We're going to need a minute.

Last week was great.

We went from 0 to 4,000 visitors in a couple days flat, we contributed to 800 nomination emails heading into the Senior Fellow's inbox, and we got more than a few emails ourselves. That was a lot to deal with - even before the Corporation announced their choices for the search committee on Thursday.

We are committed to keeping the conversation going, but we need some time to sort out our thoughts. So please, stay tuned - and sign up for email updates using the form to the left. We'll be in touch soon.

Here's our original letter:

Choosing a president

Dear Yale alumnae and alumni,

As many of you know, President Levin has resigned.

In an email late Friday afternoon, the Corporation announced the creation of a search committee to find his replacement. The committee thus far includes only one current practitioner of the liberal arts, none in the humanities - and 5 corporate executives. We value the perspectives of alumni who have achieved prominence in the corporate world. But we believe that other voices need representation too.

Plus, we are troubled that although we have been invited to nominate four faculty members to join this committee, those nominations are open only until Tuesday 9/4 (TODAY) at noon. That's less than one business day of public input.

UPDATE (NOON 9/4): We've had over 1750 1850 3000 visitors to the site. We're floored and delighted. Our recommendation: keep the emails going - deadline or no, the Corporation can't ignore this outpouring of community sentiment.

But if one business day is what we have, we want to use it.

Here's our goal for the next 12 hours: Mobilize alumni to advocate for accomplished, thoughtful professors who understand Yale and share our values. Some of those values are:

  • A strong allegiance to the liberal arts and sciences - at the core of Yale's mission for over 300 years
  • A commitment to students, and to learning as a shared experience between student and faculty
  • Unfettered freedom of speech and unrestricted research
  • An insistence on academic leadership across all fields of study.
  • A determination to manifest and defend these values in the public sphere

Act now.

  • Think about which tenured faculty members you'd like to see choosing the next President of Yale. (Tenure is a requirement to serve on the Search Committee.)
  • If you are looking for suggestions, we've listed a few professors whom we think would be fantastic choices below - and we approached them to see if they'd be OK with us nominating them. (They are.)
  • Write a letter now to Edward Bass, Yale Corporation Senior Fellow, at senior.fellow@yale.edu. Tell him whom you want on the search committee - and why.
  • Use the sample letter template below if you're short on time.
  • Share this page with your fellow alumnae and alumni - let them know how they can have their voices heard.

So who might be good at this?

We came up with a list of four professors we thought would be particularly valuable members of the selection committee - Meg Urry, Stephen Pitti, George Chauncey, and Joseph Roach. Their voices would add crucial diversity to the team.

These certainly aren't the only great professors out there, but we believe that they would bring thoughtfulness and passion to the project of selecting the next President of the University. They've also indicated - after we sought them out - that they'd be interested in serving.

We do want to emphasize that they are not organizers of this site, nor have they influenced its content at all. We just asked them if they'd be comfortable being nominated.

Note: we are short on time, so we have cribbed biographies of each of these professors from a few sources; links are below.

Meg Urry

Israel Munson Professor Physics & Astronomy
Director, Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics
Chair, Physics Department

More »

George Chauncey '77 '89 PHD

Professor of History
American Studies Department Chair
Co-Director, Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities

More »

Stephen Pitti '91

Professor of History and American Studies
Director of the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program
Master, Ezra Stiles College

More »

Joseph Roach

Sterling Professor of Theater and English
Director, Theater Studies Program

More »

Someone else!

We think the professors listed here would be powerful advocates on the search committee. But this process will benefit from a variety of ideas - so send your suggestions for others who'd be great to Senior Fellow Bass and to us at yale.president@progresslab.org. We'll compile some of the suggesitons we receive on the site as they come in.

Please note that - for better or for worse - the search committee rules require that members be tenured professors.

See the community suggestions »

We put together a sample email to get you on your way.

Send to Edward Bass, Yale Corporation Senior Fellow, at senior.fellow@yale.edu.

To the Senior Fellow:

Thank you for inviting input from the Yale community as you select the committee that will search for the next University President. I'm glad to participate in this important process.

Yale has grown in many ways over 300 years. But at its core remains undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences. The university's mission "to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge" is performed by professors and students together: the germ of a critical essay tested out in seminar, the undergraduate assistant learning the ropes in a lab, the foundations of a field reworked for a new crop of freshmen. It is crucial that the next president protect and strengthen the university's heart, in addition to managing its many limbs (international programs, biomedical research laboratories, specialized institutes).

The eight trustee members of the search committee have expertise mainly in the corporate and scientific realms - so the four faculty members must speak forcefully for the liberal arts and sciences, academic freedom and student intellectual life.

I would like to nominate the following four professors for their scholarship, their administrative experience, and their understanding of the impact of campus culture on academic work:

Stephen Pitti '91
Professor of History and American Studies, Director of the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program, Master, Ezra Stiles College
Meg Urry
Israel Munson Professor Physics & Astronomy, Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chair, Physics Department
George Chauncey '77 '89 PHD
Professor of History, American Studies Department Chair, Co-Director, Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities
Joseph Roach
Sterling Professor of Theater and English, Director of the Theater Studies Program

Thank you for considering these suggestions,


We thought there might be some more questions.

To whom am I speaking?

Joshua Batson (DC '08), Donna Horning (DC '13), Dara Lind (BR '09), Kate Selker (DC '11) and Paul Selker (DC '08) - among others!

Who else will be on this search committee?

A number of people have already been appointed by the corporation:

Indra K. Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.
Charles W. Goodyear, former CEO BHP Billiton, president Goodyear Capital Corporation.
Douglas A. Warner III, former chairman of the board JP Morgan Chase
Donna L. Dubinsky, former CEO at Palm, co-founder Handspring, founder Numenta, Inc.
E. John Rice, Jr., CEO, Management Leadership for Tomorrow
Francisco G. Cigarroa, medical doctor and Chancellor of the University of Texas system
Peter B. Dervan, Professor of Chemistry, Caltech
Paul L. Joskow, former chair of economics, MIT, President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Additionally, there will be liaisons to faculty and students and alumni seeking input later. All recommendations for faculty members of the committees will go to deans, who are asked to annotate them, and then forward them to the Corporation.

I have an idea/question/comment/other. How can I contact you?

Great! Email yale.president@progresslab.org

More coming soon...once folks ask some more questions.