Amplifying the Words of Yale’s Great Teachers

March 3, 2014

In the remarks I made last October during the inauguration ceremonies—seems like ages ago!—I suggested that by continuing to harness technology, we can amplify the words of Yale’s great teachers so that our lectures and lessons can enlighten and inspire more people in more places. A few months have passed, and it seems like a good time to ask, what actually is happening? In a recent meeting with all of our deans, from Yale College, the Graduate School, and the professional schools, I was excited to learn about the many online programs and initiatives already being undertaken across campus and around the globe:

  • The School of Forestry & Environmental Studies offers an online professional certificate program focused on how to develop and implement strategies for the restoration of tropical forests. FES is offering it in Spanish in nine countries in Latin America.  
  • The School of Nursing has an innovative doctoral degree program for high-level healthcare professionals that blends online and in-residence education, allowing individuals from Israel to California to earn an advanced Yale nursing practice degree while continuing their professional lives.
  • Again this summer, Yale College faculty will be offering online courses for credit that use the Internet but retain the interactive engagement of a traditional Yale classroom.
  • SOM’s extraordinary Global Network for Advanced Management—which I have experienced firsthand—allows MBA students from countries throughout the world like Ireland, Singapore, Ghana, and China to participate in SOM classes and programs in “real time.” And back in New Haven our students are gaining insights from those networked around the world in courses such as Mobile Banking and New Product Development. 
  • The new curriculum at the School of Medicine, which will be introduced next fall, includes online modules to help students before they come to class. This learning model is similar to an approach already being offered with great success in some Yale College calculus classes. 
  • And of course, we continue to share the great teaching of Yale faculty at no charge through more than forty Open Yale Courses. These open offerings have recently been augmented by four courses on the Coursera platform.  

I take great pride in what Yale is already doing, but I know that there are always new ways to think about how technology can enhance and amplify Yale’s educational mission. To that end, I am delighted to announce that a new fund has been established in the Office of the Provost that will enable Ben Polak to direct resources to faculty in Yale College and the professional schools who wish to use technology in creative ways to enhance their teaching here on this campus or to reach beyond New Haven. Faculty members interested in submitting a proposal to the new Rosenkranz Fund for Pedagogical Innovation at Yale can find an application at I am optimistic for the future of digital education at Yale, and excited to see what innovations this new fund will inspire.