Announcement: Humanities doctoral education advisory working group (May 4, 2020)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Yale Humanities Faculty
From: Lynn Cooley, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Kathryn Lofton, FAS Dean of Humanities

May 4, 2020

The Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean of Humanities announce a Faculty Advisory Working Group on Doctoral Education in the Humanities. Coordinating among graduate students, Directors of Graduate Studies, and the graduate faculty, the Faculty Advisory Working Group on Doctoral Education aims to advance Yale’s place as a leading educator of doctoral students in the Humanities.

The Faculty Advisory Working Group resolves many years of considered conversation about the strategic future of the Humanities. In spring 2018, then Provost Polak charged a University Humanities Strategy Committee to develop a set of priorities for the Humanities. Over 14 months, this committee researched and debated Yale’s strengths, opportunities, and challenges in graduate and undergraduate education, research areas, and public impact. In spring 2019, the committee conducted ten intensive, two-hour public sessions with departments and programs in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the committee chair led a series of one-on-one consultations with deans of professional schools at Yale. These conversations concluded with the Committee’s recommendation to form a working group on doctoral education in the humanities that would issue specific recommendations for the transformation of doctoral education across the Humanities division in fall 2020.

In consultation with departments and programs, the Faculty Advisory Committee will discuss how curricula, advising practices, and admissions processes can best ensure the preparation of Yale students for academic and non-academic job markets. The immediate priority of this Faculty Advisory Working Group is to enable our current students to launch careers substantially enhanced by having a doctoral degree.

We recommit to graduate education in the Humanities as a cornerstone of an ethical society. We need new educational practices to acknowledge and engage an altered world. “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew,” Arundhati Roy has observed. “This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” Members of the Faculty Advisory Working Group on Doctoral Education in the Humanities see this public health and economic crisis as an opportunity to serve better the community of students we have the privilege to educate.

Members of the Advisory Working Group on Doctoral Education in the Humanities

Francesco Casetti
Lynn Cooley
Michael Della Rocca
Roderick Ferguson
Valerie Hanson
David Kastan
Pamela M. Lee
Kathryn Lofton
Stephen Pitti
Ayesha Ramachandran
Pamela Schirmeister