Robert Sinclair named director of Bing Overseas Studies Program

Sinclair succeeds Norman Naimark, who oversaw the expansion of the program into Madrid and Cape Town.


L.A. Cicero Robert Sinclair

Robert Sinclair will take over Sept. 1 as the director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program, which includes centers in 11 locations.

Robert Sinclair, the Charles M. Pigott Professor in the School of Engineering, has been named director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP). Sinclair will begin Sept. 1.

Sinclair succeeds Norman Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies, who has served as director since 2005. During his tenure, Naimark oversaw the opening of campuses in Madrid and Cape Town.

As BOSP director, Sinclair, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1977, takes on responsibility for a program that now includes centers in Australia, Beijing, Berlin, Cape Town, Florence, Kyoto, Madrid, Moscow, Oxford, Paris and Santiago.

Stanford's overseas program, now in its 52nd year, sends about 50 percent of each graduating class abroad. Besides the centers, BOSP also includes consortium programs in Barcelona and Kyoto, Asia Internships and the Community Health Program in Oaxaca.

"Anyone who has participated in the Bing Overseas Studies Program, either as a student or as a faculty member, knows what a truly remarkable educational and personal experience it provides," Sinclair said. "I feel very fortunate to be asked to oversee its well-being at this point in its history and to consider opportunities for even greater participation from the various constituencies of our superb undergraduates and faculty."

John Bravman, the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, recently announced Sinclair's selection at a meeting of the University Cabinet. Sinclair was recommended by a committee that included Roland Greene, professor of English and of comparative literature; David Holloway, the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History; Dwight Nishimura, the Addie and Al Macovski Professor in the School of Engineering; and Kären Wigen, professor of history.

"Bob brings great commitment and enthusiasm to BOSP and to the possibilities of engaging students in international studies," said Bravman. "He is eager to think beyond the confines of the program as it now exists and to thereby seek ways to broaden its appeal and impact still further. The program will benefit from his leadership in the years to come."

Wigen said committee members were especially impressed with Sinclair's ideas for making study abroad more accessible for engineering and science majors.

"Bob is committed to maintaining a rigorous learning experience for students with a strong international bent, but he's also committed to creating more opportunities abroad for engineers and science majors. Balancing those commitments would be a real challenge for whoever takes on this position, but Bob has solid ideas for how to go about it," she said. "He also struck the committee as a skillful and dedicated manager – one who will actively nurture the talented, far-flung staff whose work is indispensable to making these programs run."

Sinclair is a native of Liverpool, England, and a graduate of Cambridge University. In his research, he uses high-resolution transmission electron microscopy to study microelectronic and magnetic thin film microstructure. He received the Distinguished Scientist Award for Physical Sciences from the Microscopy Society of America in 2009.