2017 FAS Senate Voter’s Guide

Sybil Alexandrov
Senior Lector II, Spanish and Portuguese

I have taught Spanish language at Yale for twenty years and have been active in pedagogic and other academic initiatives involving language faculty in four additional departments.  As a result, I have a good sense of the issues that concern non-ladder faculty in the FAS and am eager to become involved in addressing these in the context of the Faculty Senate’s broader mission.  It is only thanks to the Faculty Senate that non-ladder faculty now have a voice at the FAS level in matters that affect their teaching, status, and welfare.  Non-ladder faculty play an essential and insufficiently recognized role in the education of Yale undergraduates.  Because of how often language classes meet and their small size, undergraduates often have closer contacts with non-ladder faculty than they do with instructors in larger classes.  Like all faculty at Yale, my language colleagues and I strive for excellence in our teaching.  But the conditions of our employment and our status in the FAS do not sufficiently reflect the contribution we make to the faculty’s collective educational mission. With the addition of two new residential colleges, the issues affecting language faculty will become more acute, as they will for all other ranks.  If elected, I will focus on issues that seriously impact our students and on realistic ways to improve the status and working conditions for non-ladder faculty.

Marijeta Bozovic
Assistant Professor
Slavic Languages and Literature

As a scholar of interactions between politics and contemporary culture, I have an intellectual and ethical commitment to thinking politically on local and global levels. Since coming to Yale, I have served as both DUS and DGS of my department; I have become affiliated with Film and Media Studies and WGSS; and I have participated in numerous working groups, committees, and other forums for collaboration with faculty from other disciplines. I see the FASS as a countercurrent, and one I believe I can contribute to in a number of ways. My main concerns include campus climate and labor issues, broadly understood, and the divisiveness of field and division cultures. I am committed to serving as an advocate for junior faculty, non-ladder faculty, and smaller departments and programs; for quality of life for Yale families; and for progressive relations with New Haven communities.

Richard Carson
Biomedical Engineering and Radiology and 
Biomedical Engineering

The FAS Senate can play a key role at Yale in fostering more effective communications between administration and faculty, and providing a path for all our faculty to have a voice in how we make Yale a better and more vibrant academic environment. I am Professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME), and working in a STEM department, we struggle to find the right balance between research and teaching; this issue is of particular importance for our junior faculty. For the past 8 years, I have served as DGS for BME, and in that role, see many challenges in helping all our faculty to build a positive environment for graduate student growth and ultimate career success. In addition to my BME appointment, I am Professor in Radiology, and lead a large research lab in the Medical School. In that role, I have concerns for many of our multidisciplinary faculty, who may not be well served by our conventional unidisciplinary department structure; this is also a major consideration for new faculty members, many of whom have an academic focus that intrinsically crosses traditional boundaries. If elected, I will do my best to represent all my colleagues, raising their concerns and promoting their interests.

Alexandre Debs
Associate Professor of Political Science, Research Fellow at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and co-Director of the Leitner Program of International and Comparative Political Economy
(Tenured with effect July 1, 2017)

I am honored to stand for election for the FAS Faculty Senate. If elected, I am particularly interested in working on two sets of issues. The first concerns the mentoring and promotion of junior faculty members. It is important to ensure that junior faculty members have the support that they need to grow as scholars and to share insights across the FAS about best practices in support and mentoring. The second concerns the elaboration of a strategic vision on faculty excellence. It is important for the faculty to be involved in setting medium and long-term goals to enhance Yale’s excellence, to periodically assess the progress that is being made, and to discuss the optimal way to achieve these goals.

Maria E. Doerfler, J.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

As a recent addition to the FAS faculty, I have never known a Yale without a faculty senate – indeed, its existence, and all for which it stands, was among the things that most drew me to this university.  

The opportunities the faculty senate represents — for transparency both in our conversation with one another and in our engagement with the administration, for a forum in which to work out and apply principles of self-governance — are critical to the intellectual and pedagogical thriving of our community. This is particularly true for those of us who are, like me, untenured, and as such face unique challenges alongside the remarkable boons with which we have been presented. As a member of the faculty senate, I aspire to being a voice for my untenured and non-ladder colleagues, and to help craft the FAS into a place that values our contribution, encourages our growth, and celebrates our scholarly and pedagogical labors. 

