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Discover HASS (Issue 2 - Sep 2012)

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Associate Prof May Lwin’s Aspirations

The new Associate Dean (Graduate), May Lwin, talks about her hopes and aspirations as she takes on her new role in the College.

Broadly, how do you intend to grow HASS’s graduate education going forward?

HASS’s programmes are relatively very young and I believe there are many exciting growth opportunities ahead. 

One area of growth could involve offerings that are jointly mounted by more than one HASS school.  Similar to the undergraduate programme where we are offering more opportunities for students to take courses across the college, I do believe that our graduate offerings can be strengthened via intra-college collaboration.  

Another area I foresee opportunities involves collaboration with overseas universities and institutes.  This can be in the form of joint degree offerings, student exchange and bi-national courses.  WKWSCI is mounting a new overseas initiative next semester for its MMC programme and I’ll be closely monitoring its progress.

What will your priority be in the first few months of your new appointment?

To get up to speed as soon as possible on all the programmes spanning the three colleges, followed by getting feedback and inputs from schools. 

In your view, how do you see a graduate education in the humanities, arts, and social sciences? 

A research graduate education in HASS opens up opportunities for intellectual engagement between graduate students and leading scholars within the College.  HASS is a place of intellectual excitement that promotes interdisciplinary research between ADM, HSS and WKWSCI, and even across Colleges, with engineering, science and business disciplines.  A graduate education in humanities, arts, and social sciences nurtures students’ ability to explore theories, question ideas, and develop new concepts.  Research partnership projects with leading overseas universities allow students to work on research that has real-world impact, as well as employment beyond a graduate degree.

Our coursework programmes, too, are thoughtfully designed to give an edge to those who want to make a mark in industry.  Graduate students nowadays are pragmatic and demanding in their programme choices – their perceived market value of the degree often influences their choices.  Judging from the popularity of and positive feedback on our HSS and WKWSCI coursework programmes, I believe we are on the right path. HASS will continue to evolve and meet the changing demands of the industry.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

I am looking forward to working with the HASS team, as well as the Associate Chairs and the teams from HSS and ADM and getting to know many facets of the college.  I will miss working closely with my WKWSCI teams but hope to continue to contribute to the school from a different capacity. I am grateful for the support of Chair Ben Detenber and many wonderful colleagues. 

Tell us briefly about your research interest. 

I have two very different areas of research:

(a) Health and Societal Issues in Communication. In this area my focus is mainly on public health communication (infectious diseases, myopia, HIV etc.) and health promotion of children and adolescents, specially focusing on obesity, nutrition and cyber and physical wellness.

(b) Sensory Communication. Most of my work here focuses on olfactory (scent) communication topics, and auditory and haptics (touch) cues.  

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Prof Schubert Foo’s Reminiscences

Following six years as the Associate Dean (Academic / Graduate Education) of HASS, Schubert’s three terms of service has concluded on a high note. Discover HASS talks to Schubert about his experience at HASS and his plans after stepping down.    

HASS has grown steadily and rapidly since its inception in 2006 with a team of five in the form of the Dean, Associate Dean, Manager and two support staff to the present structure of 16 to manage and support an increased level of autonomy and work scope.  I had the honour and privilege to serve as the founding Associate Dean for three terms over six years alongside two very visionary and effective deans: Professors Lawrence Wong and Alan Chan.   The academic work of the college expanded quickly and the college was eventually streamlined into three main areas of research, undergraduate and post graduate studies, each headed by an Associate Dean which was in line with other College setups.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work and learn from many colleagues across the different disciplines in the three HASS Schools over this period of time.  I sincerely acknowledge and thank my two Personal Assistants, Ms Eunice Chua and Chan Bee Kwang, my counterparts, Professors Neil Murphy and K.K. Luke, and my colleagues, whose names are too many to list, for their strong support, wonderful memories and friendships.  After stepping down, I remain in the College and continue to serve in my capacity as Director of the Centre of Social Media Innovations for Communities (COSMIC), and Director of the University Scholars Programme (USP).  

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