Keynote Speakers

Professor Andrew Del BancoAndrew Delbanco, Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, Columbia University

Andrew Delbanco, Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, is the author of College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (2012), Melville: His World and Work (2005), The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), The Real American Dream (1999), and The Puritan Ordeal(1989), among other books.  His work has been translated into several languages, including German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Chinese.

Professor Delbanco’s essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books and other journals, on topics ranging from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education. In 2001, he was named by Time Magazine as “America’s Best Social Critic” and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, a trustee of the Teagle Foundation, the Library of America, and trustee emeritus of the National Humanities Center.

In February 2012, President Barack Obama presented Professor Delbanco with the National Humanities Medal for his writings on higher education and the place classic authors hold in history and contemporary life.

2_DeresiewiczWilliam Deresiewicz, Author, Essayist and Literary Critic

William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic, a frequent college speaker, and the best-selling author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. He taught English at Yale for ten years and at Columbia for five.

Bill is a Contributing Writer for The Nation and a Contributing Editor for The American Scholar. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The AtlanticHarper’sThe New Republic, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere. His essay “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education” has been viewed over one million times. “Solitude and Leadership,” an address at West Point, has been taught across the military and corporate worlds.

Bill has won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities and the Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and is a three-time National Magazine Award nominee. His work has been translated into 15 languages and anthologized in more than 25 college readers. He has spoken at over 40 colleges, high schools, and educational groups and has held visiting positions at Scripps and Claremont McKenna Colleges. In the fall of 2016, he will serve as an NEH-Hannah Arendt Center Visiting Distinguished Lecturer at Bard.

Bill’s previous book is A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter.


Catharine Hill, President and Professor of Economics, Vassar College

Catharine B. Hill is president of Vassar College and a noted economist, whose research on the affordability of and access to higher education has been influential in expanding opportunities for students from all socio–economic backgrounds to attend college. Her scholarly work also focuses on economic development and reform in Africa.

After graduating summa cum laude from Williams College, Ms. Hill earned B.A. and M.A. degrees at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, with first-class honors in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. She completed her Ph.D. in Economics at Yale in 1985. At the start of her career she worked for the World Bank and the Fiscal Analysis Division of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Prior to her Vassar presidency, Ms. Hill served as provost of Williams College, where she had chief academic and financial officer responsibilities. She originally joined the Economics faculty at Williams in 1985. Ms. Hill lived in the Republic of Zambia, where she was the fiscal/trade advisor and then head of the Harvard Institute for International Development’s Project on Macroeconomic Reform, working in the Ministry of Finance and with the Bank of Zambia.

Ms. Hill has received scholarly awards, grants, and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Brookings Institution, National Science Foundation, and Social Science Research Council, among other organizations. Ms. Hill is a trustee of Ithaka Harbors, Inc., a nonprofit corporation and parent company of digital library website JSTOR, and in 2011 joined the Board of Trustees of Yale–NUS College, Singapore’s first liberal arts college. She previously served on the board of the College Board and the NCAA Division III Presidents Council. Ms. Hill was elected Alumni Fellow in 2013.


Pericles Lewis, President and Professor of Humanities (Literature), Yale-NUS College

Pericles Lewis, Founding President and Professor of Humanities (Literature) at Yale-NUS College, took office on July 1, 2012. Under his leadership, the College has recruited 100 faculty from prominent colleges and universities around the world; designed an international curriculum that has attracted widespread attention and interest; and enrolled outstanding students from 40 countries on six continents. Since Yale-NUS College opened in July, 2013 it has been widely recognised as one of the most innovative undergraduate educational institutions in the world. The College has also developed unique extracurricular activities, experiential learning programs, and a thriving residential life on an award-winning new residential campus at the National University of Singapore. Yale-NUS has been praised as a model for reinventing residential liberal arts and science education in the context of 21st-century Asia. President Lewis has served as an advocate in Singapore, the United States, and internationally for liberal education. He has made “building a community of learning” a major theme of his presidency.

Prior to taking office, President Lewis served as Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale University. An expert on literary modernism, he has authored three books on twentieth-century European literature, all published by Cambridge University Press. He is also an editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature. His research traces the engagements of major writers with the social, political, and existential challenges of their times. A graduate of McGill and Stanford Universities, Pericles Lewis held a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining Yale in 1998. At Yale, he taught widely in English and European literature and was awarded the Graduate Mentor Award for his work with over a dozen PhD advisees. At Yale-NUS, he teaches courses on Joseph Conrad and Modern British Poetry.

Before joining Yale-NUS, President Lewis was actively involved in curriculum development and faculty hiring at Yale University. He served as part of the committee that developed the initial curriculum for Yale-NUS and chaired the committee that hired the first 20 faculty in the Humanities. He has also served on the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association and on the editorial boards of several journals. President Lewis has received a variety of academic honors, including Whiting and Morse fellowships, and awards for his contribution to extra-curricular and intellectual life, including the Graduates’ Society Award for Student Service at McGill. Since joining Yale-NUS, he has been a featured speaker on liberal education at dozens of events in Asia, Europe, and North America.

5_RothMichael Roth, President and Professor of History and the Humanities, Wesleyan University

Michael S. Roth became the 16th president of Wesleyan University in 2007, after having served as Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute, and President of the California College of the Arts. At Wesleyan, he has increased grant support for students who receive financial aid and has overseen the launch of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, and four new colleges emphasizing interdisciplinary research and cohort building: the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, the College of East Asian Studies and the College of Integrative Sciences.

Author and curator (most notably of the exhibition “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture,” which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998), Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” His fifth book, Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past was published in 2012. His most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future.  He regularly publishes essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals. He continues to teach undergraduate courses and through Coursera has offered MOOCs, the most recent being “How to Change the World.”


Carol Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Carol Geary Schneider is president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). With nearly 1,350 member institutions, half public and half private, drawn from the entire higher education community, AAC&U is the leading national organization devoted to the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education.

AAC&U is widely recognized as both a voice and force for strengthening the quality of student learning in college for all students and especially those historically underserved in U.S. higher education. Under Dr. Schneider’s leadership, AAC&U works to advance liberal education at both the national and the local level and to help individual colleges and universities keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. With a one-hundred year history and national stature, AAC&U is an influential catalyst for educational improvement and reform.

During the course of her tenure at AAC&U, first as executive vice president, and then as president, Dr. Schneider has developed and led a series of national initiatives, including Liberal Education and America’s Promise, or LEAP, a public advocacy and campus action initiative designed to engage students and the public with what really matters in a college education for the twenty-first century.  The LEAP initiative builds on AAC&U’s major effort, Greater Expectations: The Commitment to Quality as a Nation Goes to College, a multi-year initiative designed to articulate the aims of a twenty-first century liberal education and to identify comprehensive, innovative models that improve learning for all undergraduate students.  Dr. Schneider also led, in the 1990s, AAC&U’s national initiative on higher education and pluralism, American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy and Liberal Learning.

Dr. Schneider is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in history (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). She studied at the University of London’s Institute for Historical Research and earned the Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.  She holds thirteen honorary degrees and has taught at Boston University, Chicago State University, The University of Chicago and DePaul University.

Yale University Speakers

HollowayJonathan Holloway, Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies, Yale University

Jonathan Holloway is Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies. He specializes in post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002) and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013), both with the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (NYU Press, 2005) and co-edited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He has written an introduction for a new edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk, published by Yale University Press in 2015.

Holloway won the William Clyde DeVane Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College in 2009 and the Before Columbia Foundation’s American Book Award in 2014. He served as the master of Calhoun College from 2005-2014, and was Chair of the Council of Masters from 2009-2013. He began a three-year term as Chair of the Department of African American Studies in 2013. That term was abbreviated when he was named Dean of Yale College beginning in July 2014.

He has held fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Ford Foundation. He was an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellow in 2011-2012. Currently, he is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Bryan GarstenBryan Garsten, Professor of Political Science, Yale University; Chair, Yale-NUS Curriculum Committee

Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science and the Humanities, and Chair of the Humanities Program. He is the author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as articles on political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life. Garsten is now finishing a book called The Heart of a Heartless World that examines the ethical, political and religious core of early nineteenth century liberalism in the United States and France. He has also edited Rousseau, the Enlightenment, and Their Legacies, a collection of essays by the Rousseau scholar Robert Wokler (Princeton University Press, 2012). His writings have won various awards, including the First Book Prize of the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association.

