The Residential College Deans

The deans of the twelve residential colleges are in charge in a general way of the academic programs of the students in their colleges. The college deans know their undergraduates well, and you may count on them for willing help in any matter connected with a student’s progress in the major. On their part, the college deans often seek advice from the DUS about the department’s offerings, about variations of requirements within the major, and about special situations involving individual students in the major. This section of the handbook discusses the chief areas in which the DUS and the college dean have common business.

The names of the residential college deans and heads and of their administrative assistants, together with their contact information, may be found in the Yale College Dean’s Office Directory.

Academic or Personal Problems of Students

You should strongly encourage instructors to notify a student’s college dean whenever a student is in academic trouble or when there seems to be a basis for concern about the student’s health or personal welfare. The college deans are eager for early warning of any such difficulties, and their intervention is often of considerable help.

Every instructor has a responsibility for maintaining the safety of the community and its individual members. Yale is fortunate to have a police force, security personnel, and its own health and counseling services, as well as specialists in environmental safety and emergency preparedness, to maintain public safety. Information about these services and contact details can be found on the University’s Public Safety Web site.

But all of these professionals necessarily rely on each member of the Yale community to help identify potential threats of harm or violence and to connect support services to people who seem to be at risk or to be putting others at risk. Because of your regular contact with Yale undergraduates, you may be one of the first to notice a student who is troubled or troubling. It is important to communicate your observations and concerns to those who can best assess such information and manage such situations.

On occasion, you may become worried that the behavior of one of your students or advisees poses a risk of harm either to the student himself or herself or to others, including yourself. You may, for example, have observed disruptive or significantly inappropriate behavior in class; overheard or read threatening statements made in person, in writing, on Web sites, or in e-mails; or noted that the student has been habitually withdrawn or absent without explanation. A marked change or escalation in any previously concerning behaviors may be a matter of particular concern.

Any disturbing behaviors should be reported to the student’s residential college dean. The residential college dean is likely to know the student personally and can evaluate what sort of intervention needs to be made, whether by the dean or by others. If the residential college dean is unavailable or if your concern involves a group of students, contact the Dean of Student Affairs, Dean W. Marichal Gentry, at 432-2907 or marichal.gentry@yale.edu. If a threat of violence seems imminent, contact the Yale Police directly at 911 (Emergency from any on-campus phone) or 432-4400.

A report of concern will not necessarily lead to disciplinary action. Indeed, in many cases, counseling or some other risk reduction strategy is the most likely next step. If you have any questions about what to report, or to whom to report it, please contact Dean W. Marichal Gentry at 432-2907.

Academic Dishonesty

Any case of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or cheating, should be referred to the Yale College Executive Committee through the secretary of that committee, Dean Pamela George, 110 SSS, 432-2914. Yale College policy requires that any allegation of academic dishonesty be resolved, for the sake of equity and uniformity, through the Executive Committee and not by private arrangement. If an instructor discovers a case of plagiarism or cheating and reports it to you or seeks your counsel about it, you should advise the instructor to get in touch immediately with the secretary of the Yale College Executive Committee. The secretary will advise the instructor how to bring the matter before the Executive Committee. The disciplinary procedures of the committee require that the instructor forward a formal charge of academic dishonesty to the committee, accompanied by the materials that describe and support it. One of the reasons an instructor might be reluctant to forward a case of plagiarism or cheating to the committee is the well-known fact that the penalty in Yale College for academic dishonesty is required withdrawal for a period of a year. It should therefore be emphasized that while a year’s suspension is the ordinary penalty, the committee always takes into account the seriousness of the offense and the student’s personal and academic situation, and that the ordinary penalty is not the inevitable one. A first offense may, in extenuating circumstances, result in probation, and in certain circumstances the committee suspends a student for only one term. You should therefore urge instructors to trust to the committee’s judgment and common sense. And in any event, the faculty has designated the Executive Committee as the agency to review cases of academic dishonesty, and other means of dealing with them should be energetically discouraged. The DUS or an instructor should never hesitate to seek advice on this matter from a student’s college dean or from the secretary or chair of the Executive Committee.

Faculty Advising

In the spring, the residential colleges nominate members of the college fellowships to the Yale College Dean’s Office for appointment as freshman faculty advisers for the coming academic year. Since in most colleges some attempt is made to match freshmen with advisers in a field in which the freshmen have declared a special interest, you may wish to suggest to the college dean suitable members of the department from the college’s fellowship for these appointments. In some departments, the DUS designates members of the fellowship to serve as departmental representatives in the various residential colleges to advise majors and prospective majors in those colleges. The names of these departmental representatives should be reported to the college deans if they have not already been published in the YCPS. If the fellowship of a particular college lacks a member of the faculty from a department, the DUS or chair might wish to suggest to the college head the names of colleagues who have not yet joined a fellowship and who would make good advisers.

Communication with Students in the Major

The online Yale directory can provide the campus address and phone number of individual undergraduates. Another online resource is the Yale Facebook, which is accessible to faculty members currently teaching in Yale College. The Facebook displays pictures of students, their declared major, and other pertinent information.

Departments can send group e-mails to their majors using the Message II system. Your departmental registrar should contact Gloria Hoda for access and training on this system.

All undergraduates have electronic mail accounts, so it is usually quick and reliable to transmit messages by e-mail. If you send a letter to a student through campus mail, it should be addressed to the student’s room number rather than simply in care of the residential college. A heavy volume of mail must be sorted and delivered by the college heads’ staffs, so incomplete addresses are unwelcome. For students who live off campus, the U.S. Postal Service should be used.