Yale-NUS opens in August 2013 in Singapore, leaving about a year for the newly formed faculty to develop a pioneering course of study.
Many members of the faculty — all hired in the last year — had never met. The two-week working session in New Haven was designed to foster intimacy and esprit de corps as well as shape a novel curriculum.
Yale-NUS will open with about 150 students and 50 professors — numbers expected to reach, respectively, 1,000 and 100 within a few years.
The school is conceived as a model for discourse-intensive liberal arts learning within Asia.
A series of core courses will be required of all first-year students: seven or eight multidisciplinary courses blending literature, history, and philosophy; or economics, sociology, and anthropology; or biology, chemistry, and physics.
Yale-NUS will not have traditional academic departments. Faculty will belong to one of three broad divisions: science, social science, or humanities.
The heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary inquiry and team-teaching means most of the Yale-NUS faculty will need to teach material outside their academic specialties.
Guests unaffiliated with Yale-NUS raised provocative topics for the faculty to consider.
Work sessions in Yale’s Betts House continued informally at local restaurants and watering holes.
The new college’s faculty described, debated, and doubted, considered, questioned, and probed, analyzed, drafted, and redrafted.
Charles Bailyn, a professor of astronomy at Yale, will serve as Yale-NUS’ dean of faculty,
Among the questions the faculty considered was: How do you meaningfully balance Eastern and Western texts and avoid tokenism?
Yale President Richard C. Levin, an economist, hunkered down with the social scientists to think through a first-year course.
A week after the session on the Yale campus, the full group set off for Singapore to resume the conversation.
Come fall, many of Yale-NUS’ professors will be settled in New Haven for the year. They’ll work out of an office building downtown, near the Yale campus but not on it.