Yale profs to teach at Yale-NUS

As Yale-NUS prepares to welcome its inaugural class of students, it is constructing a visiting faculty that will include some prominent Yale names.

Though the two institutions will remain separate, 34 Yale faculty members will travel to Singapore over the next four years to teach semester-long courses and intensive one- and two-week seminars. Thirteen of these professors, called consulting faculty, will advise Yale-NUS faculty and administrators on the new college’s curriculum, while also teaching or holding guest lectures at Yale-NUS. Visiting faculty will only receive compensation from Yale-NUS for their teaching at the liberal arts college, while consulting professors, who may continue working from New Haven, will maintain their Yale salaries and receive an honorarium if they choose to teach.

Yale-NUS Dean of Faculty Charles Bailyn said that the presence of Yale professors at the Singaporean liberal arts college will strengthen the links between the two schools, though he added that the two institutions will remain operating independently.

“Even though it’s important that [Yale and Yale-NUS] are two separate institutions, a close relationship between the two is desirable,” Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said. “This is an opportunity for Yale to put its mark on Yale-NUS and for Yale faculty to advise us on how to proceed. One of their big responsibilities will be quality control, to give advice on what’s working and what isn’t working.”

Lewis said the arrangement will benefit Yale faculty interested in learning more about the new college and researching the region while also giving Yale-NUS students a chance to “experience what a Yale classroom is like.” Yale-NUS students will not receive Yale credit upon completing courses taught by Yale faculty.

Lewis and Bailyn said they expected Yale faculty to be a part of the Yale-NUS community since the new liberal arts college was first conceived.

Bailyn added that the 34 professors will not all work at Yale-NUS at the same time, and Lewis said four visiting professors are scheduled to teach at the new college next year.

Lewis said all consulting faculty members have already contributed to the development of the Yale-NUS curriculum, adding that they will continue to give their input in matters such as constructing a tenure system for the college and developing specific majors. Though the visiting professors’ relationship with the college is not as developed, Lewis said they could become the next cohort of consulting professors. He added that Yale-NUS administrators emailed Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences to solicit applications for positions at Yale-NUS.

Twelve visiting professors interviewed said they see the opportunity to teach at Yale-NUS as an adventure and added that they are excited to bring some of the Singaporean college’s curricular innovations back to Yale. Though most of the professors said they are mindful of the political controversies surrounding human rights and civil liberties in Singapore, they added that they expect to pursue their intellectual endeavors unhindered while in Singapore.

“I have spoken with many current faculty at NUS, who have persuaded me that most students and faculty at NUS feel free to speak openly and critically, and I know the leaders of Yale-NUS have worked hard to ensure freedom of inquiry at the new college,” said history professor George Chauncey, who will teach a course on “U.S. Lesbian and Gay History” and a seminar on the global history of gay and anti-gay politics in the 20th century. “I am deeply impressed by the courage, creativity, sophistication and achievements of the many lesbian and gay activists I have met there.”

French professor and Chair of the Humanities Department Howard Bloch said he is particularly interested to see how Yale-NUS integrates great works of both the Eastern and Western traditions in its curriculum, an endeavor he said does not currently exist at Yale. Bloch added that “Yale has much to learn” from the Singaporean college’s curriculum development efforts.

Biology professor Frank Slack said he is excited to experiment with novel pedagogical techniques — such as courses based on active and experiential learning — while teaching at Yale-NUS.

Approximately 40 professors attended an information session about the visiting and consulting professorships at Yale-NUS.

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