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Discover HASS (Issue 5 - Aug 2014)

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Undergraduate Education



Admission Exercise AY2014

The Admission Exercise AY2014 concluded with the matriculation of 1,127 HASS students.  We are right on target this year, tipping past the planned intake by a mere 2%.  Of the students who matriculated this year, 168 joined the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), 186 went to the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI), and 773 to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

Table 1: HASS Undergraduate Intake in AY2013 and AY2014

Programme

AY2013

AY2014

Art, Design & Media

193

168

Communication Studies

186

186

Humanities and Social Sciences

880

773

Chinese

98

98

Economics

134

118

English

104

89

History

83

57

Linguistics & Multilingual Studies

66

76

Philosophy

NA

42

Psychology

179

111

Psychology with Second Major in Biological Sciences

NA

12

Public Policy and Global Affairs

77

42

Sociology

139

128

Grand Total

1,259

1,127

 

While this marked a 10% drop from the 1,259 students in AY2013, the improvement in quality of students is evident from the number of “T15” – i.e., Top 15% A-level students – and scholarship holders (Nanyang and College Scholarship) we managed to bring into the fold.  This year, a total of 132 scholars will start their undergraduate education with us.  This is an incredible 57% jump from the 84 students in AY2013.

Table 2: HASS Scholarship Holders from AY2011 to AY2014

Programme

2011

2012

2013

2014

Art, Design & Media

5

7

3

17

Communication Studies

9

18

23

41

Humanities and Social Sciences

17

28

58

74

Chinese

0

1

4

4

Economics

2

6

13

15

English

0

2

1

2

History

0

0

2

8

Linguistics & Multilingual Studies

2

3

4

8

Philosophy

NA

NA

NA

0

Psychology

12

12

28

6

Psychology with Second Major in Biological Sciences

NA

NA

NA

24

Public Policy and Global Affairs

0

0

4

5

Sociology

1

4

2

2

Grand Total

31

53

84

132

 

For the past three years, we have consistently attracted more than 20 T15 students at each admission exercise.  This year, the number rose 39% from 23 in AY2013 to 32.  This is excellent progress considering we had only 14 of them in AY2011. 

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New Programmes in Philosophy and Psychology with a Second Major in Biological Sciences


HASS continued to widen options for students with the introduction of two programmes beginning in this new academic year:

  • Bachelor of Art (Honours) in Philosophy; and
  • Bachelor of Art (Honours) in Psychology with a second major in Biological Sciences.


In addition to emphasising critical thinking and analytic writing, the Philosophy programme features a distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum that includes courses on innovation and innovative thinking, such as the Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Technology, and the Philosophy and History of Great Ideas. The pioneer class of 42 students will be challenged to analyse issues beyond discipline boundaries, may it be in technology or business or public policy.  The coursework also encompasses Asian philosophy, which gives students a deep understanding of the cultural background of Singapore and the region.

philo.jpg
Media coverage about launch of Philosophy programme

Psychology with a second major in Biological Sciences is a new programme combining the popular Psychology (Honours) programme with Biological Sciences as a second Major, in partnership with the School of Biological Sciences.  Students will benefit greatly from this curriculum, developing interests in the various fields of biology.  There are opportunities to study into topics relevant to prevalent medical developments such as neurobiology, immunology, cancer biology and developmental biology.

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Contributions to NTU University Scholars Programme

In Semester 2, AY2013, HASS contributed two courses, namely The Great Ideas and International Trade, to NTU University Scholars Programme (USP).  These new contributions are in addition to the two USP core courses in Writing and Reasoning and Ethics taught by faculty from the HSS Philosophy Group.

NTU USP students’ study trip to Perth, Australia, Jan 2014

Increasingly, HASS will take more academic ownership of the USP.  The percentage for HASS students in the programme will increase from the next admission exercise.  With more HASS students benefiting more the interdisciplinary programme, we expect ADM, HSS and WKWSCI to plan and contribute courses to the USP, commencing as early as Semester 2, AY2014.  

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NTU International Summer School 2014

The third edition of the NTU International Summer School Programme concluded successfully on 3 August 2014, in the city of Tianjin, China.  Student feedback has been tremendously positive.  For their fieldwork, the students went to Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius in Shandong province this year.

Students took two credit-bearing and graded courses that were interdisciplinary in nature. Three courses were offered, namely, The Great Ideas, The Ecological Enlightenment, and Society in Comparative Perspective.  The courses were taught jointly by NTU faculty and faculty from partner universities. Additional enrichment courses in Chinese culture – Taiji and Chinese Calligraphy, were made available to all students.

calligraphy and taiji.jpg
Students having fun with at Chinese calligraphy and taiji


summer school.jpg

Facets of Summer School 2014, July 2014

The Summer School, which ran from 28 June to 3 August, admitted 34 students who hailed from 7 universities across six countries.  Our partners included Australian National University (Australia), Bryn Mawr College (USA), Stockholm University (Sweden), University of Leeds (UK), as well as Nankai University and Tianjin University (both China).  In terms of faculty strength, the programme managed to attract six outstanding faculty in various disciplines from NTU (Singapore) and Bryn Mawr College (USA) to team-teach the courses.

Next year we will once again return to China.  New courses will be needed as the programme expands.  Interested colleagues please contact Ms. Seeto Wei Peng at the Dean’s Office for details.

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HASS named world’s top 50 in 5 subjects

Five subjects offered by HASS have ranked among the world's top fifty. In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject released on 26 February 2014, HASS’s Communication and Media Studies was ranked 6th in the world, Politics was placed at 35th place, Linguistics at the 42nd position, Psychology took the 45th position, and English Language & Literature came in 46th.

top 50.jpg


The three biggest leaps were made by English Language & Literature, Politics & International Studies, and Linguistics.  English Language & Literature made the biggest jump of 38 positions from last year, while Politics & International Studies climbed 20 places, and Linguistics 16 places.

Congratulations!

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Technology Enhanced Learning

The inaugural HASS Education Forum, with a focus on technology enhanced learning, was held 6 September 2013.  More than 40 faculty members attended and contributed meaningfully to the discussion.

The majority of HASS faculty are already adept in the use of educational technologies.  Further innovation can be expected now that School Chairs have agreed to allow teaching reduction for faculty who are developing new courses with a core online component.  Colleagues who are interested in putting together such a course can seek your Chair’s support in getting course releases.

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Changes in Undergraduate Curriculum

In early August this year, several changes in undergraduate curriculum, which would help ease the freshmen’s transition into university, were announced.

FOC.jpg
Freshmen enjoying refreshments after the Welcome Ceremony
held at the Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre, August 2014

Starting from AY 2014, freshmen can automatically exclude up to six courses for Grade Point Average (GPA) computation, if they do not attain a pass for their first attempt in their first year.  They will retake the exams for those exempted courses and the grade for the second attempt will then be used to compute the student’s GPA.

The university has also adjusted the way it awards the passing grade for the existing Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory (S/U) option for all undergraduate general electives starting this coming academic year. Students who obtain a pass — grade ‘D’ or above — will now be given the satisfactory grade, as compared to the current ‘C’ grade and above.

A total of five new General Education Requirement Core Courses (GER-Core) will also be introduced for the new cohort of freshmen, which consists of single-AU (Academic Unit) courses in key subject areas of Sustainability, Enterprise & Innovation, and Ethics & Moral Reasoning. These courses will be delivered entirely online and will be on Pass/Fail basis.  HSS Philosophy Group will take the lead in developing the Ethics & Moral Reasoning course.

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