Garsten teaches “Introduction to Political Philosophy,” “Aristotle’s Political Thought,” “Political Representation,” “Problems in Political Theory,” and “Directed Studies: History & Politics,” among other courses. His work in the classroom earned him the 2008 Poorvu Family Prize for Interdisciplinary Teaching.

Garsten is the co-chair of the International Conference on the Study of Political Thought, serves on the editorial board of Philosophy and Rhetoric, and is one of the coordinators of Yale’s Macmillan Initiative on Religion, Politics & Society. He also participates in, and serves on the University Advisory Council for, the Yale National Initiative to Strengthen Teaching in the Public Schools. He has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Yale’s major in Ethics, Politics and Economics and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Political Science.

From 2009-2011 Garsten was a Fellow of the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. In 2012-2013 he served as Chair of a committee overseeing the development of a common curriculum in the liberal arts for Yale-NUS College in Singapore.

Yale-NUS College Leadership & Faculty

9_BailynCharles Bailyn, Inaugural Dean of Faculty, Yale-NUS College; Professor of Astronomy, Yale University

Charles Bailyn is Yale-NUS’ inaugural Dean of Faculty. He is also the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University.

Professor Bailyn was an undergraduate at Yale (class of 1981) and did graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard University, receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1987. His PhD thesis on X-ray emitting binary stars received the Trumpler award for best North American PhD thesis in astronomy. After three years as a member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, he returned to Yale as a faculty member in 1990, and has been there ever since, serving six years as Astronomy department chair (1999-2005), and two stints as Director of Undergraduate Studies totalling ten years.  He was on the steering committee of the Committee on Yale College Education, which carried out a complete review of the Yale College undergraduate curriculum in 2001-3, and he served twice as Chair of the Yale College Teaching & Learning Committee.

Professor Bailyn is the author of over 120 refereed scientific papers relating to the observational study of black holes and related sources of X-rays, and to dense star clusters and the consequences of collisions between stars. His work on measuring the masses of black holes was awarded the 2009 Bruno Rossi prize from the American Astronomical Society. Professor Bailyn has carried out research with a wide variety of ground and space-based telescopes; he is the Principal Scientist of the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS) which operates four telescopes in Chile, and served as President of WIYN, Inc., which operates two telescopes in Arizona, from 2005-11. In addition to his research work, Professor  Bailyn has developed innovative teaching methods in science courses for non-scientists, and has been awarded the Dylan Hixon Prize, Yale’s highest honor for teaching excellence in the natural sciences. His course “Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics” was selected as one of the first courses to be put on-line for the public as part of Yale’s “Open Courses” initiative.


Terry Nardin, Director of the Common Curriculum and Professor of Social Science (Political Science), Yale-NUS College

Professor Terry Nardin has been a professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore since 2006. In 2015, he was concurrently appointed to Yale-NUS College. Before joining the faculty at NUS, he was Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo. He has a BA in Philosophy from New York University and a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University. Professor Nardin has been a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellow and a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has held visiting appointments in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the Center for European Studies at Harvard.

Professor Nardin’s collaborative projects include research and symposia on comparative and international political thought supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Ethikon Institute, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, Shibusawa Ei’iichi Memorial Foundation, and Humanities and Social Sciences Research Foundation of Canada. He is the author of Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (1983) and The Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott (2001), as well as editor or co-editor of Traditions of International Ethics (1992), The Ethics of War and Peace (1996), International Relations in Political Thought (2002), Humanitarian Intervention (2006), Michael Oakeshott’s Cold War Liberalism (2015), Rationality in Politics and Its Limits (2015), and other works. His most recent articles have appeared in European Journal of International Law, Ethics & International Affairs, Review of International Studies, Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy, Global Discourse, and History of European Ideas. He has served on the editorial boards of many journals including International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Ethics and International Affairs, and currently American Political Science Review.

11_PenpraseBryan Penprase, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Professor of Science (Physics & Astrophysics), Yale-NUS College

Professor Penprase holds a BS in Physics and an MS in Applied Physics from Stanford University, and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Chicago. He is the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy at Pomona College, in Claremont, CA. Professor Penprase was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Yale University during the academic year 2012­ — 2013, where he served as a member of the inaugural curriculum committee and helped design many of the common curriculum science courses. Professor Penprase was also the co-Director of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning, and has led in organising a conference on the Future of Liberal Arts in India in Bangalore in 2013.

