Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Peter Salovey, President-Elect of Yale University. The reception was held on the Stanford campus- where Salovey earned his BA and MA degrees. I was invited to attend because I’m an alum- having received my MA and PhD from Yale. [I actually was on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business when he was an undergrad at Stanford!].
What delighted me was hearing his plans for Yale going forward. The university has 12 professional schools, ranging from Art to Medicine, from Forestry to Divinity. That’s in addition to the undergraduate and graduate programs. One of his objectives is to create a “unified Yale”, leveraging the diversity of expertise to foster more interdisciplinary programs and research. As an example, he talked about a recently opened Center of Design and Innovation established by the School of Engineering. The dean of the School of Art has already started discussions on partnering with Engineering- to see what happens. He provided other examples as well.
His second objective is to make sure Yale is innovative. His focus, during the talk, was on how Yale operated. For example, the university has partnered with New Haven in many unique ways designed to improve the quality of life in the city as well as town/gown relationship. Although he didn’t talk about it, as someone who feel strongly about value of working across boundaries to spur innovation, I saw the push for a more unified university (as described above) as a move to foster innovation.
Accessibility and Excellence are the other pieces of his master plan. But, I will spare you the details. Should you be interested, you can read more about the plan and the man in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Yale Alumni Magazine.
After he spoke, there was a chance for Q&A. Most of the questioners were really criticizing things they had observed about the school with one in particular really taking the offensive. What impressed me was the grace with which Salovey responded. It’s one thing to be brilliant; it’s another to be emotionally intelligent. The focus of his research is EQ- and he clearly walks the talk.
I’ve always been proud of my Yale heritage but last night took that sense of pride to a whole new level. Which is why I felt compelled to write about it. [A girl has a right to gloat sometimes].