Yale-NUS to continue taking visiting profs

Singapore

Yale faculty interested in teaching abroad — or even just getting away from New Haven — will have an ongoing opportunity to apply for visiting faculty positions at the Yale-NUS campus in Singapore.

Last month, Yale-NUS announced that 34 Yale professors will hold temporary faculty positions at the new college over the next four years, and Provost Benjamin Polak and President-elect Peter Salovey announced in a Wednesday statement that Yale-NUS will continue to accept applications for temporary teaching positions in Singapore. The visiting faculty will be able to teach two-week or full-term courses at the Singaporean college on a regular basis. University President Richard Levin said Yale-NUS does not aim to increase dramatically the number of professors who apply to teach in Singapore but rather to provide a means for faculty to apply in the future, adding that the University released the statement in response to questions from professors about the visiting positions at Yale-NUS.

Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said administrators have not set a cap on the number of Yale professors who will travel to Singapore. The number, which currently stands at 34, “might get bigger but also smaller,” he said. Lewis added that the college always planned to make teaching at Yale-NUS a regular opportunity for Yale professors.

“As faculty go over [to Singapore] and experience it, my guess is there’ll be others who hear about it and will want to try it out,” Levin said.

Though Levin said professors will be able to accommodate trips to Singapore to instruct two-week courses in August and March when Yale is not in session, Lewis said Yale-NUS will limit the number of faculty hired to teach semester-long courses to three or four per semester beginning in 2015, before which fewer than three or four professors will visit Yale-NUS per semester. This cap will lessen the burden of absent faculty on Yale departments, according to the statement. Lewis said roughly 200 of Yale’s approximately 700 professors are on leave at any given time, adding that three or four others leaving to teach at Yale-NUS will have a comparatively small impact on the University.

The Yale-NUS appointments committee, which is made up of five senior members of the Yale-NUS faculty including the president and dean of the faculty, will evaluate all applications for visiting faculty positions at the Singaporean college. Salovey told the News on Monday that on Yale’s end, the provost must approve all applications before the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Steering Committee reviews them in the same process as it would review an application for a leave.

Yale-NUS will fund salaries for the FAS professors who teach semester-long courses, and the University will credit a portion of the salary savings in New Haven to the home department of the faculty members in question. The amount that Yale will compensate the professors’ departments will be an approximation of their salaries based on their rank, Lewis said, adding that the amount will reflect the cost to departments of replacing faculty members who leave to teach in Singapore. Lewis also said the use of the credited funds will be up to each department’s discretion, and he added that he expects many departments will use the money to invite speakers or to conduct research. Polak could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The University’s announcement said the Yale-NUS Faculty Advisory Committee, composed of Yale faculty, will evaluate the impact of the Yale-NUS visiting appointments on academic life in New Haven. But French and African-American studies professor Christopher Miller, a noted opponent of Yale-NUS, questioned the objectivity of such an evaluation.

“The body doing the evaluating will be the advisory committee, made up of those already involved in and committed to the project,” Miller said. “So there will be no independent assessment of the impact of Yale-NUS on Yale-New Haven.”

Lewis said roughly half the members of the advisory committee do not serve as visiting or consulting professors at the new college, adding that the committee’s makeup will guarantee a fair evaluation.

Yale-NUS will open in August 2013.

Comments