August 27, 2018, New York, NY—The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) today announced that President Pauline Yu will retire on June 30, 2019 and a search for her successor has been launched.
ACLS Board Chair, Bill Kirby, expressed the Council’s profound appreciation for Pauline Yu’s 16 years of service: “Pauline is a true Scholar-Official. She has promoted scholarship at the highest level across fields and national boundaries, while reinvigorating our nation’s leading organization in support of the humanities. During Pauline’s tenure, ACLS more than doubled the number of research fellowships it awards, tripled the dollar value of awards to scholars, and increased its endowment by 110 percent. Under Pauline’s leadership, ACLS initiated programs that reach scholars around the world and across the realms of academic disciplines, deepened the public’s engagement with scholarship, and established directions for its next century of service to the academy and society. She has presented to audiences at home and abroad on the dynamism of the humanities in addressing contemporary issues. We on the ACLS Board are deeply grateful for her leadership, and we thank her above all on behalf of the constellation of scholars, teachers, and (not the least) students who have benefited from her passion to champion and support innovation and scholarship in the humanities.”
Pauline Yu became president of the American Council of Learned Societies in July 2003, having served as dean of humanities in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Los Angeles and professor of East Asian languages and cultures from 1994-2003. Prior to that appointment, she was founding chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine (1989-94) and on the faculty of Columbia University (1985-89) and the University of Minnesota (1976-85). She received her BA in history and literature from Harvard University and her MA and PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. She is the author or editor of five books and dozens of articles on classical Chinese poetry, literary theory, comparative poetics, and issues in the humanities and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was awarded the Modern Language Association's William Riley Parker Prize for best PMLA article of 2007.
Yu is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the American Philosophical Society and The Committee of 100. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Teagle Foundation. She is both director and treasurer of the National Humanities Alliance. In addition, she is a trustee of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy in Berlin, and the National Humanities Center. Yu also served on the Harvard University Board of Overseers and the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress’s Kluge Center. Yu holds five honorary degrees and is a senior research scholar at Columbia University.
ACLS has engaged the search firm of Storbeck Pimentel & Associates to aid in finding ACLS’s next president. For more information or to nominate candidates, please see the notice under Employment Opportunities.
Formed to represent the United States in the International Union of Academies, ACLS includes representatives from the 13 learned societies that founded the organization and believed that a coalition of scholarly societies was the best possible combination of America’s democratic ethos and intellectual aspirations. Today, ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations with a $140M endowment and a $35M operating budget. As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS fulfills this mission through granting fellowships in support of humanities and social science research and through far-reaching advocacy.