Yale-NUS College announces new Dean of Faculty and senior faculty appointments

16 March 2016

Renowned chemist Steven Bernasek appointed as new Dean of Faculty 

Yale-NUS College has appointed Professor Steven L. Bernasek as the new Dean of Faculty, effective 1 July 2016. Professor Bernasek is a Professor of Science (Chemistry) and Director of the Division of Science at Yale-NUS College.

Professor Bernasek was formerly Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University. He received his undergraduate degree from Kansas State University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. An experimental physical chemist, Professor Bernasek’s research interests are in the areas of surface chemistry and chemical physics. Professor Bernasek’s research focuses on the application of gas phase molecular reaction dynamics tools to the study of heterogeneous reactions and he has published over 200 papers in journals such as Journal of Chemical Physics, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Surface Science. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has been a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and has received the American Chemical Society Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry.

Since joining Yale-NUS in July 2015 as Divisional Director of Science, Professor Bernasek has been involved in planning and annual review for the Science division and in the review of the Common Curriculum. Professor Bernasek will take over the deanship from Professor Charles Bailyn, who will be returning to his role as A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University after completing his Dean of Faculty appointment, which he held for more than one term.

Professor Bailyn joined Yale-NUS College as its inaugural Dean of Faculty in 2012, and was instrumental in the design and delivery of the College’s innovative curriculum, together with the inaugural faculty. As Dean of Faculty, Professor Bailyn also led the recruitment and development of the faculty and was part of the initial group to study the feasibility of the College back in 2009. Under his stewardship, the College has recruited over 100 faculty members who are highly qualified in their areas of expertise and have many years of experience in undergraduate teaching. Instead of traditional academic departments, Yale-NUS faculty members belong to one of three broad divisions: Science, Social Sciences or Humanities, which enables interdisciplinary teaching and learning at the College.

On his new appointment, Professor Bernasek said: “I am honored to have been selected for this role as Dean of the Faculty of Yale-NUS College. I am looking forward to working with our faculty to continue developing and enhancing Yale-NUS’ unique curriculum. I am committed to enabling the development and success of our faculty across all the disciplines of the College. I expect to continue working to complete faculty appointments, and to develop the current faculty in their careers. I am grateful for the excellent foundation that Professor Bailyn has provided, and am excited to build upon this foundation and continue to develop our outstanding faculty.”

Outgoing Dean of Faculty, Professor Bailyn said he is excited about next year’s leadership team. “I can’t imagine leaving the Dean of Faculty office and the leadership of the Common Curriculum in better hands than those of Professors Steven Bernasek and Terry Nardin. I will continue to participate from afar but I am sure that the faculty and the curriculum will make great strides next year and in the years to come”.

President of Yale-NUS College Professor Pericles Lewis said: “We are fortunate indeed to have such devoted and distinguished academic leaders for the College. Their expertise and leadership will continue to take the College forward as we continue in our mission to build a community of learning. I am also grateful to Charles Bailyn for his remarkable work as Inaugural Dean of Faculty. As the inaugural Dean, Professor Bailyn had played a crucial role in recruiting the future leadership of Yale-NUS, and as he returns to Yale later this year, he will be handling his responsibilities to very capable successors.”

Newly created position of Director of Common Curriculum

A unique feature of the Yale-NUS curriculum is the Common Curriculum, a set of interconnected courses designed to provide all Yale-NUS students with a shared, intensive exploration of themes and topics ranging across all the academic disciplines, from science to the humanities. The Common Curriculum is now in its third year and has received good support from Yale-NUS faculty and students. Following an extensive review of the Common Curriculum by Yale University, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Yale-NUS College, a key recommendation was to look into various ways to strengthen coordination of the delivery and development of the courses, in order to enhance the learning experience for our students. Hence, to further strengthen this distinctive aspect of a Yale-NUS education, the College has created a new senior position to strengthen the coordination of courses, staffing, and resources for the Common Curriculum.

Professor Terry Nardin was appointed as the Director of the Common Curriculum in February 2016. Professor Nardin joined Yale-NUS in 2015 as Professor of Social Sciences (Political Science) but has been involved in recruiting faculty for Yale-NUS for several years as Professor and formerly Head of the Political Science Department at NUS, which he joined in 2006. A noted scholar of political theory and the ethical dimensions of international relations, Professor Nardin has served as a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellow, a Visitor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, and a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He studied philosophy at the University of Chicago and New York University and received his PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University. Before joining the faculty at NUS, he was Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

At Yale-NUS, Professor Nardin is teaching the Common Curriculum course in Philosophy and Political Thought and was involved in the College’s review of its curriculum. In his new role, he will be responsible for coordinating the Common Curriculum and for ensuring the highest standards in the design and delivery of this crucial element of the College’s offerings.

“All Yale-NUS students take the same set of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural courses that is a distinguishing feature of the College. To sustain this vital aspect of a Yale-NUS education, we must help our students understand the aims of the Common Curriculum. It is equally important that both students and faculty find their experience in these courses exciting and rewarding,” said Professor Nardin.

Attracting leading educators from around the world 

In July 2016, Professor Naoko Shimazu, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, will join the College as Professor of Humanities (History) and Head of Studies in History. Professor Shimazu is a Research Associate of SOAS, University of London; the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism; and the Modern East Asian Research Centre of the University of Leiden; and was previously a Visiting Senior Research Fellow of the Asia Research Institute at NUS.

In Academic Year 2017/2018, Professor Joanne Roberts and Associate Professor Eugene Choo will join the College. Professor Joanne Roberts, formerly a visiting professor at Yale-NUS College and Canada Research Chair in the Economics of Organizations at the University of Calgary, will join the College as Professor of Social Sciences (Economics), Director of the Social Sciences Division, and Associate Dean of Faculty (Faculty Development). In the latter role, Professor Roberts will assist the Dean of Faculty in overseeing the process of annual reviews, tenure, and promotion for the Yale-NUS faculty. Professor Choo, who previously served as Visiting Associate Professor at Yale-NUS, will be appointed as Associate Professor of Social Sciences (Economics) and Head of Studies in Economics. Professor Choo has won a number of awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as well as the Excellence in Refereeing Award of the American Economic Review.

To date, the College has recruited over 100 faculty from leading colleges and universities around the world. The biographies of the new senior faculty members can be found in the Annex. For a list of faculty members, please visit: https://www.yale-nus.edu.sg/about/faculty


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