The University Council was established in 1947 as an advisory body to the President of the University for the purpose of studying and making recommendations on particular facets of University life. Council members are generally drawn from the University alumni population and are appointed by the Yale Corporation on nomination by the President.
The Council meets twice yearly on campus, typically in December and April. The group consists of up to 35 members who serve in an at-large capacity or who are chairs of active committees. Currently, there are 31 members, including two ex officio members (Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors Chair and Yale Alumni Fund Chair). A President of the Council is elected by the membership upon recommendation by the President of the University. At-large members generally serve for a three-year term, and the President of the University may invite members to serve additional terms. Committee chairs are normally appointed for two years; the President of the University has, on occasion, asked a committee chair to serve as an at-large member upon the completion of the committee’s work. The President of the University attends all Council meetings.
Various topics are reviewed by the Council, and recent meetings have included discussions on the use of information technology in teaching, Yale College curricular reform and international education in Yale College, strategic planning for the sciences, developments at the School of Medicine, New Haven initiatives, safety and security in the wake of September 11, University investments, the Peabody Museum, the World Fellows Program, Yale College admissions, and the Schools of Music and Drama.
The Council also hears updates from committees impaneled by the President of the University under the auspices of the Council to study a specific matter. Members of the Council may be asked to serve on such committees, together with others—both alumni and non-alumni—who can bring a special insight or expertise to the matter under review. The President of the University extends all committee invitations and meets with the committee each time the group convenes on campus. Committees generally meet three to four times over the course of a two-year period, and the chair of the committee, or his or her designee, provides interim reports to the full Council during the committee’s tenure. A confidential final report of the committee’s findings and recommendations is presented to the President and the Council. The President shares each University Council report in confidence with the Yale Corporation.