Dr. Penprase’s research in astronomy and astrophysics has taken him around the world, to observe with telescopes such as the Australian AAT, the observatories of CTIO and ESO in Chile, Caltech’s telescopes on Mauna Kea and at Palomar, and the Nordic Optical telescope in La Palma, Spain. He has given astronomy tours and talks since 1986 at the Yerkes Observatory, in Williams Bay Wisconsin, and public sky shows at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, as well as a popular monthly planetarium show in Claremont at the Millikan Planetarium of Pomona College.

The main research problems of most interest to Dr. Penprase are related to spectroscopic observations of the intergalactic and interstellar medium, using both ground and space based telescopes to perform detailed studies of distant clouds of interstellar gas.  The absorption from the cold atoms and molecules in interstellar space may be analyzed to measure the temperature, density and pressure of the remote corners of the galaxy, and the early universe, and Dr. Penprase has pioneered in new techniques in performing remote sensing of this cosmic gas as well as in 3D mapping of the structure of our local galaxy using absorption lines.

12_BernasekSteven Bernasek, Division Director—Science and Professor of Science (Chemistry), Yale-NUS College

Professor Steven Bernasek earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Kansas State University in 1971. His PhD in physical chemistry is from the University of California, Berkeley. After a brief postdoctoral appointment at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he joined the faculty of Princeton University in July 1975, where he was Professor of Chemistry until joining the faculty of Yale-NUS College in July, 2015. During his career at Princeton he advised over 50 PhD students, about 30 senior thesis students, and 35 postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory.  He has published over 200 papers appearing in such journals as Physical ReviewPhysical Review LettersJournal of Chemical Physics,Journal of Physical ChemistryJournal of the American Chemical SocietyLangmuir, and Surface Science. He has co-edited four books, and is the author of the monograph Heterogeneous Reaction Dynamics.

Professor Bernasek’s research is focused on the application of gas phase molecular reaction dynamics tools to the study of heterogeneous reactions. He has contributed to the understanding of surface structural analysis, to the study of transition metal compound surfaces, to the dynamics of small molecule surface reactions on iron, molybdenum, and platinum, and to the investigation of energy transfer in surface reactions.  He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994, and a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society in 2001.

13_JacobsJane Jacobs, Division Director—Social Sciences and Professor of Social Science (Urban Studies), Yale-NUS College

Professor Jane Jacobs’ undergraduate and Masters’ training in Human Geography was at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She completed her PhD at University College London. She is an urban and cultural geographer who has researched various themes, including architecture and geography, difference and the city, comparative and qualitative urban methodologies, postcolonial geographies, and indigenous and settler relations.

Prior to joining Yale-NUS College, Professor Jacobs taught at University College London from 1989 to 1991, The University of Melbourne from 1992 to 2002, The University of Edinburgh from 2002 to 2010, and the National University Singapore in 2011.  She was a founding member of Melbourne’s Institute of Postcolonial Studies, and served a term as its Director.

Professor Jacobs has supervised more than 15 PhD students, and has been on the editorial team of various journals, including the Geographical Research, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Scottish Geographical Journal, Cultural Studies Review, Social and Cultural Geographies, Transactions IBG (NS), Gender, Place and Culture, Annals of the Association of American Geographers and Antipode.  She has published widely including Edge of Empire: Postcolonialism and the City, Cities of Difference (with Ruth Fincher),Uncanny Australia (with Ken Gelder) and, Buildings Must Die (with Stephen Cairns).


Rajeev PatkeDivision Director—Humanities and Professor of Humanities (Literature), Yale-NUS College

Professor Rajeev S Patke has a BA and MA in English literature from University of Pune, India, and an MPhil from Oxford in Modern English and American Literature, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Professor Patke’s Oxford DPhil dissertation on the long poems of Wallace Stevens was supervised by Richard Ellmann, and published by Cambridge University Press in 1985. In the same year, Professor Patke was at Yale University on a Fulbright Scholarship. He taught for several years at the University of Pune, and joined the National University of Singapore in 1988. Professor Patke has been a part of the faculty at Yale-NUS since 2012.