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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 longer term 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.

Insights from this process covered a wide range of topics from strategic issues to proposals for operational improvements. For example, in the 1998 review, strategic input pointed to an interest in greater attention to internationalization of the university and identified a need to improve labor relations.

Plans for the Institutional Assessment in Spring 2018

Senior Trustee Donna Dubinsky and Trustee Catharine Hill are co-chairs of a committee of the board who will spearhead the next assessment. With the input and support of President Salovey, the committee has decided to follow much of the previous precedent while enabling more members of the Yale community to give their perspectives.

As with prior institutional assessments, a broad range of campus leaders and members of the Yale community will be invited to meet individually with two trustees at the end of the spring semester. Faculty, students, alumni, and staff will be interviewed. 

In addition, the board will offer all members of the community the opportunity to share their thoughts about Yale, to outline the opportunities and challenges they see for the university, and to offer their suggestions for its leaders. Next spring, as we start the assessment process, we will create a website for comments to be submitted.

At its regular meeting next June, the board will discuss the insights gleaned during the process. By the end of next summer, the trustees will share with the Yale community the board’s reflections.

We hope that many members of the community will participate in the process next spring. We believe that it is important to Yale, its future and our role as its stewards.

Donna L. Dubinsky ‘77
Senior Trustee

Catharine B. Hill ‘85 Ph.D.

September 5, 2017