50-strong faculty to teach at Yale-NUS College when it starts

26 April 2013

Singapore’s first liberal arts college continues to attract leading educators from around the world

With about three months before it opens its doors, Singapore’s first liberal arts college continues to attract some of the brightest minds from around the world to be part of its inaugural faculty. The recent appointments of new faculty members, including several leading educators and distinguished researchers, brings faculty strength of the new College to 50 as it prepares to welcome its inaugural batch of students in August this year.

Professor Pericles Lewis, Founding President of Yale-NUS College, describes the new faculty members as an impressive group who has shown tremendous passion in undergraduate teaching. Handpicked from over 2500 applications, this group will join a dedicated group of 40 faculty members who have spent the past year preparing an innovative curriculum. He says, “Together, the inaugural faculty bring decades of relevant liberal arts teaching experience and impressive research profiles to the College. There will be so much that students can learn from them,” he says.

Yale-NUS’ Dean of Faculty, Professor Charles Bailyn adds that the College continues to be successful in attracting faculty with the highest levels of commitment to both undergraduate teaching and research. “I’m particularly pleased with this group of new colleagues because they broaden our coverage in so many ways, providing a greater range of opportunities for our students,” he says.

Senior educators who will join Yale-NUS full time include Professor Robin Hemley, renowned author of ten well-received books of nonfiction and fiction; Professor Scott Cook, who specialises in pre-imperial textual studies and early Chinese intellectual history; Professor Jay L. Garfield, who specialises in Philosophy and Buddhism; and Professor Michael Maniates, who will play a leading role in Yale-NUS’ Environmental Studies Program.

Building the Yale-NUS Writing Program

In particular, Professor Hemley will concurrently serve as Director of the College’s Writing Program. Since 2004, Professor Hemley has served as the Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, the top-ranked nonfiction program in the United States. He has also won multiple literary awards, including the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

At Yale-NUS, Professor Hemley will be in charge of building the College’s Writing Program, which includes a creative writing program that covers both fiction and non-fiction, as well as providing advice to students at all levels to improve their writing skills. The Writing Program will also provide a focus for faculty members who want to enhance the effectiveness of the writing exercises in courses all across the curriculum and cutting across disciplines.

Professor Hemley speaks of his delight to be a part of Yale-NUS, which he describes as a “unique educational venture”. He says, “I have spent a lot of my career building programs, and my professional interests have long been in the Pacific Rim. I’m excited by the possibility of helping to build the Writing Program at Yale-NUS, and as a firm believer in the value of the liberal arts, I can’t imagine a more meaningful contribution to higher education.”

Inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Professor of Chinese Studies and Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities

In recognition of their teaching and research excellence, Professor Scott Cook and Professor Jay Garfield have also been named the inaugural holders of two named professorships, the result of gifts from the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation and Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple.

As the inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Professor of Chinese Studies, and the inaugural Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Professor of Humanities respectively, Professor Cook and Professor Garfield will contribute to the College’s continued and expanding efforts to strengthen its standing internationally.

Professor Cook notes that Yale-NUS presents direct and practical learning opportunities for students that are unparalleled in the world, and at the same time, combines the rich and diverse historical experience of two of the world’s leading academic institutions. He adds, “Young as the College itself is, I believe that Yale-NUS is poised to quickly become a global leader in higher education for the next century, and I am excited to play a role in helping to further shape and refine its one-of-a-kind curriculum.”

Professor Garfield is looking forward to new interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, trans-national collaborations at the College. He says, “I am also looking forward to working with motivated, creative and talented students and colleagues, and to working in a community committed to building something entirely new, an Asian liberal arts college with a truly global curriculum.”

Augmenting the College’s Science Faculty

In addition, the Science Division of Yale-NUS has been augmented with the appointments of established researchers such as Associate Professor Neil Clarke (Life Sciences), Associate Professor Martin Weissman (Mathematics), Assistant Professor Alex Cook (Statistics) and Singaporean Assistant Professor Ng Hui Khoon (Physics). Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Anne Kreps will also join the Humanities Division.

The College has plans to hire a total of 100 faculty members over the next several years.  Rather than traditional academic departments, Yale-NUS faculty will teach between three divisions: Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. For a list of faculty members, please visit: https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/about/faculty/#yale-nus-faculty