"We will use this transition period to continue planning
for the future development of the Institute, and to look for the best
person to lead us into the next century."
--Acting Director Philip Cook
Ascher to head Asian University
Institute Director William Ascher has been tapped to lead an effort to establish the Asian International University (AIU), a new, English- language, international research university in Thailand. He will serve as its first president. In order to devote his full energies to AIU's development, Ascher has handed over the Sanford Institute's leadership to Philip Cook as acting director, while the Institute conducts an external search for a new director. Cook served as Institute director from 1985 to 1989 and has played key roles in recruitment, faculty development and curriculum oversight ever since.
"The Thai university venture is a very exciting opportunity to extend the Sanford Institute's principle of inter-disciplinary, problem-oriented scholarship and teaching to an entire university," Ascher said. "I will maintain close interactions with Duke and the Sanford Institute in particular. The possibilities for joint Sanford Institute-AIU programming are highly promising."
In December, Duke agreed to serve as the major coordinating partner of AIU, which will have a Duke advisory committee and will jointly operate an Institute for Asian Studies with Duke. AIU will be a private liberal arts university with about 5,000 undergraduates, 1,500 graduate students and 400 faculty. Faculty will work in inter-disciplinary institutes, not departments, Ascher said. Ultimately there will be 10 institutes focusing on such problems as regional development, environmental and natural resource issues, human resource development, industrial efficiency, and social-cultural development.
Ascher will remain on the Sanford Institute faculty for at least the next two-and-a-half years, on leave of absence. He will retain his role as director of the Institute's Center for International Development Research, until he goes on leave in July.
"This is an exciting opportunity for Bill and for the Sanford Institute," said acting director Cook. "We will use this transition period to continue planning for the future development of the Institute, and to look for the best person to lead us into the next century."