NUS-Yale College officially launched
By Florence Tang
Apr. 14 2011
The Yale-NUS College was officially launched Apr. 11 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a ceremony held at the National University of Singapore University Hall.
NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan and Yale University President Richard Levin publicly inked an official agreement on the formation of the Yale-NUS college, which will begin admitting students in 2013.
"Yale-NUS College provides our high calibre students one additional attractive option Ė to pursue a liberal arts education, comparable to what you can get in Yale, here in Singapore," Lee said in his address.
"More of our best and brightest will now have the opportunity to spend their formative years in Singapore," Lee said.
Tan said admissions to the Yale-NUS College would be "very much driven by the quality of applicants and the applicant pool."
The college would likely keep within NUSí current student ratios, accepting up to 20 percent of students from overseas, he said.
"The National University of Singapore, Yale University and, if I may add, Singapore, are seizing a unique opportunity to make a significant contribution to global higher education," Tan said.
He said the Yale-NUS College would spur the creation of "a novel, high-quality educational programme that will position our students well for the future."
While admissions to the Yale-NUS College would still require academic excellence, other factors such as creativity and thirst for knowledge will also be considered, Professor Lily Kong, NUS vice-president of university and global relations, said.
Students admitted to Yale-NUS will undergo two years of general education, before concentrating on one of 12 to 15 majors, which have yet to be determined.
Graduates will receive a degree in Arts or Sciences awarded by NUS. Yale will not be awarding joint degrees for the college.
"I think we are very eager to participate in this. We do see it in the spirit of partnership. We will wait and see, as this unfolds, whether it will be as successful as we hope it will be," Levin said.
This is the first time Yale University is linking its name to any other institution.
The Yale-NUS College will be financed wholly by the Singapore Government.
"The budget is going to be sufficient for this college to be competitive, with other colleges in the US, to allow us to attract the kind of faculty we are looking for and to attract the kind of students we want to attract." Tan said.
Charles Bailyn, dean of faculty at Yale-NUS, was optimistic about the calibre of faculty the college would attract. One of the earlier concerns was the lack of academic freedom in Singapore.
"I think those of us involved in setting up the project, and the institution as a whole, donít see that this is going to be a problem in the classroom and in scholarly research," Bailyn said.
The Yale-NUS College will be an autonomous college within NUS. It will also be the first College in NUS to be fully residential, with faculty and students living and learning on a 4.68-hectare campus next to the new NUS University Town.
Yale-NUS will accept its first intake of 150 students in 2013.