Benjamin Polak, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Economics, the William C. Brainard Professor of Economics, and professor of management, was appointed provost of the university in December. He replaces Peter Salovey, Ph.D., who can now focus on preparing for his next assignment as president—the role that he assumes on June 30. Salovey replaces Richard C. Levin, who is retiring after 20 years as president of Yale.
Polak joined the Yale faculty in 1994 and has made important contributions to decision theory, game theory, and economic history. He received the William Clyde DeVane Medal for undergraduate teaching and scholarship in Yale College in 2005 and the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences in Yale College in 2006. In 1998 Polak won both the Graduate Teaching Prize and the Graduate Advising Prize in the Department of Economics; he was honored again with the Graduate Teaching Prize in 2005.
Polak was appointed the inaugural William C. Brainard Professor of Economics in 2008, and two years later was appointed chair of the Department of Economics. A member of the University Budget Committee, Polak has a strong grasp of the university’s budgetary and financial conditions. He has also served on the executive committees of the MacMillan Center and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and as a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center and a visiting instructor at the Yale Law School.