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Re: Yale EEB department chair JOB

Norm MacLeod asked:

> Does anyone have any information about this new department, what it
> might mean for the Peabody Museum and the fate of organismal biology
> at Yale?

I'm certainly not the best person to answer these questions, but since
I am in the department in question, I'll take a stab at it...

Yale has numerous biological research departments.  Excluding the many
(!) graduate departments of the Medical School, there are the School of
Forestry and Environmental Studies and the following departments of
the Graduate School:  Anthropology, Biology, and Molecular Biochemistry
& Biophysics.  Most paleontology graduate students are now enrolled in
Geology & Geophysics, though in the past many of them were enrolled in
Biology.  See http://www.yale.edu/yaleinfo/depts.html for more details.

FWIW, I am a 5th year graduate student in Biology:  my dissertation is
on a paleobotanical topic and my advisor is on the Geology & Geophysics
faculty.  This sort of cross-departmental arrangement is not unusual at
Yale.  When I started here, Biology was organized into 5 divisions:

	  I  Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
	 II  Genetics
	III  Cellular & Developmental Biology
	 IV  Neurobiology
	  V  Ecology, Evolution & Systematics

Recently, a 6th division has begun go coalesce.  It is now called the
Special Program in Plant Sciences.  This newest group has considerable
overlap with the first 4 divisions.  Details on all of these Divisions
are provided in http://www.biology.yale.edu/departmentalSummary.html.

Division 5 has an extramural graduate program with the American Museum
of Natural History, and (more or less) two special undergraduate majors:

	Organismal Biology
	Studies in the Environment

Also, the Division V faculty share curatorial responsibilities for YPM
collections with faculty in Geology & Geophysics, and some have joint
appointments in Geology & Geophysics.  As the "odd man out" in Biology,
a large and heterogeneous but primarily molecular department, Division
V was a natural choice for promotion to a full department.

Biology is housed on Science Hill, in Kline Tower on top of the hill,
a new research building to the north, and Osborn Memorial Laboratory
(gothic style) at the southern foot of the hill.  Kline Science Library
is underground beneath the tower and an adjacent courtyard.  The School
of Forestry and Environmental Studies is just to the west of the tower.
Peabody Museum is to the east of Osborn Memorial Laboratory.  The north
side of the museum is linked to Kline Geology Laboratory, just to the
east of the hill.

Peabody Museum is housed in an L-shaped building.  Behind it is another
"L" named Bingham Laboratory.  Together, they form a square around a
courtyard that is now a parking lot.  For several years, planning has
been underway to replace Bingham Laboratory and the parking courtyard
with a major new research building.  Some of the collections housed in
Bingham have already been moved to temporary storage elsewhere.  This
new building will be the Environmental Science Facility mentioned in
the ad.

The official word is that the new department has been allocated 5 slots
for new faculty.  This means several new faculty positions are certain.
I don't know how many, though:  a full professor "costs" 2 slots, and
there is some question about whether the chairman's position comes out
of these 5 slots.

The makeup of the department from existing faculty is still not clear
to me.  I believe it will include all the existing Division V faculty
but other faculty may be included as well. 

I have observed that:

1.  There is a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipation among
    both the faculty and graduate students (undergraduate politicos
    have been aggitating for an organismal department for years now).

2.  When an announcement of this change was made at a recent regional
    population biology meeting, it received the audience's complete
    attention and loud applause.

3.  Hungry postdocs and junior faculty have already started to visit,
    and can be found at the departmental teas, asking questions about
    local housing, teaching loads, graduate student recruiting, etc. 

I expect, and I know we're all hoping, that competition will be stiff
for this new position and the ones to come soon after.  I would guess
they'll want to let the new chairman direct recruitment of additional

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all,

	Una Smith

	Department of Biology
	Yale University

PS:  Yale Peabody Museum's Web site is at http://www.peabody.yale.edu/.