Residential College Deans

The deans of the fourteen residential colleges are the chief academic officer for 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 of college 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 website.

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 when a student is experiencing challenges or engaging in troubling behavior. 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 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 websites, or in emails; noted that the student has been habitually withdrawn or absent without explanation; or observed a marked change or escalation in previously concerning behaviors.

Any concerning 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 Students, Melanie Boyd, at 203-436-4876. If a threat of harm seems imminent, contact the Yale Police directly at 911 (Emergency from any on-campus phone) or 203-432-4400.

A report of concern will not necessarily lead to disciplinary action. Indeed, in most 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 the Student Affairs Office at 203-432-2907.

Academic Dishonesty

Any case of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or cheating, should be referred to the Yale College Executive Committee by emailing 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 possibility of a serious penalty, such as suspension. It should therefore be emphasized that while a penalty such as suspension is possible, the committee always takes into account the seriousness of the offense and the student’s personal and academic situation. A first offense may, depending on the circumstances, result in a lesser penalty. You should therefore urge instructors to trust 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, Rachel Russell, or assistant secretary, Earle Lobo, of the Executive Committee, by emailing

Faculty Advising

In the spring, the residential colleges recommend members of the residential college fellowships as college advisers (advisers to first-year students) for the coming academic year. Most colleges welcome nominations of new faculty member for their fellowships, and you may wish to suggest to your college dean or to the Council of the Heads of College members of your department who are qualified and eager to advise. 

In some larger departments, the DUS designates members of the residential college fellowships to serve as departmental representatives in the various 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 or on your department website. 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 head of college the names of colleagues, new or returning, who have not yet joined a fellowship and who would make good advisers. 

Communication with Students in the Major

The online Yale directory provides the residential college, class year, and email address 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 emails to their majors using the Yale Message system. Your departmental registrar should contact for access and training on this system. Email is often the most efficient way to communicate with individual undergraduates.