Ava Kofman

As Yale-NUS works to develop its alumni base and improve its international standing, the young Singaporean liberal arts college has appointed its current Dean for International and Professional Experience Trisha Craig GRD ’93 to serve as its inaugural Vice President of Engagement.

According to an April 16 press release from Yale-NUS, Craig assumed the new position on April 15. She will oversee “the College’s initiatives and activities in the areas of external engagement, alumni affairs and summer programming” and build partnerships with “key stakeholders within Singapore, the region and the world at large,” the release said. In addition to creating Craig’s new position, the College is also in the process of establishing a Vice President for Engagement Office. This office will facilitate relationships with the “wider community” by organizing events such as talks and seminars that “will allow our academic community to share their knowledge with the community at large,” according to Yale-NUS President Tan Tai Yong.

“As the College matures, we must keep evolving to best support the College’s vision and mission,” Tan wrote in an email to the News. “With a growing alumni pool and a stronger footprint in the international area, as we build up our programmes and establish and refine our curriculum, it is timely that more focus is placed on alumni affairs, summer programming, and events and development as the College strives to reach not just our community’s needs but that of the wider community as well.”

As the College’s Dean of International and Professional Experience, Craig works with partner institutions, employers, alumni, guest speakers and leadership content providers, the press release read. She leads the Center for International and Professional Experience, which helps students find study abroad opportunities and provides career services, graduate and professional school advising and leadership training to Yale-NUS students.

Craig will concurrently serve in this role as she serves as Vice President for Engagement, putting “even more focus … on life-long learning and expanding CIPE’s support programmes for Yale-NUS alumni so they continue to have access to more networking opportunities, knowledge exchange and skills training, even after they have left the College,” Tan said.

“It is a big role but two aspects make balancing the components of it manageable: the synergies between what we’ve already been doing are quite extensive and the team at CIPE is incredibly strong so that as the overall portfolio grows, the team leads at CIPE will ensure that the centre runs smoothly,” Craig wrote in an email to the News.

In her new role, Craig will also focus on building partnerships with academic partners and other stakeholders around the world that will allow the school to expand its “experiential learning” opportunities. Yale-NUS emphasizes this type of learning through its “Learning Across Boundaries” programs — faculty-led experiential learning programs in Singapore and abroad which allow professors to share their scholarship in a non-classroom setting, according to the press release.

Craig said that she most looks forward to engaging further with alumni, especially as they face changing needs at different stages of their lives and careers. She added that she also wishes to promote more mentorship and engagement between current students and alumni by inviting alumni back for panels at the college, or inviting alumni to join students for meals when students travel to their cities for faculty-led experiential learning trips abroad.

“At the Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE), we have a lot of contact with students throughout their four years and in some way it’s an extension of that,” Craig said. “But seeing them develop their careers and adult lives and hearing about the ways they are making their mark on the world is just amazing.”

Craig said that the new vice president of engagement office is currently in the process of hiring an associate director of alumni relations and event management, and plans to pull from existing staff from the College. She added that she hopes to develop part-time student positions on the team as well.

Yale-NUS’s class of 2019 will be the third cohort to graduate from the college.

Asha Prihar | asha.prihar@yale.edu

Asha Prihar served as managing editor of the News during the 2019-20 academic year. Before that, she covered community service, Yale's professional schools and undergraduate student life as a staff reporter. She is a senior in Silliman College studying political science.