SMU announces appointment of new Provost 26 May 2015

The Singapore Management University (SMU) has announced the appointment of Professor Lily Kong (江莉莉教授) as the University’s new Provost (教务长兼常务副校长).  Professor Kong, who is currently Vice Provost (Academic Personnel) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where she also holds the Provost’s Chair Professorship, will join SMU from 1 September 2015.  At SMU, Professor Kong will hold the Lee Kong Chian Chair Professorship of Social Sciences (李光前社会科学讲座教授).

Professor Kong brings to SMU 24 years of solid experience as a distinguished educator, prolific researcher and senior academic leader.  A graduate of the NUS and University College London, Professor Kong has been a faculty member in the NUS Department of Geography since 1991.  She took on administrative positions from 1995, and was Sub-Dean, Vice-Dean and Dean in NUS' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (1995 – 2003); Dean of the University Scholars Programme (2002 – 2003); Assistant Director, Office of Research (1998 – 1999); Vice Provost (Education) (2004 – 2007); Director of the Asia Research Institute (2008 – 2010); Acting Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College (2011 – 2012); and Vice-President (University and Global Relations) (2007 – 2014). She thus has extensive experience in academic management, and significant international experience.

Professor Kong is widely regarded as a thought leader in religion, cultural policy and creative economy, heritage and conservation, and national identity.

An award-winning researcher and teacher, Professor Kong has received five international fellowship awards including the Commonwealth Fellowship Award and the Fulbright Fellowship Award.  She has also won an award from the Association of American Geographers for her contributions to the study of religion.  She was twice a recipient of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award.  She also received the NUS Outstanding University Researcher Award, and the National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Award.

Professor Kong has extensive experience and profile internationally through her academic work, having served or serving as co-editor or member of international editorial advisory boards for more than 15 journals, and is sought after as keynote speaker for many international conferences.  A prolific writer, Professor Kong has 13 books and monographs to her name, as well as over 100 papers in international refereed journals and chapters in books.  She is also a member of the Public Service Commission, the United Nations University Council, and the External Evaluation Committee of the Waseda University International Programme.  She has previously also served on many other local boards and committees, including the National Environment Agency, the National Heritage Board and the Preservation of Monuments Board, as well as internationally, where she has been on assessment committees for universities ranging from the National Taiwan University to the University of Auckland.

On the appointment, SMU President, Professor Arnoud De Meyer, said, “As the second most senior role in SMU’s management team, the SMU Provost is a key position that is critical to the success of the University.  We had set out to appoint an outstanding academic with strong leadership capabilities and experience in a top level research-oriented university.  I am very pleased that we have found an excellent candidate in Professor Lily Kong, and warmly welcome her to the SMU family.”

“She brings with her strong expertise and a proven track record as an educator, researcher and administrator.  She has a deep understanding of Singapore’s tertiary landscape, and also shares SMU’s vision and mission of delivering a broad-based education that emphasises global exposure and social responsibility.  As the Vice Provost of a large comprehensive university, she has rich experience in different areas of university administration, not to mention in-depth knowledge of international relations.  With her wide experience working in partnership with faculty, students and the community in Singapore and abroad, she is the right person to lead the SMU team in our aim to become a leading Asian university renowned for our holistic and interactive pedagogy as well as world-class, practical research,” he added.

In her role as the new Provost of SMU, Professor Kong will occupy a key university position as SMU’s Chief Academic Officer.  Professor Kong will have primary responsibility for the general conduct, coordination, quality and development of the University’s academic programmes.  Her main duties will include overseeing undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum development and planning, as well as driving research activities in SMU.  In the latter, she will oversee all of SMU’s Institutes, Centres, Labs and Initiatives, and drive SMU’s Areas of Excellence.  Professor Kong will be the second most senior in the SMU management team, working closely with Professor De Meyer.

Commenting on her move to SMU, Professor Lily Kong said, “I am excited about the opportunities to help shape SMU in the next stage of its development.  As Singapore’s only university that focuses on the social sciences, broadly defined, there is an opportunity to build on its current strengths to become a complete social science university, offering attractive options to students and building research and insights that are needed now more than ever before as Singapore and the world confront challenges that technology can only be a part of the answer for.”

In expressing his appreciation to Professor Rajendra Srivastava, Professor De Meyer said, “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Srivastava for his very effective leadership as Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs) in the last seven years.  Under his leadership the total faculty of SMU grew by 30%, SMU reviewed and revised its Governance Handbook, in particular with respect to a better definition and implementation of the Tenure and Term (Education and Practice) tracks, and a new Merit Review framework for Faculty was implemented.

In research, Professor Srivastava reorganised the Office of Research and launched the Areas of Excellence.  He has been a strong advocate for the integration of theory and practice and was instrumental in facilitating the birth of practice-oriented initiatives such as the Centre for Management Practice and the Case Writing Initiative.  Professor Srivastava has been the driving force behind the development of SMU’s India Desk and the many partnerships established with academic institutions and companies in India.  We are fortunate that from 1 December 2014, he started serving as the Senior Vice President of SMU’s International Office, and will continue to do so after he steps down on 31 August 2015.  In this role, Professor Srivastava will drive and strengthen SMU’s international activities to enhance the University’s global partnerships.”

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