to Yale Home Page
to Yale Reaccreditation Home Page
to Introduction Page
to Committees Page
to Standards Page
to Response form
to Visiting Committee Report
to NEASC Letter


Report to the
Faculty, Administration, Corporation, Students
of
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut

by An Evaluation Team representing the
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education


Prepared after study of the institution's self-study report
And a visit to the campus on November 7 -10, 1999.



The members of the Team

Gerhard Casper, Chair
President
Stanford University

David F. Bishop
University Librarian
Northwestern University

Paula P. Burger
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs
The Johns Hopkins University

John M. Connolly
Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Smith College

Harold D, Craft, Jr.
Vice President for Facilities and Student Services
Cornell University

Janet Smith Dickerson
Vice President for Student Affairs
Duke University

Amy Gutmann
Rockefeller Professor of Politics
Princeton University

J. Paul Hunter
Professor of English and
Director, Franke Institute of the Humanities
University of Chicago

Donald J. Reaves
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Brown University
Assisted by:
Jacqueline B. Wender
Assistant to the President
Stanford University


This report represents the views of the evaluation team as interpreted by the Chair; it goes directly to the institution before being considered by the Commission. It is a confidential document prepared as an educational service for the benefit of the institution. All comments in the report as made in good faith, in an effort to assist Yale University. This report is based solely on an educational evaluation of the institution, and of the manner in which it appears to be carrying out its educational objectives.


 

Yale University Evaluation


Preface Page: image or Adobe Acrobat file

Perspective

Report

Standard 1  Standard 2
Standard 3  Standard 4
Standard 5  Standard 6
Standard 7  Standard 8
Standard 9  Standard 10
Standard 11    




Standard One: Mission and Purposes

As Yale University approaches its tercentennary in 2001, it does so with an undiminished sense of mission and community.

Many American universities have become formidable societal institutions that are looked upon by various publics, at one and the same time, with admiration, high expectations, envy, and distrust. As fascination with universities and their institutional influence grows, it is easily forgotten that for all directly involved in it-faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, staff and alumni-higher education itself constitutes one of the most honorable and elevated forms of public service.

Yale is a superb example of this public service and the country has benefitted from Yale's contribution to the public welfare since colonial days. Neither 18th century nor 20th century Puritans may see it as having achieved perfection, but, in a worldwide comparison of universities, Yale, at the end of its third century, is as good as they come .

Ezra Stiles, President of Yale in the last quarter of the 18th century, distinguished between a grammar school, a college, and a university. The differences between the three he saw essentially in the scope of instruction ranging from the classics at one end to the "highest literature" of the learned professions at the other end. Our modern understanding of a university has added research and, indeed, comprehends teaching and research as but two sides of the same coin.

This is, of course, the case at Yale. President Levin, in his inaugural address, postulated that only through the unfettered application of clear intelligence can we advance genuine understanding of nature and of ourselves. This attitude permeates Yale at all levels from the College to the Graduate School, though, the very distinction between "college" and "graduate school" at Yale -fairly typical for American universities-at times seems to make the web less seamless, the continuum less continuous than is called for.

At a research-intensive university research and teaching have a wholly dialectical relationship. Teaching benefits from research and research benefits from teaching. The scholarship of all those who teach, especially those who teach undergraduates, is enriched when the younger generation consciously, if naively, questions it. If the university's public service is primarily the search to know, not just the faculty and graduate students, but even the college students are part of that search. One of the great strengths and indeed defining elements of the Yale undergraduate experience, the system of twelve residential colleges, while certainly not impermeable, may at times place too much emphasis on that collegiate experience and thus obscure the continuum that can do so much to enrich everybody's search to know.

President Levin's emphasis on advancing genuine "understanding of nature and of ourselves" captures the broad range of Yale's purposes. The university is justly proud of its well deserved reputation in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Its national "image", with much help from Yale, reflects these strengths of the university. Again, a strong defining element may obscure the fact of and the need for Yale's contributions in the natural sciences. As Yale pursues the latter, it may have to face tensions not only over the use of resources, but also over how the university represents and defines itself.

The following sections deal with specifics under headings provided by the accreditation standards. The reaccreditation team offers its observations in the spirit of colleagueship. We have tried our best to understand, though as mere visitors our grasp will suffer from many deficiencies. Yale's outstanding present leadership is working consistently and persistently to improve Yale further. In those efforts it may take up some of our suggestions. That is less important, though, than the continuous questioning of the institutional status quo that is part of the very definition of all great universities.



Standard Two: Planning and Evaluation

A NEASC-accredited institution engages in planning efforts which are "appropriate to the institution's circumstances," and which "involve the participation of individuals and groups responsible for the achievement of institutional purposes" (Standard 2.2). Further, it "evaluates the achievement of its mission and purposes, giving primary focus to the realization of its educational objectives" (2.4).

Planning and evaluation at Yale University are conducted at a number of different levels, and in the 1990s considerable effort has been expended on reorganizing and improving the ways these functions are carried out. Among these efforts are the following: the Yale Corporation (board of trustees) is devoting more of its time on a regular basis to issues of long-term planning and goal-setting; a comprehensive planning framework for facilities has been put in place; several new offices and services now address the concerns of graduate students; and the governance of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences itself has been studied and somewhat reorganized.

In the ten years since its last review Yale has responded effectively to a number of pressing challenges, among them the respective roles of the faculty and the administration in governance; the problem of a substantial amount of deferred maintenance; budget deficits; and labor strife (including efforts to unionize the graduate teaching assistants). A common response to such challenges has involved the use of ad hoc committees of faculty members, administrators, and others to address the situation, with the result that progress has been made in each instance, often impressively so.

Planning and evaluation within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) takes place within a complex set of committees, both standing and ad hoc. At the center is the FAS Executive Committee, composed of the president, provost, and deans of the college and graduate school, with the committee acting as the "final authority for most major FAS issues" {Self-Study, 12). The Expanded Executive Committee adds to this group the deputy provosts and the four faculty divisional directors. The administrative FAS Steering Committee {the provost, the 2 deans, and the deputy and associate provosts) is charged with implementing the poilicies of the Executive and Expanded Executive committees. In addition a less formal group consisting of the non-faculty members of the Expanded Executive Committee meets weekly for lunch to discuss and decide on a number of important FAS concerns.

According to the provost academic initiatives and priorities are worked out between the Executive Committee and the four Divisional Advisory Committees. The latter, whose members (all faculty) are appointed by the provost and president, review the work of departments and programs within each division, and advise the "deans and provost about the quality and effectiveness, as well as the appointments needs" of the various departments {67). This structure seems to function well and to have legitimacy because of the strikingly collaborative framework of trust between the administration and the faculty of arts and sciences.

Faculty members play a prominent role in the various standing committees devoted to particular concerns, such as the University budget, the libraries, information technology services, faculty compensation, science policies, etc. In addition faculty members are called upon to chair or otherwise serve on ad hoc committees convened to address some of the most pressing and contentious issues, such as governance and appointments procedures, as well as more specific concerns (e.g. the status of graduate students, renovations to University buildings, etc.).

