The university is making a substantial investment in SEAS so that it can even more aggressively pursue breakthrough research and collaborative innovation. These resources will provide SEAS operational flexibility to enact the recent faculty-led SEAS Strategic Vision Report. As detailed in that report, SEAS research will focus on initiatives in artificial intelligence, biological systems, materials science, mathematical modeling, and what we call “robotics for humanity.” The report’s goals are purposefully aligned with our University Science Strategy, which emphasizes campus-wide investments in several thematic areas. An even stronger SEAS will enhance Yale’s ability to pursue research and innovation in other priority areas across campus.
The current size of the SEAS ladder faculty is ninety-two. We will increase by thirty the number of SEAS faculty slots available for hiring in the six departments of the school. These additions afford a further increase to the size of the Computer Science department—the engineering department with the largest number of undergraduate majors—and advance materials science, whose interconnections across many fields will make for outsized impact. They will also help us bolster other areas where faculty are working at the vanguard of engineering and applied science. Additionally, exploring joint appointments around Yale will create opportunities for novel academic programming that accentuate our current strengths and increase our innovative capacity.
In addition to these faculty positions, we will make a significant investment in the school’s physical infrastructure, some of which dates to the turn of the last century. We will break ground for the Physical Science & Engineering Building (PSEB) on Science Hill next summer, which will serve both the FAS and SEAS and is scheduled to be completed in 2027. Upon completion, this purpose-built facility is likely to be the largest building investment in Yale’s history. To complement this space, and further accommodate the growth of engineering and applied science, we are also developing a comprehensive renovation plan to be implemented over the next decade, reimagining the research and teaching spaces on lower Hillhouse Avenue.
To maximize its impact, we have reconsidered the school’s organizational structure. SEAS was announced as a school in 2008 and operated in that way for almost a decade, even while the SEAS faculty has been considered a division of the FAS. Beginning July 1, 2022, Yale will have a distinct faculty of Engineering and Applied Science led by the dean of SEAS. The SEAS dean and the FAS dean will continue to work closely together, each reporting directly to the president and provost. SEAS will operate as a distinct budgetary unit, with its dean overseeing the allocations for SEAS faculty salaries, faculty start-up packages, and the school’s operating budget, including costs associated with staffing and facilities. There will be no changes to undergraduate and graduate student admissions and registration processes.
This organization will allow SEAS to reimagine its culture, expand its research, and optimize its partnerships both within and outside Yale. We expect it to be better integrated than ever with Yale’s graduate and professional schools. This change to SEAS builds upon years of thoughtful input from many members of the university community who have advocated for an increasingly autonomous path for engineering at Yale.
We are pleased that Jeffrey Brock has agreed to be reappointed as dean of SEAS. We have every confidence that in his new, expanded role, he will lead the school through this transformation. We are fortunate to have someone with his knowledge of SEAS, of Yale, and of the broader scientific and technological environments to lead this important transition. To focus on these responsibilities, Dean Brock will step down from his role as the FAS dean of science effective June 30, 2022. We are grateful to him for his willingness to serve in both roles for the past three years. FAS Dean Tamar Gendler will begin the search for a new FAS dean of science in the coming days. She will seek to identify a leader who will continue the tradition of close coordination and partnership between FAS science and SEAS.