Robbie Short

The new office of former Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis is scattered with memorabilia and photos of the school he helped found just five years ago. But Lewis’ office overlooks Timothy Dwight College, not Yale-NUS campus, as he assumes the roles of inaugural vice president for global strategy and deputy provost for international affairs for the University this fall.

Lewis, who became the first person to hold both positions at the beginning of this academic year, oversees Yale’s global presence and coordinates with schools and programs that have international initiatives. He reports to both University President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak. He also will head the Office of International Affairs, which supports faculty members in international partnerships, and the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Lewis has similar duties to former Senior Counselor to the President and Provost Linda Lorimer, who retired two years ago and whose position was ultimately dissolved. Although her work had an international focus, Lorimer oversaw administrative tasks such as the Yale University Press and Yale online education during her three-year tenure in the position. But Lewis will solely oversee Yale’s global initiatives.

“My goal is and my instruction from President Salovey is make sure there is a close alignment with global initiatives and our academic priorities,” Lewis said.

Over the first few months of his tenure, Lewis said he has conferred with faculty members and deans to better understand the pre-existing international priorities for academic units and has reached out to donors and alumni to advise the University on international strategy. In early 2018, Lewis and his advisory committee will present findings and a vision for future global priorities to Salovey.

Similar efforts to identify institutional priorities are underway across campus. Last January, Polak commissioned Vice President for West Campus Planning and Program Development Scott Strobel to lead a University-wide science strategy committee. By the end of the academic year, the committee will produce a five- to 10-year academic plan listing specific objectives the University should pursue in the sciences and detailing the resources required to achieve them. This fall, the University established a similar commission to formulate long-term priorities in the humanities.

Lewis will confer with other committees tasked with identifying institutional priorities, such as a committee at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs chaired by Judy Chevalier, to offer international support for academic endeavors.

“We want to make sure that the work at the level of the institution -— partnerships with other international institutions, for example — were closely tied with the academic priorities for internationalizing education on our campus,” Salovey told the News.

Lewis is also preparing a proposal for a new institute for global health to be presented at the Yale Corporation’s December meeting. The institute — a collaboration between the deans of the School of Public Health, the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine — would serve as an interdepartmental center for global health research.

Yale faculty members are already working to expand health capacity throughout the developing world, Lewis said. The Global Health Leadership Institute launched the Primary Health Care Transformation Initiative, a Gates Foundation–funded program, to develop the system of primary care delivery in Ethiopia. At the School of Medicine, Marcella Nunez-Smith MED ’06 founded the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes and Research Network, a research collaboration across four eastern Caribbean islands, which studies eating habits and health behaviors associated with cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“For several years now, we’ve been growing our capacity in global health,” Lewis said. “But we’re not among the five leading universities in global health, and we have the potential to be one of the top universities in global health if this project is successful.”

Lewis is also leading the search for an executive director for the Schwarzman Center, a campus center to be completed in 2020.

Bringing experience from Singapore to Yale, Lewis also intends to continue to strengthen the relationship between the University and Yale-NUS. He said he hopes to maintain the flow of visiting scholars from Singapore to New Haven and increase opportunities for students at Yale to study at Yale-NUS. Already, 120 Yale faculty members have visited Singapore to develop curriculums and teach, but Lewis wants to grow programs that allow Yale-NUS faculty members on sabbatical to visit and teach courses at Yale.

Yale-NUS College was founded in April 2011.

Hailey Fuchs |