Questions may be asked about the timeliness and efficiency of these approaches. For example, the self-study describes two new offices and a new center to serve the needs of graduate students, all established in the last several years. These efforts clearly show responsiveness to events and serious concerns, and the steps taken seem appropriate. Still, one might ask whether the issues thus addressed had not been apparent for a long time, indicating perhaps a lack of nimbleness in identifying and dealing with such problems in an effective and timely way. Similar questions could be raised about the efforts to mend certain long-troubled departments or larger academic areas.

There is plainly an impressive resolve at Yale to deal with issues of deferred maintenance and facilities renovation in straightforward ways. The University now prepares an annual capital budget as a part of the work of the Budget Committee, and is developing a comprehensive approach to these issues which involves spending extraordinary sums to attack an acknowledged problem. The success in this area perhaps bodes well for similar approaches to other planning

issues identified in the self-study: the proper use of graduate students as teaching assistants, student outcomes assessment, and the most appropriate ways to evaluate teaching.

These latter two issues deserve special mention since the Self-Study singles both out. The current methods of evaluating the instruction in courses at Yale College seem plainly inadequate for an institution which places so much emphasis on undergraduate instruction. Indeed, the absence of effective formal programs for assessing and improving the teaching of faculty members stands in marked contrast to the recent and commendable efforts to assist graduate teaching fellows in the performance of their duties. There are many well-tested systems in use at comparable institutions, and Yale should consider adopting one of them soon.

In the area of outcomes assessment Yale has made good use of its office of institutional research to conduct satisfaction surveys of students and graduates - some of them collaboratively through the COFHE consortium. Nonetheless the University acknowledges that it has not gone beyond such surveys and the assessment of student performance conducted by faculty members in individual courses. Claims that Yale graduates have obviously profited from their years at the College miss the point that, at their best, formative approaches to assessment can contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning themselves. With its wel1-regarded institutional research office and its strong and traditional emphasis on undergraduate education, Yale has the potential to be a leader and powerful example in this area.

In sum Yale's great strengths in this area are:

  • Established and effective planning processes at the crucial levels; and
  • A climate of trust and consensus between the senior faculty and the administration.
Weaknesses or areas for further consideration include:
  • Concern about lingering problem areas in the academic program; and
  • Inadequate approaches to the evaluation and assessment of teaching and learning.


Standard Three: Organization and Governance

There are many ways to govern a university. Yale's governance structure has long sustained an institution of academic excellence, and by all indications will continue to do so for a long time to come. While in the recent past, governance at Yale has had its problems, at present the Corporation, president, administration, and faculty divide responsibilities in a reasonable way that works well and enables it to carry out its academic mission with integrity at the level of a world- class university.

There is no doubt that Yale has a "rather distinctive and unusual structure for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (PAS)." FAS has no dean with overall responsibility. Instead, the provost and two deans, one of the College and the other of the Graduate School, share leadership responsibility. The two deans share responsibility for untenured faculty reviews, and with the provost, they share responsibility for overseeing the process of senior appointments and recruitments.

This structure has its advantages and disadvantages. Yale appreciates its advantages. Many high level administrators attend to faculty appointments and assessments. The directors of Divisions also share some of the oversight functions that might otherwise be more concentrated among the president, provost, and a single dean. Because the positions of the deans of the College and Graduate School are perceived as strong, Yale also can recruit strong administrative leaders to these positions from within the faculty ranks. Another unusual feature of the division of academic authority (for a research university) is that the faculty members at Yale, acting collectively by division, have greater de facto and de jure authority over tenure decisions (although not the tenure process) than at Yale's peer institutions. The division of labor is more complex and difficult (at least for outsiders) to comprehend, but the quality of the present administration provides evidence to support the strong sense of most insiders that Yale's academic governance structure works well for the institution.

Over the past decade, since the last re-accreditation report, Yale's governance structure has been put to some significant tests. The effective restoration of Yale's deteriorating physical plant, which is now well underway, is testimony to how well the governance structure can recuperate. Although many of Yale's academic departments are among the best in the world, some were seriously declining. With the concentrated attention of many people, many have begun to be "turned around." There is of course more work to be done in this regard. The present administration, led by President Levin, has shown the capacity to deal with such tough challenges in a way that seems to galvanize the university community.

A good governance structure is a necessary but not sufficient condition for institutional success. Even more than universities with clearer divisions of labor in their academic administration, Yale depends on building consensus among the top administrators and faculty members of FAS. The people who occupy the top governing posts at Yale today, most of whom were appointed by President Levin, work well together. The president, provost, directors of Divisions, deans, and masters of Colleges are an effective team. Their strong academic leadership reflects the benefits of Yale's tradition of recruiting internally from among the most ,talented members of its faculty. They have a unified vision of the University's purpose. They are adept at articulating and responding to many of the demands that a changing internal and external environment places on the institution. They are cognizant of the need to attend to the critical issues facing an excellent institution of higher education today, ranging from recruiting and retaining world-class faculty members to deciding how to adapt to a rapidly changing world of information technology.

Yale's present leadership knows how to derive the greatest benefits from its governance structure, but they also know that its governance structure presents several challenges for a future that promises to bring ever more work to the highest-level positions of academic administration. One challenge is the need for extra staffing of the offices of the Dean of the College and Dean of the Graduate School in order for these deans to continue to carry out the ever-increasing responsibilities. These offices work very well, but they are already stretched in their staffing, and as they become more successful, they will be stretched even further. Their staff members appear to be every bit as energetic as their deans. Only extra staffing is likely to enable them to keep up with the pace of academic innovation, the ever-increasing need for new support services for students and faculty members, and the unrelenting demands for energetic recruitment and retention of faculty members in a highly competitive environment.

A second challenge created by the unusual governance structure is to make the lines of authority less opaque to their constituents outside of the top-level administrative offices of the provost and deans. The lines of authority and division of labor are bound to be far clearer to occupants of the offices than to outsiders. The multiple paths to a single outcome, when that outcome relies upon a consensus among several people, can cause some confusion and delay in decision making.

When combined with the distinctive structure of Yale's academic administration, the uniqueness of Yale's internal promotion process leads to a greater than usual sense of bewilderment and frustration among many non-tenured members, who have the greatest stake in understanding Yale's tenure process. Absent a "tenure track" many non-tenured faculty members, particularly in their early years at Yale, have an acute sense that they are less well informed about the rationale, process, and standards of promotion than their peers at competing institutions. Although this sense varies considerably across departments, it is a source of alienation among a substantial group of non-tenured faculty members.

Once one moves from the top-level of the academic administration, the administrative structure of Yale is less distinctive and more transparent to insiders and outsiders alike. The president has effectively reorganized parts of the administrative organization where lines of authority were unclear or inefficient to carrying out the institution's purposes. The Student Financial and Administrative Services, for example, has been reorganized under a new associate vice-president. These sorts of reorganization have boosted morale by creating an apparently more effective and efficient administrative team.

