FASS Inspiring Mentor 2019 Award Winners Announced

FASS Inspiring Mentor Award 2019 Winners Announced

FASS Inspiring Mentor 2019 Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards.

Launched in 2018, the annual FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards are conferred on Faculty and Administrative staff who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to mentoring their junior colleagues and whose mentorship has been especially impactful on the good conduct, performance and professional growth of their mentees.

“Mentorship is a crucial factor in retaining and nurturing quality faculty and administrative staff, and in building up a strong and cohesive institutional culture. The role that such inspiring mentors play in this, is greatly appreciated,” said Professor Robbie B.H. Goh, Dean, FASS, in his announcement of the winners.

“There were a number of worthy nominees. Evidence showed that the nominees did not simply do the things which might be considered ‘in the course of duty’ but went above and beyond that, and really sacrificed their own time and energy for the sake of their mentees,” added Professor Goh. “I hope that we will all try to do our part as mentors, and build up an institutional culture that we can all be proud of.”

The winners of the inaugural FASS Inspiring Mentor Awards were: Associate Professor Serene Tan (Economics); Associate Professor Chris McMorran (Japanese Studies); and Associate Professor Stephen Lim (Psychology).

In Memoriam | Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee

Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee
Associate Professorial Fellow
NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Social Work
1926 – 2019

Often described as the founding mother of social work education in Singapore, Mrs Ann Elizabeth Wee passed away in Singapore on 11 December 2019. She was 93 years of age.

Born on 19 August 1926 in Corbridge, United Kingdom, Mrs Wee arrived in Singapore in 1950 to be reunited with her fiancé whom she met at Cambridge. Mrs Wee’s career in social work spans six decades. After a four-year stint at the Methodist Girls’ School, Mrs Wee joined the Social Welfare Department in 1955. To better communicate with and advocate for her clients amongst low income families, she picked up Malay, Cantonese and Hokkien on the job. At the same time, Mrs Wee began part-time teaching at the then University of Malaya.

In 1957, Mrs Wee began teaching full-time at the Department of Social Work, and formally assumed headship of the Department in 1967, a role in which she served until her retirement in 1986. As the Department’s longest serving Head, Mrs Wee was the driving force behind the University’s decision to introduce a full-fledged Honours Degree programme, paving the way for social workers to be recognised as professionals, enjoy better career prospects, and gain access to policymaking. To impart her knowledge to future generations of social workers, Mrs Wee further co-authored and edited Social Work in the Singapore Context, the only textbook on social work in Singapore. In 2017, she published her memoir A Tiger Remembers: The Way We Were in Singapore, which chronicles her experiences in the Singapore of old.

Mrs Wee’s contributions extend beyond the academic sphere and she served on panels that traversed demographics and issues. In addition to being appointed on the Advisory Panel to the Juvenile Court for nearly four decades (1970 – 2009), Mrs Wee also served a term on the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents; as an advisor on women’s and girl’s issues with the Ministry of Social Affairs; on the board of governors of the National Youth Leadership Training Institute; and several other boards and committees.

Mrs Wee was bestowed with the Public Service Star in 1972, and again with the Public Service Star (Bar) in 2004. Inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, Mrs Wee’s public awards further include The Most Outstanding MCYS Volunteer Award (2004), Meritorious Service Medal (2010), and NUSS Distinguished Member Award (2012). Notably, Mrs Wee was also the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award, presented by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2009. She was also conferred the FASS Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award and the NUS Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2019 in recognition of her lifelong dedication and contribution to social service and education.

In celebration of Mrs Wee’s lasting contributions, the Department of Social Work established the Ann Wee NUS Social Work Alumni Award in 2014, during the Faculty’s 85th Anniversary celebrations. The latter award is presented in her honour by NUS to recognise excellence in social work.

Mrs Ann Wee is survived by her two daughters and 4 grandchildren.

FASS Academic Writing Consultations & Workshops for Semester II, 2019-2020

CALLING ALL FASS GRADUATE STUDENTS!

Need help with beginning and completing your papers? Not sure how you can get published?

Get answers to these questions and more at our FASS Academic Writing Consultations and Workshops for Semester II, 2019-2020.

Keep a lookout in your emails to register!

Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards (FTEA) 2019

Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

The Faculty Teaching Excellence Award is awarded to faculty members who have displayed a high level of commitment to their teaching. Each year, a select few colleagues are recognised for their teaching based on peer reviews, student feedback and exposition of their teaching philosophy.

We congratulate the following colleagues on their achievements in teaching.  These FASS faculty members have been awarded the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for their work in AY2018-19.

