SMU names senior NUS administrator as its next provost

SMU names senior NUS administrator as its next provost
Professor Lily Kong.

A senior administrator from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will cross over to the Singapore Management University (SMU) to become the first female university provost here.

SMU announced yesterday the appointment of Professor Lily Kong, which will take effect in September.

Prof Kong, 50, is now the vice-provost of academic personnel at NUS, where she has worked for the last 24 years.

Professor Rajendra Srivastava, whom she will replace, will continue serving as the senior vice-president of SMU's international office, a role he assumed last December.

SMU president Arnoud De Meyer said Prof Kong, whose research interests and training include religion, cultural policy, and heritage and conservation, provides a "nice complement" to the university's management focus.

"To be a good leader or a good change agent in the coming years will require a... deeper understanding of history and culture," he said.

Professor De Meyer added that SMU is hoping to beef up its social sciences discipline by including more humanities courses.

Prof Kong said business and management are deeply interwoven with the social sciences.

"If you wanted to understand marketing you need to understand psychology," she said.

She hopes to tie the two areas "in fundamental ways that allow the students and faculty to draw from interdisciplinary perspectives".

Prof Kong has held various posts at NUS, including dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the university's vice-president in charge of global relations.

She was also instrumental in setting up liberal arts college Yale-NUS.

Prof Kong said that the younger and smaller SMU has the advantage of being nimble and responsive to trends and changes.

This article was first published on May 26, 2015.
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