Faculty Activity Committee Report (September 26, 2019)

Dear Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Colleagues,

I write to update you on the work undertaken by the 2019 Faculty Activity Committee, a small faculty committee assembled in Spring 2019 with the mandate of recommending changes to the Faculty Activity Report (FAR).

The Faculty Activity Committee was convened in response to a recommendation from the 2018 Committee for the Economic Status of the Faculty (CESOF), which recommended that the FAS Dean appoint a committee “to redesign the Faculty Activity Report to facilitate accurate and thorough documentation of service of all kinds: not only on university committees, but also within departments and beyond Yale.” Specifically, the Faculty Activity Committee was charged with the following tasks:
  • Examining current systems within the FAS (e.g., the Faculty Activity Report and electronic tracking of information) for collecting information about faculty activities in research, teaching, and service.
  • Learning about best practices in peer or other relevant institutions concerning the assessment of faculty activities.
  • Recommending ways to improve the quality of information relating to accomplishments of faculty within the FAS at Yale, which could include revisions to the current FAR or additional ways to collect these data.
The Faculty Activity Committee met weekly during the Spring 2019 semester, and delivered its report to me on August 22, 2019 (the Report). A list of its members can be found below.
The Report contained a number of thoughtful recommendations and suggestions for their implementation. The recommendations can be divided into three categories: (i) the structure and process of the FAR, (ii) collecting and disseminating information about faculty service, and (iii) reducing the number and size of standing committees. The Report also provided some examples of additional ways the FAR could be used to solicit feedback on subjects of special interest. You can read a copy of the report here.

The FAS Steering Committee has discussed the report and has accepted the committee’s recommendations with respect to the structure and process of the FAR, effective this year. These recommendations can be found in Section IIIA of the Report.

The recommendations regarding information about faculty service and number and size of standing committees require additional refinement and coordination to determine how their goals can best be achieved and what resources would be necessary to do so. To that end, we will be convening a small successor committee to explore these issues. I will announce the committee’s charge and composition later this semester.

I am grateful to the members of the Faculty Activity Committee for the time and care they invested to produce the Report, and look forward to the next steps in continuing this important work.



Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science

The Faculty Activity Committee was composed of Marla Geha (Committee Chair; Professor, Astronomy), Rene Almeling (Associate Professor, Sociology), Jack Dovidio (Professor, Psychology and FAS Dean of Academic Affairs), Larry Gladney (Professor, Physics and FAS Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity), Daniel Harrison (Professor, Music), and Quang Phu Van (Senior Lector II, Southeast Asian Studies).