The question remains as to how effective any existing University governance structure will be into the future. Upon the president's recommendation, the Corporation has instituted a five-year review plan involving members of the Yale community to supplement its annual internal review process. This more comprehensive review of Yale should serve the University well by assessing in a systematic way the extent to which Yale's governance structures are serving their purposes and satisfying their constituents.

Two issues are worth highlighting in this regard, one general to higher education and the other more specific to the governance structure of Yale University. The general issue is whether the high-level administrative positions that are now in place will be adequate to the demands of the foreseeable future of higher education. Yale administrators are aware, for example, of the very high likelihood that they will soon need to create a new position in the provost's office to oversee the academic uses of new information technologies.

An issue more specific to Yale is whether its unique process for promotion of untenured faculty members will be sustainable in the future. The highest standards for promotion of non-tenured faculty members are compatible with a wide array of promotion processes. Among its peers, Yale has chosen a process that may be the hardest to explain and to execute consistently. Peer institutions that set equally high or in some cases higher standards for promotion to the tenured ranks have more transparent and less taxing processes. Whether Yale's process for promotion will serve it well into the future is an open question, which the Yale administration and faculty have the greatest stake in revisiting.



Standard Four: Programs and Instruction

Standard Four of the NEASC is designed to ensure the soundness of educational programs offered by the institution, both in terms of content and the quality of instruction. It is impossible for these purposes to review the particulars on the full range of Yale University's academic programs. Even the more restricted charge to review, at once, the seventy -plus programs offered by Yale College is itself a daunting task. It is possible, however, to make some general observations about the quality of undergraduate education at Yale, which, quite deservedly, is a source of institutional pride. Indeed, many of the criticisms leveled at universities all over the country for their failure to take seriously undergraduate education do not seem relevant at Yale University where programs and instruction clearly meet the specified NEASC standards. This is not to say that there is no room for improvement, but to state with confidence that those areas where undergraduate education could be further strengthened are recognized and efforts are underway to address them.

Among the many positive aspects of the academic programs of Yale College is a strong commitment to liberal education that is shared not only by the administrators of the College, but also by the faculty, the senior officers of the University, and the members of the Corporation. There is little doubt that the University intends to continue the tradition of liberal education as the foundation for Yale College, and to sustain Yale College as the heart and soul of the University. Beyond rhetoric, such matters as the governance structure, resource allocations, the involvement of professional school faculty, certain university policies, and even the president's own agenda reflect this focus. Yale is to be commended for its insistence that teaching loads not be compromised as a means of attracting faculty, its requirement that senior faculty teach undergraduates, and its increasing support of graduate student training in the art of teaching.

In terms of degree requirements, Yale College expects its students to complete a substantial amount of coursework overall and, in addition to fulfilling a major program of study, to distribute courses over other fields of knowledge, to complete a foreign language requirement, and to meet a senior requirement appropriate to the major. The requirements for various programs are clearly laid out in publications along with course descriptions. A number of oversight committees monitor curricular matters, and we were able to identify very few issues that were not already the object of study by faculty and/ or administrators. We were, in fact, struck by the significant, perhaps even uncommon, amount of faculty and administrative energy devoted to these concerns.

There are no easy answers to the curricular issues under consideration, and we would not pretend in a such a short period to put forward our conclusions about matters under serious study by Yale faculty and administrators (particularly when some of these issues are unresolved on our own campuses). But, as outsiders, there are a few observations that we might make in the interests of offering additional perspective and prompting fresh thinking.

Even for an institution with splendid financial resources, Yale is attempting to provide a particularly wide array of programs, while at the same time enhancing many aspects of undergraduate education. To the extent that, in leaner times, it becomes less possible to do it all, one might well look at this issue of proliferating programs as one place where a higher threshold might allow resources to be redirected to other areas of need.

It should be underlined that the concern here is not the quality of what is being offered. Indeed, there are procedures in place with the Course of Study Committee which provide for review of new or revised courses and major programs. Moreover, one of the several extant ad hoc committees is examining the nature, number, and structure of Yale's majors, and this, we think, is a matter worthy of attention.

The large number of academic program options available to students is a real strength of Yale College. But it is also the case that most of these programs individually attract very few majors, compared to a handful of departments in which, collectively, a vast majority of the student body elects to major. Given the level of infrastructure provided when programs are officially designated majors, and the uneven distribution of students among the various programs, the costs and benefits of this extensive array of academic options need to be weighed. The creation of new majors refreshes the curriculum and exposes students to new and exciting fields of knowledge, but we question whether it is necessary to establish a formal major, with its attendant costs, in order to enjoy these intellectual benefits. We heard from faculty and students that the current system drives students to double major in order to achieve the official certification of a secondary field of in-depth study. The completion of the second major often means jumping some academic hurdles which mayor may not be as important as taking advantage of other course opportunities from among the rich array of possibilities open to students.

While regular oversight by the Course of Study Committee can ensure that even the smallest program is academically solid, the overall imbalance among departmental course offerings creates a situation where, regardless of major, student expectations are potentially conditioned by the largest departments. Measured against the yardstick of History and English at Yale, it is not surprising that the course offerings in less prominent majors seem limited. Interdisciplinary programs present particular challenges in terms of managing students' expectations. A real concern is whether, given the strength of the departmental structure, these expectations can be satisfied if trade-offs with departmental course offerings are required. A set of intellectually rich minors might signal students to have more realistic expectations.

Although many institutions find merit in permitting the completion of minors, in the context of Yale College's program, implementing such an option would indeed require "thinking outside the box." This exercise might be useful in several areas of undergraduate education at Yale.

Another issue is whether there may be secondary financial and curricular impacts of the desire to give greater emphasis to the sciences at Yale. While the financial requirements of adequate laboratory facilities have been recognized, it is not equally clear to us whether the related programmatic consequences of recruiting additional science majors have been fully considered. One can imagine, for instance, curricular ramifications for other program areas that will also need to compete for resources already spread thinly among some areas.

A case in point may well be the teaching of mathematics. Yale is not alone in struggling with this issue, but we heard concerns from students about the quality of instruction at the introductory level. Some administrators have begun to wonder whether this is an area where Yale should deviate from its traditional use of ladder faculty and seek to engage individuals to fill this specific function with the highest level of skill. Students have also suggested that they might be better served in this way. We would encourage such thinking and consideration of the educational trade-offs which are likely to increase in importance as more science majors require such coursework. Judged against the educational benefits to students, it is difficult to see what compromise is made to fundamental academic values if, outside the normal ladder structure, individuals are engaged and rewarded solely for their teaching skills in these basic areas.

Another concern related to the desire to enhance the sciences at Yale is how to extend the benefits beyond the sciences. Assuming that this is perceived to be desirable, a plan might be developed to facilitate this so that the sciences "up the hill" become more than a stronger and better supported enclave. For the advantages of this investment to be realized fully, ways will need to be found to expose students who are not majoring in the sciences to these enhanced academic resources, toward the end of broadening students' intellectual horizons.

