Pam Bosward, who recently retired from Yale, has served in a wide range of roles in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). She started her Yale career in the Department of Political Science in 2001. She joined the FAS Dean’s Office at its inception in 2014 as the executive assistant to the FAS Dean, a role that combined supporting the dean and managing the faculty search and promotion process for the 50-some departments and programs in the FAS. These two roles were split in 2015, and she assumed the position of Faculty Appointment and Promotions Coordinator for the FAS. Since 2017, Pam has worked as assistant director for Faculty Affairs. In that role, she serves as the first point of contact for department administrators seeking information regarding policies and procedures related to faculty searches, appointments, and promotions, and works on a variety of other projects in the FAS Dean’s office.
As assistant director for Faculty Affairs, Pam developed processes to make sure that the faculty hiring, promotions, and appointment processes are effective and transparent. She works closely with faculty and staff across the FAS. To department chairs, department staff, and faculty members and staff across campus, Pam is a trusted and highly-respected ambassador of the FAS Dean’s Office.
She took the time to talk to us about her time at Yale, and her interest outside of work and her plans for the near future after her retirement.
You did your BA in Psychology at Eastern Connecticut State College. Are you originally from the New Haven area?
Yes, I grew up in the countryside of east Wallingford, and now live in Hamden with my husband on five acres of land in a house that overlooks Sleeping Giant Park. I have two grown sons with families of their own and have three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.
You have held many different positions over the years at Yale. Do you have a favorite one?
I think my position in the FAS Dean’s Office is my favorite. It is so interesting to interact with people from different disciplines and to hear about their research. I also enjoy interacting with the administrative staff in the departments. It really adds immensely to the job and makes it a diverse experience.
Do you have any favorite Yale memories?
Oh, definitely! When I was working in the Physics department, I once got a phone call from a woman asking to speak with a psychic because we trained them in our department. When I explained that this was the physics department, she said she was from an alternate universe, really needed to speak with someone, and would not listen to me when I told her she was looking in the wrong place.
Looking back, what made you want to work at Yale?
At the time I started at Yale, I was a single mom, working in a job that I didn’t enjoy, and I was looking for a place that would offer a career with opportunities and a chance to advancement.
As someone with this much experience and insight into the inner workings of the FAS, what changes have you witnessed at Yale over the years? Can you give advice to the people following in your footsteps?
Well, the FAS Dean’s office was established only in 2014, the year I started working in the office. At the beginning, we were only a staff of three, not counting the deans, and there were few procedures in place, so we had to hit the ground running which was really challenging! My advice to my replacement would be to always ask questions and realize when you need to send a question up to someone at a higher level.
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
I actually own a small cut flower farm in Hamden. I have cultivated my interest in flowers for years but it wasn’t until two years ago that I actually decided to open my cut flower farm business. I start all of my seedlings and store thousands of dahlia tubers over the winter in my basement. While we own five acres, I’m currently growing only on half an acre but hope to expand that and build a greenhouse to extend the seasons.
Can you share a few fun facts about yourself?
For over 20 years I hiked with and went on backpacking trips with a group of eight other women throughout the United States and Canada. We call ourselves the “Wild Women”. We have done several hikes over 10,000 feet, with a couple over 12,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. Our trips usually last about five to eight days, but occasionally we have done long weekend hikes. So generally, I like to spend a lot of time outdoors!
Interview by Anima von Waldstein, Graduate Communications Fellow in the FAS Dean’s Office