Dr Stephen Lim Joins the FASS Deanery

We would like to welcome our new Deanery member, Dr Stephen Lim, who joins us from the Department of Psychology and will look after the Office of Programmes in the Dean’s Office. The Office of Programmes looks after Freshman Seminars, European Studies, multidisciplinary minors and the writing modules. We ask Dr Lim some questions to find out more about him.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I received the PhD degree in experimental cognitive psychology from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2010, and visited the Perception Lab at the Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders in Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School before returning to join the NUS Department of Psychology as a Lecturer in July 2010. Since January 2012, I serve the Department as a Senior Lecturer and was concurrently, from July 2012 to June 2013, the Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies and Deputy Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Since July 2013, I serve the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as an Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies overseeing the Office of Programmes, and the University as a Fellow of the NUS Teaching Academy.

What is your area of research?

In terms of basic research, I am mainly interested in issues of visual and auditory cognition but have, through an ambition to understand the way humans perceive objects and hear music, developed a particular curiosity for human evolutionary psychology. These are some questions that motivate my research: Why do we sometimes see (and are influenced by) what we ought not to see? What exactly constitutes a visual object? Why is music so pleasurable, with tonal music often more so than atonal music? Why do some melodies (but not some) reside and recur in our minds? How can rubato ever occur when pulse (together with pitch) is cornerstone of all music? In terms of pedagogical research, I currently examine the efficacy of innovative pedagogical and assessment methods in hope to discover ways of promoting effective (e.g., lifelong) learning among NUS undergraduate students.

Why Psychology?

I have always been fascinated with human behaviours (and the reasons behind them); Psychology provides one direct way of studying and understanding them (both the behaviours and their underlying reasons).

What are your plans for the Office of Programmes?

I endeavour to work closely with our academic convenors in raising the profile of the various academic programmes and educational platforms that our Office offers – such as the Freshmen Seminar Series and Multidisciplinary Minor Programmes – in a number of ways. We are looking to fetching new study options for our students to enhance their learning experiences by, for instance, establishing new connections with various Schools, Faculties, and like-minded overseas partners. As an example, we envision that our European Studies students might actually receive opportunities to read modules about European architecture in our School of Design & Environment, western music at our Music Conservatory, or engage in direct conversations and exchange ideas with regional or international peers about such issues as paving a new silk road. At the personal level, I hope very much and shall strive to get to know and interact with as many of our students enrolled in our diverse programmes as I can, and together foster many friendships. We envisage a range of new, stimulating possibilities at our Office of Programmes in the days ahead.

We would also like to thank A/P Cecilia Lim for her efforts as Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies – Office of Programmes).

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