Part of this process will be necessarily continued, eagle-eyed attention to matters of diversity among Yale’s faculty, not only in the hiring and recruiting process, but in creating an environment in which faculty, staff, and students who do not fit the traditional academic mold can thrive. As an immigrant, and the first person in my family to graduate from high school, I both know the thrill of being embraced as a member of this university, and share at least in part in the challenges that being “other” poses for many of us. I warmly welcome conversation on this or indeed any topic, and look forward to learning from you how to better serve the needs of this remarkable faculty. 

Emily Erikson
Associate Professor

I am honored to be nominated to the FAS Senate, particularly because of the important role the Senate plays in promoting civic discourse on campus, increasing dialogue and cooperation across disciplinary boundaries, and amplifying the voice of our faculty in the collaborative process of shaping the trajectory of the University over the short and long term. As a member of the Senate, my first priority would be representing my colleagues and working to create and maintain a supportive environment for all. Second, I want to help ensure that the faculty – a unique and largely unparalleled intellectual resource – have input into the process whereby the university adapts to changing circumstance and formulates long-term goals and strategies. Third, I would be particularly interested in ways in which the university might increase its agility in terms of hiring and retention so as to preserve and increase its competitive advantage relative to rival institutions. 

John Geanakoplos
James Tobin Professor of Economics

I would like to serve another term on the FAS Senate to continue our work on faculty excellence. Following up on President Salovey’s declaration to make faculty excellence his top priority, the Administration, in consultation with the FAS Senate, should formulate a strategic plan to enhance Yale’s distinction. Each year the President or Provost should deliver a progress report to the Senate, based on clearly articulated metrics. As chair of the Committee on the Economic Status of Faculty (CESOF) and as a member of the Faculty Review Committee, I have seen that the University functions best when crucial decisions are made by the Administration in partnership with the Faculty. Many years ago CESOF asked for Yale to grant maternity leave, and by the next fall it had. Later CESOF suggested free meals in the colleges for faculty, and by the next fall we had them.  In 1991, without wide consultation with the faculty, then President Benno Schmidt announced that he intended to shrink the faculty by 15% in order to cut costs. The Faculty Review Committee showed that erroneous economic reasoning had led him to exaggerate the budget crisis. Within three months Yale had a new President.

Brad Inwood
Professor of Philosophy and Classics

I came to Yale in 2015 from the University of Toronto, where I had taught since 1982. I was pleased to learn that the FASS was coming into existence just as I arrived, since my previous experience in university governance had convinced me that an elected, representative faculty body is an essential feature of modern university life. I am keenly aware of Yale’s uniqueness as an institution and have really enjoyed the intellectual environment here. In my first two years, I have begun to participate in governance, learning a great deal from service on the 320 York planning committee, meetings of the JBPO, and most recently from initial meetings of the Committee on the Economic Status of Faculty. I realize that there is still a lot to learn about the customs and traditions of Yale. But this is also a time of change for the university; I look forward to being part of that and to contributing anything from my previous experience that might be useful. At Toronto, I served on the Academic Board of Governing Council for two terms, on the Council of the Faculty Association, as chair of the Classics department and acting chair of the Philosophy department. I was involved in governance of the graduate school and founded (and directed) the Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. My experience as vice-chair of the University Tenure Appeals Committee, on the university-wide Planning and Budget committee and on a number of ad hoc policy committees exposed me to the hard realities and high ideals of a first-rate university. My aim in coming to Yale was to concentrate on my teaching and research, but I believe firmly that all senior faculty members have an obligation to make a serious contribution to university service as well. I welcome the opportunity to do so as a member of the FAS Senate. 

Jennifer Klein
Department of History

As the imperatives of corporate management consulting intensify, the faculty has an essential role to play in defending universities as social communities, places of democratic culture and practice and creative problem solving, and institutions of intersecting labors.

I am a history professor who has come up through the ranks at Yale, and I have served as DUS of History and Director of our extensive, successful Senior Essay Program. I deeply believe in the mandate to allow faculty to have an independent space for deliberation across fields on university priorities and to continue the vital work the FASS has done in producing reports and public statements on major issues that faculty long should have been consulted on. I’m committed to enabling FASS to follow through on its incisive report on the conditions of non-ladder faculty and press the administration to address the inequities that have persisted.