An area of perennial concern at universities is academic advising, and Yale is no exception. Two of the residential colleges are experimenting with using a smaller cohort of more intensely involved faculty. Given what we heard from some junior faculty about the informal cues given to them about even voluntary service, one may well be slightly skeptical about the feasibility of expanding this experiment throughout the residential colleges.

In response to President Levin's challenge, Yale College has begun several related efforts to globalize its student body and programs, a development that has come surprisingly later to Yale than to some of its peer universities. The recent reorganization of the administrative offices designed to support foreign student and scholar services appears to be making an immediate difference in the level of support for foreign members of the Yale community. These services will become more important as the number of foreign students grows.

We note with special interest the enhancement to the advising of students for study abroad, through the newly created Office of International Education. While the on-campus experience is academically very rewarding, professional guidance about overseas alternatives to on-campus programs should be available to Yale students. The commitment that has been made to provide a new level of service at Yale in an area that is well developed at many peer institutions is a very important first step. It will also be important to engage departments in envisioning the ways that international study could enhance majors. The related establishment of a Language Teaching Center should help equip students for the study abroad experience.

A key aspect of Standard Four is that the institution have policies and procedures to ensure an "orderly and ethical" program for admission of students. By any quantitative measure, Yale's admissions program is a success. There are few institutions in the country that have a more talented applicant pool and few that are more successful in enrolling such high percentages of those applicants who are offered admission. Even more noteworthy is the thoughtful manner in which the admissions decisions on individual applicants are made. Despite external pressures from the media by means of public rankings, Yale has kept a keen eye on the target. It has a thoughtful decision process that involves an effort to make reasoned individual judgments in the interest of crafting in the aggregate an exciting and diverse class that will become an important educational force in the classroom, and, importantly for Yale, in the residential colleges. The professional admissions staff appears to retain appropriate decision-making responsibility even for those categories of students that attract the interest and attention of other campus constituencies. It is also apparent that the staff is attentive to the growing challenges of making informed decisions at a time when many factors are make it more difficult to distinguish among students who have become increasingly sophisticated about how to play the system to their personal advantage.

It should also be noted here that the comparatively generous financial aid policies of the University are designed to reinforce these academic objectives of enrolling a diverse and academically talented class and, insofar as we can determine, this is indeed the case. Aid to foreign students is one area in which new efforts are being made to support recruitment goals.

In sum, Yale has substantial strength according to virtually all measures of the various components of NEASC's Standard Four. We would note, in particular, the following areas:

  • Superior faculty resources are devoted to undergraduate education, both inside the classroom and outside, the latter reinforced by the residential college system.
  • The programs of Yale College, supplemented by the resources of the professional schools, offer curricular depth and breadth.
  • Ongoing administrative and faculty oversight of the academic experience at various levels is provided by the residential colleges, departmental structures which provide for a Director of Undergraduate Study for each major, divisional committees, the Yale College dean's office, the provost's Office (which is organized so as to ensure subject area expertise) and even the president himself, who shows particular knowledge and interest in the educational programs of the College.
  • Mechanisms for internal faculty review and occasional external review of programs are in place, although it is not entirely clear how systematic the process is and how formal the commitment is to follow-up.
  • Writing is emphasized across the curriculum and support for strengthening writing skills is provided through a variety of tutoring programs, which seem to be appreciated by students.
  • Several policies undergird the stated commitment to undergraduate education, including a refusal to reduce the teaching obligation of faculty as a recruitment incentive and the presumption that all senior faculty will teach undergraduates.
  • A strongly competitive admissions position is maintained with the help of an intelligent and highly professional process for selecting talented and multi- faceted students.
  • Newly developed programs and excellent materials are designed to enhance the support given to graduate students for strengthening their teaching skills.
  • The practice of returning certain faculty slots to divisional pools provides at least some flexibility to mitigate the strong departmental influences on the deployment of faculty resources.
Finally, we offer these observations:
  • Major programs have proliferated, including new interdisciplinary programs that face the challenge of engaging departmental resources that have competing demands placed upon them.
  • The imbalance in the number of majors, and therefore differential faculty resources available to them, results in some practices that seem inconsistent with Yale's traditions (e.g. limiting program enrollment in some fields).
  • While we applaud the desire to make the science departments at Yale the equal of their humanities counterparts, there may be unanticipated consequences and secondary programmatic impacts of a shift in emphasis. Some longer range thinking about these matters may be in order.
  • More formal support could be given to junior faculty to enhance their teaching skills (although the Office of Teacher Preparation is beginning to fill this void).
  • The mechanisms for providing feedback on the quality of teaching, including to graduate students who seem particularly eager to enhance their skills, are not regularized.
  • There is a conservative bias in addressing curricular issues and a certain reluctance to consider alternative solutions to some problems, e.g. the possible use of non-ladder faculty in particular areas.
  • The tenure system potentially affects the morale and the perception of junior faculty about the wisdom of making the extra commitment to teaching and advising that the College hopes to encourage.
  • It is hoped that, in keeping with the Yale tradition, faculty leadership can be engaged more thoroughly to improve and make comprehensive the evaluation of teaching.
Notwithstanding these concerns, Yale University, through Yale College, offers exceptionally talented undergraduates superior academic resources to meet a quite remarkable range of educational interests. While there are areas that can be enhanced further, Yale satisfies Standard Four with distinction.



Standard Five: Faculty

That the Yale faculty is nationally and internationally distinguished is well- known in both academic and non-academic circles; it has long been so, and it hardly needs to be said. Many disciplinary faculties at Yale are consistently rated among the top five nationally. Such national ratings, and the international standing that can be inferred from them, are usually based on research productivity and excellence, and a research university like Yale obviously depends heavily on such indicators both for its ranking in the academic world and its prestige in the larger world. But the Yale faculty is also distinguished in another way that is unusual among research universities: for its commitment to the teaching of undergraduates. Though we would like to have more reliable and systematic comparative indices of how that teaching is rated by students, it is clear that the faculty excellence extends into classroom teaching in many cases.

The recent faculty retrenchment and (partial) "freeze" on new faculty appointments has meant that relatively few senior faculty members have been added in the past few years. But when senior searches have been conducted, they have generally had good results; Yale's recent record in senior recruitment, regarded especially in the context of the difficulties experienced nationally in persuading "stars" to move to new appointments, is a very good one. Similarly, retention of Yale faculty recruited elsewhere has been by and large successful. An important factor in recruitment and retention is the changing perception of New Haven as a place to live and work; the University's efforts in behalf of the community have had an apparent payoff in faculty stability and development as well as in other areas. A steady problem, however, is the so-called "couple" issue; with relatively few nearby academic institutions, Yale has more difficulty in recruiting and retaining two-career academic couples than do some institutions in other kinds of locations.

