Psychologist Peter Salovey is Yale’s next president
Courtesy of Yale University
Yale University has selected as its next president Peter
Salovey, PhD, a psychologist known internationally
for his work in the areas of emotional intelligence and
health behavior. Salovey, who starts his presidency
on July 1, will be the first Yale president who has held
almost every type of administrative post on the ladder
to the presidency, including department chair, dean of
the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, dean of Yale
College and provost.
“Peter has done everything here except sweep the
floors,” says Yale psychology professor John Dovidio,
PhD, adding that faculty have particularly admired
Salovey’s fiscal leadership as provost. Salovey took the
job just after the country slid into the recession, which
hit Yale’s endowments hard.
“He brought a stable, transparent leadership during a
very difficult financial time, making a number of tough
decisions, but always allowing people to see where it was
leading and why he was doing it,” says Dovidio.
While Salovey knows the university well, he plans to
spend the next few months gathering feedback from the
Yale community to inform his presidency.
“I am on a listening tour, talking to students, staff,
faculty, deans, directors and trustees and discussing
what we need to do together to make Yale a better
university,” he says.
His presidency will have four themes: making Yale
more innovative, making it more accessible to students
beyond the campus, helping the university excel in all its
endeavors, and promoting interconnections among the
university’s many schools and departments.
In addition to working with faculty, students and
staff, he’ll also focus on collaborating with other
administrators in higher education. “I am looking
forward to being part of a group that tries to address
problems facing higher education beyond just this campus,” he
says. “I am especially concerned about the availability of funds
for research and scholarship.”
Salovey earned his undergraduate degree in psychology
from Stanford in 1980 and his psychology doctorate from Yale
in 1986 and joined the social psychology department faculty
soon after. He won two of Yale’s most prestigious teaching
awards, and has maintained a lab in the psychology department
and continued to mentor psychology graduate students and
undergraduates even as an administrator. Salovey is also
known for his visibility around campus. As dean, he walked
“Handsome Dan,” Yale’s bulldog mascot, at football games and
Dr. Peter Salovey officially assumes the Yale presidency on July 1.
conducted the marching band on occasion, and he plays double
bass in the school’s student and faculty bluegrass band, The
Professors of Bluegrass.
Beyond Yale, Salovey is known throughout the world for
developing the concept of emotional intelligence with John D.
Mayer, PhD, at the University of New Hampshire. His expertise
in that area has shaped his leadership style, adds Dovidio.
“He understands that while faculty can be very logical and
intellectual, there are also a lot of emotions that come with a
lot of the issues that he deals with,” says Dovidio. “He has that
good, full picture of it all.”