Name Department
Dr Zhou Ziqian Centre For English Language Communication
Ms Lam Wanli, Aileen Centre For English Language Communication
Dr Chan Kwang Guan Daniel Centre For Language Studies
Mr Muzzammil Bin Mohamed Yassin Centre For Language Studies
Mr Nagami, Masanori Centre For Language Studies
Mr Yuzuru Hamasaki Centre For Language Studies
Ms Klayklueng , Sasiwimol Centre For Language Studies
Ms Lian Oi Lin Centre For Language Studies
Ms Maria Inmaculada Melero Carras Centre For Language Studies
Prof Ong Chang Woei Chinese Studies
Dr Alexander Ian Mitchell Communications And New Media
Dr Ong Ee Cheng Economics
Mr Chua Yeow Hwee Economics
A/P Loon Seong Yun, Robin English Language & Literature
Dr Lee Huiying Nala English Language & Literature
Dr Leslie Lee English Language & Literature
Dr Rebecca Lurie Starr English Language & Literature
A/P Chang Tou Chuang Geography
Dr Kamalini Ramdas Geography
Dr Donna Maree Brunero History
Dr Jaradi Priya Manish History
Dr Lawrence, Kelvin History
Dr Wang Jinping History
A/P Bain, William Ward Political Science
Dr Graf, Sinja Ursula Political Science
Dr Lepori, Matthew Aaron Political Science
Dr Ray, Subhasish Political Science
A/P Lim Wee Hun, Stephen Psychology
Dr Cha Yeow Siah Psychology
Dr Lee Li Neng Psychology
Dr Nina Laurel Powell Psychology
Dr Pon Kwai Ling Social Work
Dr Wong Yuh Ju Peace Social Work
A/P Feng Qiushi Sociology
Dr Ivan Kwek Eng Tai Sociology
Dr Noorman Abdullah Sociology
Dr Radics, George Baylon Sociology

Special Teaching Award

The Special Teaching Award recognises colleagues with special capabilities in the following categories:-
Educational Leadership: Administrative service and leadership in curriculum development
Innovation: Innovative use of technology in teaching
Pedagogy: Research on teaching pedagogies
Students’ Choice: Excellence in student feedback and rapport with learners
Versatility: Range of modules taught across levels, student numbers and genres

Special Teaching Award Recipients

Education Leadership Award
Dr Lee Li Neng Psychology
Industry Engagement Award
Dr Wong Yuh Ju Peace Social Work
Students’ Choice Award
Mr Yuzuru Hamasaki
Ms Klaykleung, Sasiwimol
Centre for Language Studies
Centre for Language Studies
Versatility Award
Dr Kamalini Ramda Geography

Congratulations to all our winners for their excellent work!

FASS90 GALA DINNER | Looking Back, Pressing Forward

NUS FASS marked its 90th anniversary, the Dean delivered a strong performance on stage, and Guest of Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, called for further government-academia collaboration on public policy.

From its beginnings in 1929 as part of Raffles College offering three-year diplomas in English, Economics, History and Geography, to its position today as a global top 20 provider of higher education in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Management, the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has come a long way.

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, talked about the ways academia can help drive public policy and called for their greater collaboration with the government.Photo Credit: Ministry of Manpower

The Dean of FASS, Professor Robbie Goh, referenced this journey during his opening address at FASS 90th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Friday (15 November 2019) evening. “FASS began life…with the four founding majors of English, History and Geography. Its inaugural intake was 43 students,” said Professor Goh. “Fast forward 90 years…FASS takes in about 1,600 undergraduate students each, has 16 departments offering 20 majors, [and so far can count] among its alumni – a President, a Prime Minister, several Ministers and ambassadors, and other top civil servants of Singapore, along with notable CEOs, entrepreneurs, well-known actors, musicians and others who have contributed much to the world.”

Professor Goh performed for all supporters of FASS’s fundraising efforts.

Professor Goh proceeded to share details of initiatives and programmes already underway at NUS FASS with close to 300 alumni, staff, students and other supporters who packed the Empress Ballroom at Carlton Hotel in downtown Singapore to celebrate the Faculty’s 90th anniversary. These included the launch of: a new major under the Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) programme; joint and double degree programmes with overseas partners (the latest being the University of California, Berkeley); the FASS Social Incubator Programme, which sees to the provision of seed money to students working on innovative solutions to social work issues; and the “Industry Tracks” programme, which seeks to enhance the employability of FASS graduates by giving them the training, guidance and experience they need to succeed in the key industry segments most likely to hire them.

Assembled to cut FASS’s 90th Birthday cake (from left): Professor Goh; Professor Ho; Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo; Mr Archie Ong; Mrs Tan Suan Imm; Mr Soh Yi Da; Ms Zoey Lim, President, NUS Students’ Arts and Social Sciences Club.