Faculty morale at Yale seems, in general, very good, although we note exceptions in the variable moods of junior faculty. Yale seems to have come through some lean hiring years with few visible scars, and faculty seem generally fairly content with their lots at Yale and quite confident about both the university's direction and its leadership on all levels. We did no formal survey of faculty morale, but judging from several meetings with faculty members who spoke frankly about a variety of issues, we feel comfortable in saying that most faculty seem happy to be at Yale and feel fulfilled by its professional and intellectual milieu and aspirations.

The self-study expressed concerns about faculty diversity and efforts to increase the number of minority and female faculty; we endorse those concerns and urge continued, perhaps accelerated, efforts on initiatives to identify and recruit appropriate faculty members who would enhance the cultural and intellectual diversity of the Yale faculties. At the senior faculty level, Yale has made modest progr~s on the gender issue over the past ten years and now seems to stand in about the middle of the pack among peer institutions. The numbers of other "underrepresented" minorities are smaller; Yale seems to be comparable in most these numbers to its research university peers, but there is no room for complacency on this issue around the country, and we endorse the self-study's implication that the issue needs continued, steady, and aggressive attention.

Some disciplines have greater than ordinary faculty needs. The administration seems fully aware of these needs and is able to distinguish departments needing special attention over the coming years. National rankings, yield rate in the recruitment of graduates students, and job placements taken together provide a fairly reliable index to programs that are not up to the typical Yale standard, and the administration also seems highly sensitive to actuarial issues and to generational balance in departments. We urge the University to move forward steadily and with a carefully staged plan in renewing departments that need help; the sciences as a group (though there are distinctions to be made in any grouping) especially need attention now, and individual departments in other areas also need urgent attention.

Departmentalization as a concept and decentralization as a strategy seem generally to have served Yale well over the years, and they continue to do so. The peer pressure to live up to the Yale standard-to be excellent in all categories-means that most departmental units are anxious to improve themselves with every opportunity, and understanding, leadership, and incentive seems to be available (if needed) at the decanal and provostial level if any local units falters. But it may be worth observing that the decentralized model works best at continuities and where disciplinary consensus exists-that is, in ways that assure continued excellence in established areas-and is less good at seeing emerging areas of opportunity or development. Yale's record of responding to new areas that span traditional departments and disciplines is a good one-in areas such as African American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies, for example-but there seems to be no continuing mechanism as such for identifying growth areas beyond the grasp of individual disciplines. This area of vision needs the constant attention of the provost and deans and perhaps needs systematic review by some representative faculty body.

The question of the tenure system at Yale continues to be controversial, perhaps the most divisive single issue on campus. Because the issue has been discussed at length over the years and because it was formally revisited quite recently via the Hartigan Report, Yale may not want to reopen discussion of the issue again anytime soon. But because we ran into continuing concerns about it in a variety of on-campus sessions, we make the following observations:

  1. Junior faculty morale is quite variable, ranging (usually) from great satisfaction in early years with both the idea and reality of Yale, to anxiety (and some cynicism) in later years, even among those junior faculty members whose promotion prospects seem good. Nearly every junior departure - whether early and by choice, or later and required - seems to bring a lot of unhappiness to the surface. It can of course be answered that tenure-track systems produce similar concerns and morale shifts (as indeed they do), but the perception of low tenure prospects (though quite variable from division to division and even department to department) is a continuing problem.

  2. The understanding of the system as it actually exists, even though it has been rationalized carefully; is not the greatest. Many tenured faculty members we met seemed unable to explain the policy or the process clearly and junior faculty feel that they get varied accounts from different people they consult. We found no lack of clarity at administrative levels, but departments do uneven jobs of communicating with junior faculty, both during recruitment and once faculty are recruited into the system, and junior faculty believe they are under-mentored in many (though certainly not all) departments. Junior faculty we talked with used such terms as "culture of reticence" and "culture of mystification," and they believe both that they need more clarity and more support of their work while they are junior faculty. Junior faculty praise the generous leave policy for junior faculty but desire more moral support from their colleagues and more fully rationalized support for research and travel. They also desire a more formal University program of orientation for new faculty. But while many junior faculty express anxieties about their position (of a sort similar to that in peer institutions with tenure-track systems), they seem generally content in what most regard as a limited number of years they expect to be at Yale.

  3. Senior faculty, while expressing some anxiety about tenure policy and procedures, do not seem generally desirous of a review of the issue.



Standards Six, Ten, and Eleven:
Student Services, Public Disclosure, and Integrity

In all areas Yale appears to meet or to exceed the standards delineated in Standard Six. At the undergraduate level, the twelve Residential Colleges are the core of the intellectual and social community for students and many faculty. The facilities are physically splendid in their architecture and undergoing a comprehensive program of renewal. Yale College provides leadership, advising, and support for students at the individual College level, ranging from the peer leadership of freshman counselors to masters, deans, resident and non-resident fellows, and graduate affiliates. At the central level, Yale College also provides an array of support services and programs including but not limited to physical and mental health services, support for students with special needs, cultural centers for ethnic minorities, dining, financial, career and international student services. Health education programs invite peer involvement and collaboration across disciplines. Athleticism is fostered at the intercollegiate level as well as through modem and comprehensive recreational and fitness facilities. Altogether, there appears to be a 'taut' and complex system of support for students reflecting the developmental needs of individuals as well as of the various subpopulations.

The Yale environment reflects a "culture of concern" for students, and the bonding that is fostered within residential communities leads to a sense of connectedness that is enduring. Students who choose to live off campus remain close to their Colleges, and relationships with faculty and graduate students are affirming of undergraduates' intellectual as well as cultural identities. Of particular note is the integration of all students into the College system, resulting from each student's random assignment to a College upon entry and the deans' intentionally heterogeneous roommate assignments in the first year. Students of color enjoy affinity group programming through the four existing cultural centers; but they, and the assistant deans who have oversight for those centers also are included in the mainstream through assigned duties on committees and projects. Hence, 'self-segregation' is much less of a problem at Yale than at some comparable colleges; and students remain open to building communities that acknowledge differences but which celebrate commonalities and individual talent, and which foster leadership.

Within the past five years administrative restructuring has created shifts in reporting relationships and responsibilities, which seem to contribute to a strengthening of administrative infrastructures in such areas as financial services, health, career, and internship services. Students will find such offices easier to navigate (both virtually and in person) and more likely to provide a 'one-stop- shop' experience that will minimize bureaucracy.

The documents and web sites available to students provide concise and thorough information about services, and invite responses and feedback from students. Information-release policies are respectful and appropriate. Assessment and evaluation is ongoing, and students report a high rate of satisfaction with their experience, a circumstance reflected in high retention rates and alumni satisfaction.

We offer these observations:

Because the Colleges function independently and with strong leadership, and also because much of Yale's administrative structures are decentralized and implicit rather than explicit in their governance, special efforts are required to foster communication and create coherent systems. Also, opportunities and resources may be required for staff development particularly focused on improving administrative capacity for collaborative work and cross-training, for using new technology and data systems, and for comprehensive needs assessment.

