August 31, 2018
Dear Yale Community Members,
I write to thank our board of trustees and the faculty, staff, alumni, and students who participated in last spring’s institutional assessment. Your comments—whether received through the webform or in interviews with board members—were thoughtful and constructive, and they provide insights to the board and me as we make progress this year on our academic and other priorities for Yale. Below you will find a link to a memo from former senior trustee Donna Dubinsky and current senior trustee Catharine Hill in which they provide reflections on what they heard from all of you about our priorities and plans.
Thank you once again for assisting us in creating a better Yale.
With warm wishes for the start of the academic year,
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
History of the Institutional Assessment
In 1993-94, the Yale Corporation and then President Richard Levin decided to introduce a periodic evaluation of the university. The concept was to take stock of the institution approximately every five years to help the board gain insights into Yale’s strengths and challenges as well as to gather suggestions as to how the leadership team could better serve Yale. These institutional assessments are not to supplant the regular and important work of academic goal-setting that takes place within schools and departments, but rather to take a step back, and consider the performance of the university overall and its trajectory.
Institutional assessments were undertaken at the end of the second semesters in the following years: 1998, 2004, and 2009. When President Levin announced that he would retire in June 2013, the trustees undertook an extensive “listening tour” of the campus as part of the presidential search process. That process was similar to, and satisfied many of the goals of, an institutional assessment.
To gather input for the institutional assessments, a committee of Yale trustees interviewed approximately sixty individuals, including vice presidents, deans, members of the faculty and staff, students, alumni leaders, and community leaders. Participants’ comments were shared with all trustees. The trustee committee prepared an executive summary for the president that did not include personally identifiable information in order to protect confidentiality of those interviewed.
In 2018, senior trustee Donna Dubinsky and trustee Catharine Bond Hill spearheaded a committee of trustees to facilitate the university’s next institutional assessment. The committee followed the precedent set by previous assessments. In addition, the committee sought broader input across the Yale community and provided a memo that summarizes the findings.