the Yale College Sidonie Miskimin Clauss ’75 Prize for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities, and her Open Yale course “Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature” has garnered hundreds of thousands of viewers.   

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