Space for student activities-performance, organizations, recreation, etc. - has been identified as a concern. Yale College has not included a Campus Center in its renovation/construction plan in the interest of retaining activities at the individual College level. However, there is a paucity of collective space useable for larger events and programs. One potential site for multipurpose use space is the new Fitness Center, which has ample useable space and is relatively close to the undergraduate Colleges as well as to the New Haven community. The addition of a juice bar and comfortable common areas, and the marketing of the multiuse spaces for parties and other events, might lead to a more fully utilized set of spaces within the Center. We noted the large number of students using the fitness facilities on a Tuesday morning, and commend the planners for creating spaces that are inviting to all recreational users.

With the arrival of more foreign students and others with special circumstances and needs, it is imperative that providers (health care, advisors, counselors, others) be prepared for adequate support, particularly in those cases where there are language barriers or reluctance to accept Western health care practices. Student Health Services are aware of these trends and are responsive.

Mental hygiene has an excellent reputation with students, deans, and faculty. However, the perception persists that there is a long and unwieldy waiting list for non-emergency counseling services, acknowledged by all to be much needed within the Yale Community. It may be that additional resources should be allocated to this unit.

The visibility of some services (study abroad, career services, health education, etc.) can be enhanced by marketing and outreach activities. In each of these areas, these efforts have begun.

The Graduate School has in recent years become increasingly responsive to the requests of graduate students: for a Center (The McDougal Center is a very appealing location for informal interaction and connection); for specialized career services for students interested in academic as well as non-academic careers; for professional teaching/learning/technology instruction. We heard students report the need for connections beyond the departmental level, for support for ethnic as well as interest groups, for child care, and for respectful treatment.

Yale fulfills the letter and spirit of the NEASC standards in its documents and publications and its institutional integrity. Externally it represents and reflects the highest ethical concerns in its corporate behavior as well as its expectations for individuals.



Standard Seven: Library and Information Resources

Library

Yale University's library collections are among the finest in the world. Their breadth and depth meet educational needs of undergraduate students and the research needs of graduate students and faculty. Not only are the collections strong, but the level of annual funding for new materials will assure that the collections remain strong in the future.

A major effort in recent years has been to increase and improve library space. The new music library, which is a strikingly imaginative use of a former courtyard in the Sterling Library, constitutes a facility for both users and collections. This space seems to meet the special needs of music faculty and students for years to come. The renovation of the public areas of the Sterling Library is well underway and those parts that have been completed are impressive. A third improvement has been the renovation of the Sterling Library stacks to make the environmental conditions acceptable. The addition of a remote storage facility is another project that has improved the library's ability to meet the needs of users. It has removed much of the pressure on housing the collections on campus and has provided an environmentally sound place to house little-used materials. These materials are retrieved on a "within one working day" basis, which seems to satisfy most users. Finally, the planning for future improvements is impressive. The next phase of library renovation should assure that users, particularly undergraduates, will have inviting places to work. It should also make the integration of the Sterling and the Cross Campus libraries much better and should create an underground space between the libraries that will be a pleasant place for students to work and relax.

There have been a number of recent improvements in the electronic products and services the Library provides. A Web interface to the online catalog has made that catalog much easier to use, and the array of electronic abstracts and indexes as well as the offerings of full-text electronic resources is impressive. A fifteen million-dollar project to convert the Library's retrospective bibliographic records to machine-readable form is under way. This project is scheduled to be completed by 2002 and, when complete, will eliminate the need for most scholars to consult the card catalog. More importantly, it will allow complete searching of the Library's bibliographic records from remote locations. Another project of note is the Service Quality Improvement Program. This will systematically review the activities of the Library's public service points and will develop plans to make improvements.

There are some areas, mostly noted in the self-study, where the University and the Library could improve library services to undergraduates. The first suggestion deals with the future of the residential college Libraries. At present, these libraries serve largely as study spaces, with book collections that are in many cases out-of-date al;1d poorly organized. These libraries are important spaces that, if designed properly, could enhance the quality of life for students. The Library and Information Technology Services are reluctant to get too involved in planning for the future of these libraries because the administrative and financial control of them rests with the colleges themselves. As part of the renovation of the residential colleges, it would be wise to consider the future role of the residential college libraries. They could remain as they are, with book collections that are there primarily to contribute to the overall atmosphere, or they could be developed as electronic resource centers that would provide a place for research and study. Possibly, electronic resources that are not available on the computers in students' rooms could be provided there. The intent in this report is not to propose a particular solution, but rather to suggest that a systematic review of the residential college libraries, in consultation with the Library and ITS, be conducted as part of the residential college renovation project.

A second suggestion is that the Library, working with the faculty of the college, increases the presence of the Library's bibliographic instruction program in the curriculum. Teaching students how to use library resources has become increasingly necessary, largely because new electronic library products and services are becoming available almost daily. Teaching students to use these new tools in a classroom setting is much more efficient and effective than doing it one-on-one in the Library. Faculty members who use the Library's bibliographic instruction programs tend to continue using them semester after semester. The need is to increase the number of faculty willing to devote a portion of their class time to providing students with bibliographic instruction.

A third suggestion is that the Library attempt to provide more visible and welcoming public service points in the Sterling / Cross Campus library complex. Doing this is clearly a goal of the second phase of the library renovation project and, if that project goes forward, the problem will be solved. However, if the project does not go forward, other ways could be found to provide more visible and welcoming public service points in the Sterling and Cross Campus libraries.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services (ITS) has made impressive progress in the past few years. A robust campus network is in place and there are plans to make improvements in the future. As part of the overall campus renovation, buildings are being wired and a network infrastructure is being put into place. The computing support system for students is good. There is a comprehensive network in the residence halls and students paid by ITS provide basic computing support. The faculty networking and support program is somewhat behind the student program, but is making good progress. An impressive aspect of this program is the financial support for computing provided to departments by the university central administration. Each department receives $1,200 per faculty member per year to support general computing, and faculty members are told that their computers will be replaced on a four-year cycle. The funds in excess of the amount needed to replace computers are to be used to fund staff who will provide basic computing support for the department. Faculty with whom we spoke were aware of this program and, although some reported problems, there was confidence that it will meet their needs over time.

Good progress has also been made in developing programs to support applications of instructional technology. There are a number of internal grant programs that allow faculty to obtain computing equipment and staff support to help them develop specific instructional technology programs. Again, faculty were aware of these grants and many were very positive about them. ITS describes its general support for instructional technology as the "academic technologies pyramid." At the top are cutting-edge applications involving a few faculty members and a very high per-unit cost. The idea is for programs developed at this level to eventually become more widely available. The Digital Media Center for the Arts is a focus for much of the top-level activity. The second level focuses on using generalized tools and services and making them ava1lable to a wider group of faculty. At the bottom are basic computing support services that are available to all. ITS has developed a local computer program to assist faculty in setting up course Web pages. Using this program, faculty with little knowledge of HTML or Web design can develop Web pages to communicate with their students. It was surprising how many junior faculty members with whom we spoke had Web pages and appreciated having this capability.

