Top Yale scholars on teaching stints to Singapore’s first liberal arts college

13 February 2013

When Singapore’s first liberal arts college officially opens its doors in August this year, its students will have access to some of Yale University’s top scholars who are experts in their fields.

34 Yale scholars will visit Yale-NUS College over the next four years to teach courses and give guest lectures in disciplines that cut across the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. Some will teach mini-courses of up to two weeks, while others will stay for a full semester.

These top scholars bring with them years of experience in undergraduate teaching. Visiting Yale Faculty will primarily conduct classes and give guest lectures, while Consulting Yale Faculty will also be involved in the further development of the Yale-NUS Curriculum, on top of their teaching and lecturing responsibilities.

Professor Pericles Lewis, President of Yale-NUS College, notes that the commitment and support these Yale faculty members are giving to the new College is extremely beneficial to students. “Imagine being able to learn from these top scholars, and having the opportunity to discuss, debate and analyse issues together with them. This will augment the active learning that the students will already gain from the permanent faculty of the College and broaden their academic exposure,” says President Lewis.

Yale’s Professor of Political Science, Bryan Garsten hopes to teach in a seminar format, as well as give lectures at Yale-NUS. In his lectures, Professor Garsten links the history of political thought with contemporary issues, so that students view their studies as a way of deepening and challenging their thinking about politics today. “I try to create a classroom environment full of discussion, questioning and debate. I always come into the classroom curious about how students will respond to the texts we read, and I am looking forward to learning how the responses at Yale-NUS differ from those at Yale,” he adds.

Professor Garsten also shares his views on how Yale-NUS can contribute to the changing higher education landscape. He says, “The landscape in higher education is changing dramatically, with the advent of online content and with a new international focus. I hope that Yale-NUS College will help show why residential liberal arts colleges should remain a crucial feature in this changing landscape.”

The opportunity to teach at Yale-NUS appeals to Yale’s Professor of History, Valerie Hansen very much. “Yale-NUS is exciting because of its brand-new curriculum. And Singapore is particularly attractive because of its proximity to so many important ports on the maritime Silk Road. I love teaching on-site, because visiting historic sites and museums makes it possible to bring history to life in the classroom,” says Professor Hansen, who teaches History of Traditional China, The First World Historians, and gives seminars on Silk Road history at Yale.

President Lewis adds, “There has been a lot of enthusiasm among Yale faculty to teach at Yale-NUS, and we expect to announce more visitors in the future.”

For a list of the 34 Yale scholars and their bios, please visit: