A follow-up piece to this article written by the same writer, in which a revision of perspective is given, can be found here.
After months of speculation and debate, where the likes of Yale lecturer Mark Oppenheimer and Yale Daily News student writers publicly criticized Yale University’s plan for a tie-up with NUS, a clear official confirmation of the Yale-NUS College venture has finally been given.
University President Tan Chorh Chuan sent an official email to the campus population on 31st March 2011 to announce that “agreement has been reached with Yale to establish the Yale-NUS College at NUS”.
According to the email, the Yale-NUS College will be an autonomous college of NUS which will open in 2013. Charles Bailyn, the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor at Yale who specializes in Astronomy and Physics (and who is an expert in black holes) has been named as the inaugural dean of the college and will be responsible for faculty recruitment.
(Edit: 2nd April 2011 – Link to NUS announcement here)
Residential Colleges: the new trend in Singaporean tertiary education
The Yale-NUS College will be located north of Kent Ridge campus, and will have a student body of about 1000. There will be 3 residential colleges each catering to about 330 students, and these residential colleges are the focal point of the YNC experience.
According to the college’s website, “These residential colleges are far more than dormitories: they are full collegiate communities, drawing on some of the best traditions of residential colleges at universities like Yale, Oxford and Cambridge, while developing their own unique features and distinctive characters in Singapore.
“There will be lovely dining halls to encourage lingering conversations and robust debates, as well as classrooms and seminar rooms with state-of-the-art technology. Each residential college will have student meeting spaces, a major Common Room and a student-run buttery in which student enterprise can be developed. Except for those periods engaged in studies or internships abroad, students will live in their college for all four years. They will develop deep bonds with college mates and be supported in exploring the intellectual and personal creativity characteristic of a liberal arts education.” (my italics)
Further, faculty members will live in these colleges and “work closely with the students to shape their curricular choices and to develop distinctive co-curricular programs and activities for the members of that college.” (my italics)
Parallels can be seen with the USP (University Scholars’ Program) Residential College. Students at the USP residential colleges will also “be part of a closely-knitted community and network of USP alums, faculty, staff and students.” Indeed, “professors and staff… will live, work and play together as one community.” (my italics)
The student-meeting spaces in YNC also find their analogue here: “As we build and develop the USP residential college, the present USP student lounge (aka Chatterbox) will continue to morph in its character at the ground floor location of the USP residential block. It is your space, your expression.
“Whether in the form of comments, poems, scribbles on the walls, or impromptu open mike sessions, lively debates or intellectual discussions, it adds zest to your student life. We will be in a community of like-minded intellectuals committed to making significant contributions to society. We will be the cradle for independent learning and creative ideas.” (my italics)