It is clear that good progress has been made in the area of information technology. The major suggestion would be to try to move more quickly. The sooner the complete faculty support program is in place the sooner the full benefits will be realized. Probably the major concern should be the growth of the second level of the pyramid. This is the area where the greatest demand will occur and where the greatest benefit can be realized. The amount of staff support needed to enable the second level activity to grow will be substantial. It will require careful planning to assure that the needed staff and equipment will be available.



Standard Eight: Physical Resources

Standard Eight seeks to ensure that the physical resources of the institution are sufficient for institutional needs, are safe and secure, and are maintained properly. The standard also requires that institutional physical planning be linked to academic and student services, and to financial planning. Included in the last must be a plan for addressing deferred maintenance.

On the basis of the information in Yale's self-study, on interviews and conversations with faculty, staff, and students, and on a tour of selected facilities, it is clear that the University meets these standards.

In its self-study, the University concluded, not surprisingly, that the physical resources available for the College's programs are adequate for current needs. To be sure, there are a number of program expansions envisaged by the University that cannot be accommodated at this time, but that is a normal situation. Part of Yale's longer-range plan includes expanding facilities to achieve these ends.

To assure that campus space is safe, and secure, the University's Fire Marshal, and the offices of Environmental Health and Safety and Security monitor building condition and security. All new and renovated facilities meet all curref}t building codes, and are ADA compliant.

The planning process that underpins the current level of facility renewal and that forms the basis for future plans is impressive. The development of facility programs, establishment of priorities, and incorporation of them in the overall university financial plan seems to have been thoughtful and inclusive; faculty, staff, and students have participated. The Campus Planning Group, as described in the self-study, should continue as an effective group to provide a coordinated and unified campus-wide plan for facility renewal and expansion that addresses academic, student service, and overall support needs.

A decade or so ago, Yale recognized that maintenance of its physical plant was inadequate and that the facilities were generally in a state of widespread disrepair, a condition confirmed by the 1990 survey by Parsons Brinkerhoff. Yale's response to the findings of that report and subsequent facility reviews has been substantial and appropriate. The level of annual expenditure on facilities projects today is impressive, as are the resulting restored and new facilities. The ongoing facility renewal has also extended to the unglamorous areas of heating plants, chilled water plants, and overall utility infrastructure.

To prevent a return of the facilities to their previous state of disrepair, the University has developed a plan to increase substantially financial support for facility maintenance. The level of support expected to be reached after a few years should be adequate to maintain the restored and new facilities.

In sum, the University has recognized and addressed its difficulties with facilities, and is on a trajectory to restore complete health to an extraordinary physical resource.

Some observations and suggestions:

In the course of review of the self-study and from information learned through on-campus tours and interviews, a few items emerged that might be considered further by the University.

As noted in the self-study, Yale's buildings did not deteriorate overnight, but were the victims of a lengthy period of neglect. While the current substantial level of expenditure for renewal, if continued for a number of years, will restore and enhance the University's facilities, all will be lost again if sufficient funds are not provided annually for "routine" maintenance. The plan to provide, in a few years, about $50 million annually for that purpose should be sufficient to stabilize the condition of Yale's buildings. Nevertheless, it is likely that this allocation will need persuasive advocates to sustain it in the future as funds for facility maintenance seem to lie among the most vulnerable in any budget allocation process and negotiation.

While most of the current facility renewal is focused on renovations, Yale still continues to add some new building space with the concomitant requirement for new funds to support new operational and maintenance requirements. Utility and custodial costs quickly become apparent, but the need to set aside additional funds for long-term maintenance is easily overlooked, particularly since there is little maintenance required early in the life of a new building. Perhaps Yale might consider developing some administrative process to recognize and quantify the long-term support needed for each additional building to assure that the necessary additional maintenance funds are available when needed.

Yale might also consider instituting a system through which overall facility health is evaluated regularly and dispassionately, with the results of the review discussed with the University's senior leaders and, perhaps, with the Corporation.

It is striking that the level of financial support for facilities projects has grown so rapidly in so few years. The levels described in the self-study show the level of support more than doubling in four years, increasing by more than $100 million in the last year alone. It is not clear that the planning, project, and construction management teams have grown correspondingly - it would be an unusual university department to have grown at that rate. There is no suggestion here that the current construction projects are being managed inappropriately. Still, perhaps it would be prudent to assure that the facilities staff is large enough to be able to manage the multitude of large projects now their responsibility.

The self-study noted that the Facilities Office needed to continue to -achieve greater efficiencies in building maintenance, a suggestion that probably has been made, with varying degrees of validity, about every internal institutional maintenance operation. Nevertheless, the current limited use of outside contractors to compare with internal operations is common practice elsewhere and seems a solid strategy. Benchmarking studies of maintenance organizations outside of the New Haven region might be a useful way to evaluate the absolute effectiveness of both internal operations and outside contractors.

The University's efforts to develop a collegial, cooperative relationship with the leaders of New Haven may set an example of thoughtful and healthy town-gown relations. Whatever the principal purpose for the University's initiative in this area, the result should, nevertheless, have a direct, positive influence on the relative ease with which facilities projects negotiate the local approval process, one of the major hidden costs and sources of uncertainty in most such projects.



Standard Nine: Financial Resources

The primary purpose of standard nine is to ensure that the institution is financially stable, and that its fiscal resources are allocated in such a way as to support the mission and purpose of the university. Moreover, standard nine is concerned with the integrity of those processes that are followed to ensure sound and prudent financial management of resources. Finally, this standard seeks to determine if the goals and objectives of the institution are reflected in its efforts to raise funds through philanthropy and that those goals and objectives are clearly articulated to prospective donors.

The assessment of whether Yale University is in compliance with all or part of standard nine is based, primarily, on an analysis of documents provided by the university, including audited financial statements and other official documents. In addition, discussions were held with those university officials who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the institution. On the basis of this assessment it is abundantly clear that the University meets or exceeds the elements set forth in this standard. However, this conclusion notwithstanding, there are issues of concern that are worthy of consideration by senior management.

Yale is a financially stable institution. However, like other high-quality institutions of higher learning, Yale does not operate within an environment of unlimited resources. This obvious fact notwithstanding, the wealth of the institution, which is reflected in the phenomenal growth in net worth that has been experienced over the most recent several years, and the resources that are made available to fund its highest priority initiatives, is abundant. This growth has enabled the university to embark upon a massive capital projects agenda that will consume, when complete, more than $1 billion in resources. Moreover, the University is well managed, it has planned well for the future, and its priorities seem to be well defined.

Yale's success appears to be a function of two factors. First, as noted, the university appears to be well managed, and there is obviously a great deal of collaborative and cooperative interaction among the senior officers. For this we commend the president and his senior staff. Second, the university is the beneficiary of the prosperous economic climate that has characterized much of the decade of the 1990s, having taken full advantage of those investment and philanthropic opportunities that have presented themselves. Here, in addition to kudos that are so deserving, a note of caution is in order, a cautionary note that applies not just to Yale but to all similarly situated colleges and universities. The cautionary note applies to those elements of the Yale experience that are predicated upon continued economic prosperity, notably, investment returns and philanthropy.

