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Berkeley Students React to Chun’s Appointment as Dean of Yale College

On Thursday afternoon, Marvin Chun, the Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology and professor of neuroscience, was announced as the new dean of Yale College. He is the first Asian-American to serve as dean and will assume his role on July 1.

From 2007 to 2016, Chun served as the head of Berkeley College, during which time he “developed a deep understanding of Yale undergraduate life,” according to President Peter Salovey. As a head of college, Chun was responsible for the social, artistic and intellectual life within Berkeley.

Chun is known for his research in behavioral methods and brain imaging as well as his teaching. He has been honored multiple time for his leadership in the classroom, winning both the Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences and the Phi Beta Kappa William DeClyde Devane Award which recognizes character and scholarship.

The Politic reached out to students in Berkeley College about the announcement. Here are their reactions:

Stella Shannon ’18

Professor Chun played an instrumental role in fostering a familial, supportive climate within Berkeley College. Professor Chun’s commitment to celebrating the Berkeley community through special semesterly dinners helped students across all years and disciplines within the residential college find a common sense of unity—it is this natural devotion to low-stakes community building and interpersonal connection that made Professor Chun an incredible role model and leader for Berkeley students. Through his leadership as Head of Berkeley College, Professor Chun demonstrated his genuine desire to connect with students and play a real role in the lives of Yale undergraduates. From meetings over formal, career-related matters to impromptu dining hall chats, Professor Chun is committed and authentic—aspects of character that he shares with Dean Holloway and which render both of them important role models for Yalies.

Alexander O’Neill ‘20

My experience with now-Dean Chun was small, but it made my first year at Yale much more fulfilling. He invited our FroCo group to his home and taught us about the importance of basic things like sleep, exercise, and study breaks. I was an overambitious freshman and thought that by constantly working and studying without breaks I’d be more efficient. He taught me that actually to be most effective is to recognize my own limits and work within them. He undoubtedly helped me develop my work ethic to be more enjoyable and efficient, which in turn has helped me enjoy Yale better.

Grace Jin ‘20

Although I just missed having the Chuncellor as my Berkeley head of college, all my “confused freshman major” dreams came true when Yale announced that a new Neuroscience major will be offered next year with Marvin Chun as the DUS. I immediately reached out, and Professor Chun was so responsive, approachable, and helpful! From our first meeting, even little things like the bowl of chocolates in his office, I could tell that he genuinely cares about the students he advises. It is incredible how much he has contributed to Yale College, and I am so excited to have him as an advisor and Dean next year!

Liam Arnade Colwill ‘19

I’m absolutely thrilled that Marvin Chun has been named the next Dean of Yale College. Throughout his tenure as Head of Berkeley College, he showed a profound dedication to enriching the life of undergraduate students. The Yale community will thrive under his leadership.

Jaclyn Price ‘19

Yale made a wonderful decision in choosing Master Chun to take over as Dean of Yale College. Chun brought a dedication to his role as Master that created a home within Berkeley and I’m certain he will bring the same to his role as Dean– I can’t wait to see the Yale he will help to build. While I am sad to see Dean Holloway leave I can think of no one better suited than Master Chun to follow him.

Gwen Wheeler ‘20

The moment I stepped onto the grounds of my residential college at the beginning of this year, I heard murmurs about a man named “The Chuncellor.” Little did I know that this was not a mispronunciation of the word chancellor, but rather a nickname given to the beloved previous Head of Berkeley College, Dr. Marvin Chun. Now that Dr. Chun has been named the next Dean of Yale College, his name has once again resurfaced, but this time in the form of excited shouts, not murmurs. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Dr. Chun since my arrival here this past fall, and I am excited that I too will be able to experience his enthusiasm, kindness, and wisdom.

If you are a Berkeley student and would like your response to be included in this article, please email thepoliticonline@gmail.com with a 100-word reaction.