FAS guidance on searches, speakers, and internal meetings (March 13, 2020)

Dear FAS Faculty Colleagues,
As we look for bearings to guide us through the current storm, we write to offer clarity on three topics of FAS-wide concern that have not been fully addressed in our messages so far: job talks, external speakers, and internal meetings. In all three cases, we are asking you to suspend ordinary practice, and to postpone or make virtual these activities.
We realize that these requests may seem severe. But repeatedly, we have found that interventions that seemed disproportionate yesterday seem inadequate today. Our requests will be disruptive – to our work as scholars, as teachers, as members of a community – but they are morally incumbent. By restricting our in-person interactions to those that are essential, we contribute to the flattening of the transmission curve, reducing the risk that our health system will become overwhelmed.
With this in mind, we ask that you adhere to the following policies:
External searches and job talks

  • Any job search which has not yet been completed should be suspended and deferred until the fall.
  • If there is a pressing curricular need to conclude a search this spring, and a feasible way for remaining candidates to undertake virtual job talks/virtual campus visits, departments may seek permission from their divisional dean to request that FAS Steering grant an exception to allow the search to continue. Exceptions will be rare.

External speakers
While travel restrictions at peer institutions have rendered the question largely moot, there may still be instances where you are expecting to host visitors from outside the Yale community during the spring semester. With regret, we ask the following:

  • All external visitors and associated events scheduled for this spring, even those involving small-scale audiences, should be postponed until next year or moved to a virtual format. This guidance applies to speakers, conferences, workshops, and other communal formats in which visits might be hosted.
  • If there are exceptional circumstances, please contact your divisional dean for guidance about whether an exception can be made.

Internal meetings

  • Essential meetings (i.e. meetings necessary for the timely completion of tenure or promotion processes, graduation requirements, or similar matters) should take place in a format that allows remote participation by colleagues who may be off-site due to child care, self-quarantine, or other reasons. No faculty member should be expected to come to campus to attend such a meeting. While remote meetings are preferable, in-person meetings may be held in rooms that provide sufficient space to allow for appropriate social distancing (6 feet or more).
  • Non-essential meetings should be conducted remotely.
  • Meetings of FAS-wide committees (such as the Tenure Appointment Committees (TACs), the Faculty Resource Committee (FRC), and the JBPO) will follow the rules for essential meetings above. FAS policy has been updated to allow such votes to be binding.
  • We are working with the Poorvu Center to identify appropriate technology to support confidential remote voting. We will ensure that such systems are in place before the semester resumes.

In future messages, we will offer guidance on a range of other issues that we confront as a community, including staff continuity, teaching concerns, and infrastructure to support research and scholarship.
This is a time of profound emotions: a time of frustration, anxiety, and deep mourning at the unraveling of anticipated futures – lunches and lectures, seminars and ceremonies. It is an abrupt and radical disruption of what we have worked so hard to build together – a community of scholars, a company of friends. But it is also a time of kindness, of compassion, of forgiveness, of humility – a chance for us to come together (albeit at a safe distance) – and to recommit to our common purpose.
We are grateful for your colleagueship,
Tamar, Jeff, Alan, and Katie

Tamar Szabó Gendler, FAS Dean
Jeffrey Brock, FAS Dean of Science and Dean of SEAS
Alan Gerber, FAS Dean of Social Science
Kathryn Lofton, FAS Dean of Humanities

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