An examination of the sources of revenue that comprise the Yale budget provides a glimpse at the concerns to which we allude.

Tuition: Yale is not a tuition-dependent institution, deriving slightly more than 23 percent of its total revenue from gross tuition and fees. Given the strong demand for admission as demonstrated by the high number of applications, and admit and matriculation rates which are among the strongest in the country, this source of revenue appears to be very stable.

Grant Support: Grant support, which makes up about 27 percent of the total, is the largest single source of revenue. At the present time given the competitiveness of the faculty and the composition of the research base, which is predominantly health-related, this support appears to be stable. There are no single grants that if lost would have a material effect on the university's operating budget, and the university is projecting moderate growth in this area going forward. At the same time, however, the university must remain mindful of the fact that the level of Congressional support that the National Institutes of Health have enjoyed to date are not guaranteed in the future.

Investments and Endowment Spending: The university's investment returns in recent years have been very impressive. With an annualized return over the last 10 years of 15.4 percent, the university's performance is in the top 3 percent of large university returns. The endowments investment performance, in combination with a relatively conservative endowment spending policy, has enabled the University to balance the two competing forces associated with endowment management, prudent spending for current operations and long- term asset preservation. The balance that has been struck is reflected in the fact that the market value of the Yale endowment had more than tripled during the period 1988 to 1998, rising from $2.1 billion to approximately $6.6 billion. At the same time, the endowment's contribution to the operating budget had risen from about 11.5 percent, or $68 million, to approximately 20 percent, or $219 million, a 222 percent increase. At June 30, 1999, the market value of Yale's investments stood at approximately $7.2 billion.

Clearly, the university should take pride in these accomplishments. The returns noted above and the sound management of the assets have contributed to the university's ability to fund its highest priority activities, including the assault that it has launched on deferred maintenance that is so wonderfully obvious throughout the campus. At the same time, it was clear that university officials are keenly aware of the implications of a significant downward market adjustment. The very careful attention that is afforded to asset allocation and manager selection decisions, and the diversification of the portfolio, are evidence that management is acutely aware of the fact that what goes up will inevitably come down.

Clinical Income: If there is one area of concern that is deserving of an emphasis- added notation, it is that of clinical revenue, which contributes approximately 16.7 percent of total revenue. According to university officials, while clinical revenues have continued to grow, they have not done so at the rates that they would like to see. Given the uncertainty that characterizes the health care system nationally, and the inefficiency of the physician practice plans locally, there is rightfully some long-term concern on the part of university officials.

Fundraising: Fundraising, much like the return on investments noted above, is very much a function of the prosperous economy that we have come to enjoy, and to an extent, taken for granted. Yale's development efforts have been very successful. The University completed a major campaign in 1997, raising more than $1.7 billion against a goal of $1.5 billion. The ability of Yale to replicate this feat, fn tomorrow's dollars, is very much dependent upon the economy and the financial markets, and the perception that potential donors have regarding their wealth. A major and sustained downturn in either the economy or the financial markets will adversely effect the development efforts of Yale and similar institutions.

In regard to fundraising at Yale, there are three issues that are worthy of comment. The first has to do with unrestricted annual giving at Yale, which given its size and stature, at about $12 million, is low, The second issue has to do with the lack of diversification among donors to Yale, with more than 59 percent of total giving in fiscal year 1999 coming from individuals, and a disproportionately small percentage, 20.5, coming from corporations and foundations. The same pattern was present during the campaign, with $1.2 billion, or, 71 percent of the $1.7 billion that was raised, having come from individuals. The third and final issue has to do with the extent to which fundraising is dependent upon Yale College donors. During the last campaign, 95 percent of the total raised came from Yale College and Yale Law School donors. Clearly, the donor base is in need of diversification. A fair question to ask is how much of the development burden can continue to be shouldered by individuals from Yale College, as opposed to corporations and foundations and individual donors from the professional schools?

These issues were discussed with the Vice President for Development, who is aware that they need to be addressed in the near future.

The issues outlined above are the asset-side issues that are worthy of careful consideration. There are far fewer issues on the liability side, only one in fact, that is worthy of attention. That issue is the level of debt that the university has taken on to fund its long-neglected physical plant.

Currently the university has approximately $1 billion of debt on its balance sheet. These funds have been acquired, in both the tax-exempt and taxable markets, for the purpose of underwriting a major renovation of its long-neglected campus facilities. In addition to debt, the assault on the backlog of deferred maintenance will also be funded from fundraising. During the last campaign approximately $400 million was raised towards this effort. In the words of the Vice President for Finance, during the 1970's and 1980's Yale was "a net consumer of physical capital." The estimated backlog had approached $1 billion, and something had to be done. While the level of debt that Yale has acquired appears to be high, and the university plans to take on additional leverage over the next several years, it is indeed the right approach for such an undertaking.

At Yale the liability side of the balance sheet (debt), has been actively managed in conjunction with the asset side (the endowment, and short-term investments). Given the magnitude of the problem, the length of time it will take to address the problem, and the strong performance of the endowment, borrowing in combination with fund raising is obviously the only way to have proceeded. It would appear that as long as the arbitrage is positive, the tax laws remain favorable, and the university can maintain its current " AAA " credit rating, it should borrow money for facility construction and improvement instead of spending its own.

The structure of Yale's debt is both long and short and fixed and floating. As a result, as noted quite correctly in the self-study, there are two dangers that are associated with this level and type of borrowing. The first is obviously that of debt service capacity. Debt service, which is pegged at $57 million in fiscal year 1999 and scheduled to rise to about $70 million in fiscal year 2000, represents a stream of payments that must be made, regardless of economic circumstance. The second danger has to do with the fact that some substantiai portion of the outstanding debt is variable rate, exposing the university to interest rate risk if rates were to begin to rise. University officials are sensitive to both of these concerns and have taken the appropriate steps to mitigate the dangers. Currently, the level of debt is within the parameters established by the major rating agencies for large universities, and the university is acutely aware of the long-term fixed commitment that it has made. Moreover, the university has provided sufficient hedging strategies to reduce the exposure to interest rate risk, hedging approximately 50 percent of the floating debt, and by fixing the costs of debt through the use of synthetic market swap transactions in the taxable bond market.

There are no looming budgetary issues that threaten to undermine the university's plans for continued academic exceIlencel outstanding student support, and renewal of its physical facilities. It is indeed unfortunate that so many of Yale's vast resources need to be devoted to the renewal of its physical plant, a state of affairs that is primarily attributable to the Yale Corporation. Yet, the institution has done an outstanding job of taking advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves during these robust economic times. Good financial management, innovative thinking, the willingness to assume risks, all of which are reflected in the day-to-day management of the institution and in its long-term plans should enable Yale to achieve the priorities that it has established for itself.


© Copyright Trustees of Yale University.
This page was created 04/04/2000; last modified on 04/09/2000.
Please send comments to
Patricia.Klindienst@Yale.edu.