Guest of Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs, a FASS alumnus herself, shared the Government’s current approaches to helping ensure Singapore’s ageing population have sufficient funds to retire comfortably. She cited some of the major contributions the academic community has made to Central Provident Fund (CPF) policy to date, and called for further Government-academia collaboration in specific areas of research and public communications. Among her suggestions are programmes that seek to answer questions such as: How can it be ensured that the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) of each CPF member is sufficient to cover basic expenses in the future?; How can the Government increase understanding of and promote take-up of schemes meant to enable retirees to supplement their incomes by making use of their HDB apartments?; How can older workers be incentivised to start their payouts later, so they will have higher payouts when they eventually retire?

Professor Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost, NUS, sealed the FASS Leapfrog Time Capsule.

“We can make our system better through constantly looking over the horizon and planning ahead. In that sense, the CPF must remain a ‘live system’, always evolving and ever-responsive to emerging needs,” Mrs Teo said. “We hope that the academic and social science research community can join us to make it better.”Immediately following a dazzling Malay dance performance by dance group NUS Ilsa Tari, came students Wesley Wang (Year 2 Linguistics Major) and Nediva Singam (Year 4 Geography Major) sharing their experiences and lessons learnt during their respective turns in overseas exchange study programmes. They spoke in support of the launch of the new FASS Student Advancement Fund that extends further financial support for needy students.

NUS Ilsa Tari in perfect form

The proceeds of the Gala Dinner went directly to this fund, and the generosity of all donors so moved Professor Goh that he dedicated his rendition of James Taylor’s classic You’ve Got a Friend and the timeless hymn by John Newton, Amazing Grace to them. The audience returned his gesture not just with heartfelt applause.

Professor Goh, Professor Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost, NUS, Singapore’s legendary poet Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo, illustrious Singapore educator and alumnus Mrs Tan Suan Imm, and, distinguished alumni Archie Ong and Soh Yi Da, who played key roles on the FASS 90 Gala Dinner Committee, came together to cut FASS’s 90th birthday cake.

Vernon Cornelius (of the Quests from 1960s Singapore) and his band in action

The climax of the event was the sealing of the FASS Leapfrog Time Capsule in commemoration of FASS’s 90th Anniversary. Professors Goh and Ho placed items representing the Deanery, every department, alumni, student body, along with the day’s edition of The Straits Times into the time capsule, which they set to reopen in 2079 on the occasion of FASS’s 150th anniversary. Professor Ho then sealed it by pressing a virtual button on an iPad, setting off confetti and cheers from everyone.

Every dollar makes a difference

We have never started out with the intention to carry out a donation drive of any sort, and throughout the sale, we have also made it very clear to anyone purchasing the books that we are not holding a donation drive (even though the proceeds will go to the FASS Graduate Student Help Fund).

The history graduate community have been talking about tidying up the Graduate room and sorting out the copious number of books that have accumulated over the years for a while but we always seem to lack the momentum and motivation to gather everyone together to do something about it.

A little tired of the lack of progress, I put out a call for action and several of my peers responded to the call. We thought that if we simply donated the books or put them in the recycling bin, it is too much of a waste– some of the titles are really great. As such, we thought of holding a book sale; this way, the books will go to someone who really wants them and we can actually tidy up the graduate room.

Thus, I would really like to thank Tony, Che-Wei, Sufei and Thawdar for taking the time to help in the setting-up and the manning of the book sale, and Kuan Huai for dropping by to offer moral support. Tony and Che-Wei were instrumental in de-cluttering and sorting out the books in preparation of the sale, and Sufei has also assisted tremendously in the moving of books to the stall. The sale would not have been possible without the help that everyone has pinched in. We have collected a total of $378.50, and the sum was donated to the FASS Graduate Student Help Fund. It is not a huge amount by any means, but we hope that every dollar makes a difference. 🙂

Wang Shuqin Sandy
Current MA candidate in History

 

PhD Research Scholarship Opportunity

Peopling Infrastructure: Aeromobilities, Automation and Labour Mobilisations in Asia

With a start date of August 2020, ONE Research Scholarship (RS) is available at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for prospective PhD students interested in completing a research on airport infrastructure, automation and labour.

Successful applicants will complete their degree in the Department of Geography.

The deadline for application is 15 April 2020.

Find out more here.

Modernism gone wild: A year researching and teaching at King’s College London

In my final month at King’s College London, I made a literary pilgrimage to Monk’s House in Rodmell, where the modernist couple Virginia and Leonard Woolf stayed. The walk from the train station took me past the River Ouse, where Virginia ended her life in 1941, faced with mental health issues exacerbated by the impending World War. I saw the quaint little cottage, the outdoor shed where Woolf wrote some of her famous novels, and the beautiful gardens previously tended to by her husband. I then walked in her footsteps to her sister Vanessa Bell’s place, Charleston Farmhouse. Bell was a notable modernist painter, and her farmhouse hosted many other famous intellectuals from the Bloomsbury Group, including the economist John Maynard Keynes and the artists Duncan Grant and Roger Fry.

