Members of the Yale Divinity School Community:
Yesterday we all received a letter from President Levin outlining the current financial situation of the University and the steps Yale is taking to meet the challenges of this difficult time. As President Levin indicated, the University is well-positioned to do so, and with a prudent stewardship of our resources we should maintain our institutional momentum.
The Divinity School shares the University’s chief priorities—to recruit and retain excellent faculty and make available meaningful financial aid. Hence, the searches that we have currently under way in Theology, Ethics, History, Asian Christianity, and Spirituality and Ministerial Leadership, and with ISM, in Religion and the Arts will continue. We shall also maintain a high level of scholarship aid in relationship to our tuition revenue and, in fact, the gross amount of financial aid that we will provide in the form of scholarships will in the coming year continue to grow, if not as rapidly as we had previously hoped. This continued progress is due in large measure to the generosity of our alumni and friends whose gifts and pledges to our capital campaign will add to our resources for meeting student need. Only time will tell if we can sustain that growth over the longer term.
The renovation of the “Back Buildings,” the old ISM space and the Common Room and Refectory, already begun this year, will continue, and we hope to occupy those spaces next summer. The other major project that is early in the planning stage, the replacement of the Canner Street apartments, will be delayed by the current economic situation, but we shall move ahead with that project as soon as conditions permit.
The University has called for reductions in expenditures for non-faculty staff and for non-salary expenses. Members of the administrative team have already begun to explore ways in which the non-salary expenses can be reduced, and they have proposed a number of excellent ideas. In the spring we shall systematically explore such proposals and will find ways to reduce our operating costs. Any suggestions that you may have will be most welcome! In the months ahead we shall also look carefully at our staffing patterns and, as positions come open, explore ways of consolidating administrative functions. I believe that we can achieve the required savings with minimal disruption to our academic functions.
This is obviously a challenging time for everyone, and many in this country and abroad are feeling the pinch of economic distress more directly and painfully than we are. Those who are in deep need merit our compassion and support. Our own situation at the University in general and at the Divinity School in particular will require our careful attention, patience, and imagination, but together we can weather this storm and even enhance our ability to prepare men and women to serve church and society.
Best wishes for a blessed Christmas,