Welcome Address by Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), at the Inaugural SUSS Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Symposium 2022 on 29 November 2022, 9:00 A.M.
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education
Mrs Mildred Tan, SUSS Chairman of Board of Trustees
Friends from other universities,
Distinguished guests, Industry Partners, Colleagues,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. On behalf of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (or SUSS), it is my pleasure to welcome you to the inaugural SUSS Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Symposium 2022 or SUSS SoTL 2022.
And thank you, Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing, for taking time off your busy schedule to join us as our Guest-of-Honour.
I would also like to thank my colleagues from SUSS Teaching and Learning Centre for organising this event themed as “‘Learning for Life: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Credentialing’.”
Lifelong learning in SUSS
Since SUSS’s inception, the provision of applied and lifelong education to learners has been our core DNA. We recognise that every learner is unique and we provide our learners with different pathways to enable them to realise their aspirations to learn, to develop, and reach full potential, and doing this throughout life. Today, SUSS is at the forefront of innovative, flexible and applied higher and continuous education for learners of all life stages.
In doing this, we keep a close watch on the rapidly changing market needs of businesses and employers, especially how reskilling and upskilling Singapore’s workforce will have to support its economic transformation. And, respond quickly in re-designing our curriculum, introducing new programmes, and fine-tune the way we develop our students, not just in knowledge, but also in work readiness, lifelong learning readiness, social-serving readiness.
While one may focus on content, skills, pathways, programmes to develop students, their eventual employability and contribution to the economy and society, it is in the sphere of teaching and learning (or T & L) where our institutions of learning, our faculty and, indeed, all trainers can make a great difference to the education enterprise. These ‘teachers’ need to understand the learning habits of a diverse set of students, need to adopt different methods to help in their individual learning, offer learning in modes and knowledge bites that can be managed well by learners in different circumstances, find means to motivate learning, harness technology to promote and facilitate learning, and so on. In doing so, teachers themselves have to be learners and fellow instigators of doing better in these efforts. Then, the effort the learner makes can bear fruit in real acquisition of knowledge and skills, and the learner will return for more.
SUSS Curriculum 2.0
Just last year, we commissioned a review of the SUSS curriculum, with the following objectives:
- Review our existing academic system with a focus on four areas – philosophy and outcomes of education, curriculum design, pedagogy, and learning support and resources;
- Identify gaps that need to be addressed;
- Update knowledge and developments elsewhere pertinent to the study, and;
- Recommend reforms and improvements that SUSS may wish to adopt.
We got together a select group of academics and industry professionals, both from SUSS and local organisations, as well as international T & L experts. We were able to benefit much from their rich experience and insights. I am glad that Professor Chris Dede of Harvard University, one of our advisors in the study, is able to join us at this symposium to share a keynote on “New Models for Lifelong Learning in Global Digital Economy: The 60 Year Curriculum”. Stay tuned to his keynote address, you won’t want to miss it!
One of the key recommendations stemming from this review is the new SUSS curriculum, which is slated to be implemented in July 2023. This refined curriculum is intended to better support our students to stay current, relevant, progressive and agile, against the backdrop of disruption and fundamental and large-scale changes. We are confident that the new SUSS Curriculum will help enhance their employability, educational experience, graduate value, and in turn unleash their full potential to make an impact in our society. Professor Robbie Goh, SUSS Provost, will share more details of this new curriculum later.
As I have mentioned earlier, the scholarship of teaching and learning is just as important as making curricula changes, if not more important. How might our students learn, how might our teachers engage them in this new curriculum, and how might these be evidenced by research within the theory-practice nexus are questions we will need to address and inform our teaching effectiveness in the future.
This symposium is indeed timely. I am encouraged, and grateful that today’s gathering of so many distinguished academic leaders, dedicated educators and industry partners will spark much fruitful discourse, debate and creative ideas – all for the good of enriching the learning experiences of our students here in Singapore, and beyond.
Thank you once again for investing precious time to join us today. I wish you all an enriching day at the symposium.