One year after Yale announced that it would partner with the National University of Singapore to open a liberal arts college in Asia, the schools are taking their first steps toward building an entire faculty for their project.
Since University President Richard Levin announced the plan on Sept. 12, 2010, both universities have moved ahead with the project and are preparing for the institution’s fall 2013 opening. With two years to go until Yale-NUS welcomes its first class of students, administrators have already worked out general design plans for the facility and outlines of course offerings. Now, they are searching for the first crop of professors who will help mold the curriculum.
The two universities have set up three committees to oversee recruitment efforts in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. They will advertise job openings in major education media such as the Chronicle of Higher Education this week, said Charles Bailyn, the inaugural dean of the faculty for Yale-NUS. The search will launch globally in the next few weeks, he said, and will aim to recruit a well-rounded group of academics.
The search is unusual in its breadth, Bailyn said.
“Usually when you’re hiring a faculty member here, you’re hiring for a specific disciplinary area,” he said. “We’re interested in hiring in every field.”
Administrators hope to have 35 professors on staff when the school welcomes its initial class of 250 students at the start of the 2013-’14 academic year, and Bailyn said he hopes that Yale-NUS will hire at least a dozen of those teachers in this first wave.
Professors at Yale-NUS will earn salaries equivalent to the high end of the American academic pay scale, Bailyn said, and will receive benefits comparable to the health care, sabbatical leaves, research funding and relocation fees covered by U.S. universities.
Bailyn said he thinks the job will be “quite competitive at an international level.”
“We want a group of people which has a lot of diversity,” he said. “We want different disciplines, different personal backgrounds, United States, non-United States, educated in the U.S. but born in Asia … We also want people at different career stages.”
Despite the goal of creating a diverse faculty, Deborah Davis, a Yale sociology professor who is chairing the social sciences hiring committee, said Yale-NUS will likely hire more experienced than inexperienced professors at first.
She estimated that roughly 70 percent of the initial faculty will consist of professors who already have tenure.
“When you’re starting a university, you want established, innovative leaders,” Davis said. “You’re not going to build a new college on people who are just starting their careers.”
With the liberal arts curriculum still in development, the new faculty will have the opportunity to shape Yale-NUS courses.
Bailyn said he expects that the opportunity to refine and tailor classes without precedents will be a major draw for professors.
“This is an institution that doesn’t have such constraints,” he said. “For people that have been trying to do something and have been stymied by the traditions of the institution that they are at, this can be exciting.”
Yale and NUS faculty will share responsibility for hiring the joint college’s first professors. Each of the three Yale-NUS hiring committees consists of three Yale faculty and three NUS professors, with a Yale chair and NUS co-chair, Bailyn said. English and comparative literature professor Pericles Lewis is chairing the committee for humanities, while Bailyn is chairing the committee for the sciences.
Not all aspects of the Yale-NUS college are collaborative: As part of its agreement with the Singaporean government and NUS, Yale will not fund the new liberal arts college.
In order to pay faculty salaries and other expenses at the new college, NUS administrators have reached out to donors in Singapore and across Asia to support the new college, Levin said, adding that he has helped solicit some donors to the project.
“By and large we’re not going after Yale’s donor base, but talking to supporters of NUS or other new people who might be interested in this idea,” Levin said. “[Philanthropy] is a newer tradition in Asia, but it’s really growing.”
Any donations will be invested as part of a new endowment for Yale-NUS, Levin said. But as a financial capital of Asia, a Singaporean committee — and not the Yale Investments Office — will manage the investments.
On Nov. 1, hiring committees plan to begin reviewing applications. They aim to have at least 12 to 15 candidates signed on by May 2012, Davis said.
Yale-NUS plans to hire 100 faculty over the next three to four years, Levin told the News in March.