Among my priorities are ensuring that the libraries are protected and augmented, understood as more than just a compendium of on-line resources. We must maintain our book collections and not fall further behind in essential fields. Special collections should be kept intact and provided with sufficient curatorial staff; managerial decisions about these should be more transparent to faculty. The Humanities has long been one of the great strengths of Yale and I would work to make sure we remain central to the university’s sense of purpose, education of undergraduates, training of top scholars, and support for innovative research. Another is being vigilant on issues of racial and gender equality. Moreover, all labor done at the university should be recognized as valuable and as contributing to the mission and status of the university. This also offers us a route to promote mutually beneficial relations with the city of new Haven.

We face a portentous political climate that threatens refugees, foreign scholars and students, and immigrants who are part of our communities—both within and around Yale—and public agencies that are vital to our research and work, e.g. the NEH, NEA, EPA, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and NIH. How will we as faculty respond to these challenges and compel the administration to actively protect our people and public resources? 

Maureen Long
Associate Professor 
Geology & Geophysics
(Professor with tenure with effect July 1, 2017)

I am delighted to be nominated to run in the FAS Senate election. I am an associate professor of geology and geophysics, and started at Yale as an assistant professor in 2009. Like many of my faculty colleagues, I’ve been energized by the activities of the Senate during its first two years and its clear articulation of faculty priorities on, for example, parental leave policies and the status of non-ladder faculty. If elected, I would look forward to working with the Senate and with the administration on these priorities. I am particularly interested in issues of faculty excellence and diversity, the development, mentoring, and retention of junior faculty, and promoting transparency and communication among faculty, departments, and the administration. 

Rajit Manohar
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

It is an honor to be nominated for a seat on the FAS senate. I am a newcomer to Yale, having joined the faculty in 2017. My hope is that the FAS senate will facilitate an atmosphere of cooperation between the faculty and administration, while always representing the views of the faculty. This is especially important as Yale embarks on a new phase of academic investments. Prior to joining Yale, I was on the Cornell faculty for eighteen years. Among other activities at Cornell, I served as the DGS for Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for Engineering, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for Cornell’s newly created Applied Sciences campus in NYC.

William D. Nordhaus
Sterling Professor of Economics and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

I am excited to have the possibility of serving another term on the FAS Senate. The issues that most engaged me in my first term were these: (1) The Faculty Standards that had been introduced were badly flawed, and the Senate played an important role in having them revisited. (2) Yale is woefully behind on budget transparency, and we have made suggestions to the Provost on how to move into the 21st century on shared information as a part of shared governance. (3) The budget and organizational structure of the FAS are new and need to be examined carefully to ensure they are serving our teaching and research mission. All three of these are unresolved, and I would like to continue to work on these for another term.

Senior Lecturer in Statistics and in the
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

I had the privilege of recently being a guest member of the Yale FAS Senate ad hoc committee on the status, pay and conditions of non-ladder faculty in FAS. Together, we gathered data from 238 non-ladder Yale faculty and were able to produce a comprehensive analysis of prevailing activities, attitudes, and compensation. The resulting document has been well received by the Yale administration, and we’re hopeful it can serve as a blueprint for improvement in the status of non-ladder faculty, both at Yale and at our peer institutions. In an era of ‘big data’ and increased reliance on analytics, I believe that arguments are most effective when individual case studies are supported by broader data analysis. After 25 years at Yale, twice as a student and for 15 years as a committed educator, I would relish the opportunity to bring my statistical expertise to issues facing Yale faculty.

Doug Rogers
Associate Professor Anthropology

It has been an honor to serve in the inaugural FAS Senate. Were I to be re-elected, I would hope to continue my service on the Senate’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee, which will continue to follow up on the recommendations of its major 2016 report. I would also hope to continue on the Peer Advisory Committee, which gives confidential advice to faculty colleagues on all manner of issues. Looking ahead, I see two major issues for the Senate to be engaged in over the coming years.

First, FASTAP reform should be understood as a long-term process and not an event that happened this past year. We will all need to pay careful attention as the new procedures and guidelines are implemented, and the Senate can and should continue to play a central role.