The River Ouse enroute to Monk’s House
Hiking from Monk’s House to Charleston Farmhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia must have been a strong walker, despite what I have read about her frail mental state. It was an eight-mile hike up and across the sprawling South Downs, past herds of curious sheep and huge twitchy cows, down a steep and rocky trail (which took some finding), and across wheat fields guarded by a historic gamekeeper’s tower. I almost didn’t make it to Charleston in time for the final tour of the day. With fifteen minutes to spare, I ran the last 600 metres, hopped a gate (or stumbled over it, really), went to the bathroom, and emerged sweating and panting into the reception area. I wondered if Woolf ever presented herself in such an undignified manner. It was all worth it for Charleston’s gorgeously quirky interiors (painted and designed largely by Bell, Grant, and Fry), which formed the backdrop to the rich history of the Bloomsbury Group as narrated by our erudite guide.

This experience was one of the many ways in which literary modernism — one of my research focuses — came alive for me during my year at King’s. London was and is one major nexus of literary modernism, particularly Bloomsbury modernism. I connected with the British Association of Modernist Studies, which hosted multiple seminars, a Postgraduate Networking Day, and their annual conference. Beyond academia, I experienced how modernism continues to be rejuvenated for a larger public, ranging from the West End play The Inheritance, to the London premiere of Vita and Virginia, to the exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy, and the Avant-garde, jointly held by the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Barbican Centre.

Discovering rarer books at London’s British Library

Such contemporary takes on modernism made me reflect on the relevance of Euro-American modernism to Asian contexts today, and how they compare with modern literature produced in Asia. I pursued this interest with guidance from my King’s supervisor Dr. Sebastian Matzner, who worked with me intensively to refine my research focus, and who pushed me to think and write with more clarity and humility. I audited a module taught by Dr. John Connor, which resonated with my interests in modernism, realism, and the Cold War. London’s British Library offered access to rarer books and resources, which led me to Nieh Hualing’s mid-century works, including her compilation of an anthology of short stories written by modern Chinese women. I also learnt to present my research to diverse audiences, through conference presentations and reading groups, and immersed myself in the vibrant community of fellow postgraduate researchers and faculty members at King’s and beyond.

One of my most formative experiences was teaching at King’s. I was responsible for a class of 20 students for the year-one module Genres in World Literature. Teaching this module strengthened my understanding of Comparative Literature, which is a discipline that is related to, but diverges from, my training in English Literature. It made me more comfortable with the parts of my work that compare anglophone modernism with modern Chinese literature. Further, the vastly different academic environment prompted reflections on my own pedagogical practices and values. I adapted to the needs and temperament of King’s undergraduates, many of whom are wonderfully forthcoming and eloquent with their opinions on politics and social issues, but who sometimes need some nudging to get back on topic. I adjusted to grading papers on Turnitin, and exploited resources such as learningonscreen.ac.uk, which is an on-demand radio and video service with clip-making functions. I was heartened to receive two student nominations for the categories “Rising Star” and “Innovation in Teaching.”

View of Trafalgar Square from The National Gallery and its exhibition on Impressionist art

It was a challenging year. Beyond life at King’s, I learnt to wrap up in the chilly months, fixed a boiler, survived the Tube in summer, and navigated the subtleties of British manners. But I also enjoyed the exceptional produce (Summer fruits! Tomatoes! Black kale and Savoy cabbages! Italian mandarins and pancetta! Sausages!), the beautiful Victoria Park and its lake full of swans and cormorants and ducks, Bethnal Green’s stand-up comedy scene, sightings of London’s elusive urban foxes, the varied architecture, and short trips to Bath, Brighton, Denmark, France, and Switzerland. I grew to love the steady rhythms of city walking, of summer hiking, and I learnt to pace myself in both life and research. I brought these lessons back with me to the tropics. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Visiting Switzerland and the Alps
Visiting Switzerland and hiking in the Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tan Teck Heng
Current PhD candidate in English Literature

 

A Land Imagined – Friday, 30 August 2019

A Land Imagined《幻土》 exposes a side of Singapore that is not commonly known or understood even to Singaporeans, grappling with issues of ethics and identity, and gives audiences a glimpse into the lives of migrant workers, the difficulties they face as well as their hopes and dreams. Touching on the notion of the ‘other’, the film highlights themes of heritage and society, showing migrant workers who are essential to the continual progress of our nation but yet are excluded from our society.

This noir film has won numerous awards, including being the first Singaporean film to win the Golden Leopard prize at the 71st Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) 2018, as well as the Best Film in the Asian Feature Film Competition at the 29th Singapore International Film Festival – SGIFF 2018.

Free admission with registration:
https://tinyurl.com/emccalandimagined