Former Yale College Dean Marvin Chun to spend Spring 2023 semester teaching at Yale-NUS
Dr. Marvin Chun, Professor Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Associate Professor Jonathan Wyrtzen and Dr. Leslie Gross-Wyrtzen will be traveling from New Haven to Singapore this Spring as the first Yale faculty to assume visiting teaching positions since the start of the pandemic.
Courtesy of Yale News
Marvin Chun – who stepped down from the post of Yale College Dean last Spring – will assume a visiting teaching post at Yale-NUS in Singapore next semester.
Chun will be one of four Yale professors temporarily parting ways with their positions in New Haven in the coming calendar year – and one of the first four to travel overseas as visiting faculty since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Yale-NUS administration, all visiting faculty are expected to return back to their Yale University teaching posts at the end of the semester.
“As part of our regular interactions with Yale University, Yale faculty have been visiting the College to teach courses, give guest lectures and provide leadership, hence enriching the academic life on campus,” David Post, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Yale-NUS, wrote to the News.
Professor Chun did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but David Post confirmed Chun’s status as one of the four professors visiting Yale-NUS next Spring.
Yale-NUS is a four-year, fully-residential liberal arts college based in Singapore. The school was founded in 2011 out of a relationship between Yale and the National University of Singapore. It was the first Yale institution developed outside of New Haven in the University’s 300 year history. It was announced last year that Yale-NUS will close in 2025.
Professor Woo-Kyoung Ahn, John Hay Whitney Professor Psychology and Chun’s wife, told the News that she will be teaching a course titled “Topics in Thinking” during her Semester at Yale-NUS. She explained that she has been teaching the same course as a senior seminar while at Yale.
Ahn will also be supervising some students’ senior theses and told the News she hopes to engage in cross-cultural studies with other faculty members and students. Ahn, who is originally from Korea, explained that mainstream psychology often only looks at the psychology of Western people.
“It would be great to learn about the non-western perspective of the existing findings on how people think or reason,” Ahn wrote to the News. “This is one of the main reasons why I decided to accept this teaching position when I was invited earlier this year and what I look forward to the most (besides their amazing street foods!)”
Lesli Gross-Wyrtzen is a lecturer with the Council on African Studies And Council on Middle East Studies. Gross-Wyrtzen will be joining the faculty alongside her partner – Professor Jonatahn Wyrtzen.
In an email to the News, Gross-Wyrtzen explained that she will be teaching two courses at Yale-NUS entitled “Race, Space and Power: Mapping the Global Color Line” and “What is the Global South? Africa in the World.” Gross-Wyrtzen expressed excitement for her move to Singapore, and she told the News that she is eager to explore a new city and region.
“I was excited for the opportunity to teach at Yale-NUS because I have been intrigued by its common curriculum and have also found Yale-NUS students studying in New Haven to be brilliant, enthusiastic scholars,” Gross-Wyrtzen wrote in an email to the News.
John Wyrtzen will be teaching two courses at Yale-NUS, one on”Empire, Nation, and Decolonization” and the other on “Social Movements and Contentious Politics.” Wyrtzen said that both classes would be reworked from courses he currently offers at Yale . He explained that he was particularly interested in discussing the topic of colonialism with Yale-NUS students given Singapore’s own colonial history.
Wyrtzen said he and Gross-Wyrtzen had expressed interest in going to Yale-NUS several years back — prior to the beginning of the pandemic.
Wyrtzen explained that Professors selected to assume visiting faculty posts were professors who had previously registered interest in the Singapore campus and whose areas of expertise pertained to some missing need within Yale-NUS’ own faculty.
In January of this year, Marvin Chun announced that he would be stepping down from the office of Dean, citing a desire to return to full time teaching and research. Chun officially left the position in June of this year and returned to his professorship in Psychology and Neuroscience.
Chun was the first Asian American Dean of Yale College and served in the position for a total of five years. Pericles Lewis assumed the deanship following Chun’s exit.
Chun was named Dean in April 2017.
“The institution has given me so much, and maybe as dean, I was able to give back a little, but I think I still got more from Yale than I’m able to give back,” Chun told the News in an interview in January. “I love all the people here, and that’s why I’m not thinking of leaving the place.”