Second, although some progress has been made, much work remains to be done on improving and institutionalizing channels of communication between the faculty as a whole (ladder and non-ladder) and colleagues serving in administrative roles. This should continue to be a major task of the Senate, even as it works on a range of more specific projects, goals, and recommendations.

Theresa Schenker
Senior Lector,
Language Program Director

I am honored to be nominated for a position on the FAS Senate. As Language Program Director of German, I would embrace the opportunity to represent my colleagues across the departments – especially my non-ladder peers – on the FAS Senate. Yale is a wonderful place to work and it would be my pleasure to help move Yale forward in even more positive directions. This includes creating a more inclusive environment for all members of the Yale community, regardless of their status, gender, race or background. It would be my honor to speak on behalf of Yale’s non-ladder faculty and help the FAS Senate find solutions for the concerns we are facing that could enhance not only the experience of non-ladder faculty members but improve the working climate across departments at Yale.

Mark Solomon
Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

I came to Yale 25 years ago in large part because of our strengths outside of the sciences. In addition to “speaking science,” I’ve developed a good ear for issues raised by our colleagues throughout the University.  Serving as DGS for an eighth of a century (!) (something I’m told I was pretty good at), I’ve had a long-standing interest in graduate education, which has also exposed me to many of the workings of the University.  Like many of my colleagues, I’m very concerned about the corporatization of academia, which puts at risk the intellectual playground formed by our community of scholars and places unrealistic burdens on our departments.  I’ve served for three years on the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which has reinforced my concern for both the accused and the accuser.  I worry that similar difficulties will arise during the implementation of the Faculty Standards of Conduct.

Stephen Stearns
Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

I would use my engagement in FASS (1) to continue the effort to hire and promote faculty who represent proportionately the full range of diversity of our students and culture, (2) to work to improve our academic culture so that everyone is treated with dignity, including staff, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty as well as tenured faculty and administrators, and (3) to increase transparency and trust in the governance of the university through greater sharing of information on budgets and other aspects of strategic planning.  I would bring to this effort my experience as department head and Dean of Science in Basel, Switzerland; as chair of EEB at Yale; as a member of the divisional committees in both the biological sciences and the humanities at Yale; and as a member of a review committee for a grievance in a professional school at Yale.

Joseph Wolenski
Lecturer and Research Scientist
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

Having been at Yale for nearly 30 years, I have a very good understanding of the strengths, and yes, the occasional weaknesses, of the university we all chose to develop our careers and provide for our future.  I am a Yale dad and my wife is a faculty member at YSM, so I’ve been fortunate to see Yale through the lens of a tuition-paying parent as well as a family where both paychecks come from Old Eli.  I’ve taught multiple unremitting courses at Yale, including 20 consecutive years in a program at YSM that I helped develop for underrepresented premedical and pre-dental students.  Yale certainly is a very big part of my life.  While serving on the Senate Subcommittee on the “Report on the Status, Pay, and Conditions of Non-Ladder Faculty in FAS,” I learned that I’m not alone in my concerns for this essential, but often underrepresented and underappreciated group of dedicated professionals.  I’m very enthusiastic to continue working with my colleagues as a full member of the FAS Senate.  As a Senator, my priorities will be: 1) to improve the salaries of non-ladder and ladder faculty using metrics that include teaching load, performance and evaluations as well as scholarly contributions, 2) increase diversity among the faculty, and 3) protect freedom of speech on campus. I will work to make the Senate a place where we can share ideas and communicate constructive guidance and feedback to the administration.  At the very least, the Senate must serve as the voice of the faculty, including non-ladder faculty, in steering the academic course of this venerable university.

The following senators were elected to three-year terms in 2015 and will serve the third year of their term in 2017-18:

Beverly Gage (Professor, History)

Shiri Goren (Senior Lector II, NELC)

Emily Greenwood (Professor, Classics, African American Studies)

Matthew Jacobson (Professor, American Studies, African American Studies. History)

Ruth Koizim (Senior Lector I, French)

Karen Wynn (Professor, Psychology)

Reina Maruyama (Associate Professor, Physics)

Mark Mooseker (Professor, MCDB)

Charles Schmuttenmaer (Professor, Chemistry)

Ian Shapiro (Professor, Political Science)