Discover HASS (Issue 3 - Jan 2013)

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I hope 2013 has gotten to a great start for all of you! Like you, I am enjoying seeing our students back on campus and looking forward to meeting prospective students in the months ahead.

Our undergraduate enrolment has increased significantly over the past 3 years and is now nearing the 4,000 mark. The quality of the students we admit is also on the rise, which is perhaps the strongest testimony of the excellent work all of you have been doing. In AY2012, in fact, we admitted a record number of “T15” students and scholarship holders. I would like to first thank all colleagues for your tremendous effort in making HASS a destination of choice for discerning students. In preparation for AY2013, I hope we can build on the momentum we have generated. I thought the “Let’s Talk NTU” event last Saturday went really well, and I look forward to another successful undergraduate admission campaign this year!

Top students will help raise the intellectual tenor of the College, but to me the important point is to provide a transformative education for all our students. To do that, we would need to provide an even richer curriculum and educational experience for our students. ADM is now deep in discussion in revamping its curriculum, with the view of integrating some of its current areas of studies, and is spearheading the development of a new interdisciplinary major in Art History with both HSS and WKWSCI. HSS will have a new Major in Public Policy and Global Affairs, and is planning other new Majors and Minors, especially interdisciplinary programmes. WKWSCI, too, is looking into ways integrating information studies into its communication studies curriculum.

The College has won a grant from the Ministry of Education to develop interdisciplinary offerings and also to enhance our e-learning capabilities. Both are critical to our vision and mission in undergraduate education. Please do get in touch with Associate Dean Neil Murphy, who is leading this project, if you have ideas and suggestions. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I firmly believe that scholarship and learning do not grow well in academic silos. In 2013, we will also continue our effort in creating more international learning opportunities for our students. Service learning will be another initiative. Better engagement with employers and alumni, too, will further support HASS’s rising trajectory.

The growth of graduate education in HASS over the past few years is truly something we can all be proud of. In AY2009, there were 61 PhD students in the College; in AY2012, the number has grown to 147. Selectivity has been robust as well. While I have no doubt that student numbers will continue to grow, quality remains our primary concern. Associate Dean May Lwin will be charting a coordinated recruitment effort at the College level. At the same time, the HASS Graduate Education Committee will be reviewing our curricula and exploring new cross-School modules and team teaching. The Schools will also be working to provide greater research support for students and more graduate student exchange opportunities. Before too long, I hope to be able to announce our first joint PhD programme with a top overseas partner university.

On the research front, the recent AcRF Tier 1 results brought very good news. In FY2012, HASS faculty submitted a total of 30 proposals, a stunning increase from 16 in FY2011. Of the 30 proposals, 17 were awarded. I urge all faculty members to aim at securing a Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 grant. It is important to dispel the myth that research in the humanities, arts and social sciences does not require funding support. A Tier 1 grant would help establish the PI’s track record, which would be important for larger Tier 2 grant competitions. We fully expect that research funding for the humanities, arts and social sciences will increase in 2013. The Provost, in fact, has set aside some seed funding for colleagues to prepare for large external grant proposals. This complements nicely and augments the College’s grant incentive scheme. Associate Dean K. K. Luke has been organising research networking sessions as well as grant proposal workshops. Please get in touch with KK if you have any questions or suggestions about the various grant calls.

I am delighted to announce that Professor Liu Hong has been conferred the Tan Kah Kee Professorship. Congratulations are also in order for colleagues who have received international awards or have been promoted with tenure to the rank of Associate Professor, or from Lecturers to Senior Lecturers. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome new faculty and staff to the College. We are very happy that you are here and I look forward to working with you.

Our College is growing rapidly and is getting much better known internationally. This is evident, for example, when Boston University recently visited, resulting in an undergraduate student exchange agreement and plans for research collaboration. We are committed to creating an environment in HASS that is open and conducive to learning and research. I very much welcome your suggestions in this shared endeavor.

Best wishes for a successful semester.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Alan K.L. Chan
Dean
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences