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).

FASS Mentorship Programme 2013 – Applications Open Now!

Not sure about your career choices, which jobs fit you, how to prepare for your dream job or what it entails?  Let an FASS alumnus be your guide and helping hand to answer your queries about the working world.

In the words of a former mentee –

“I was truly privileged in that my FASS mentorship experience was in many ways no less than an internship experience! My mentor provided opportunities for me to get “hands-on” experience and an insider’s perspective on the tourism sector. As a student with various other school commitments, I also benefited tremendously from the flexibility the program offered in terms of arranging meetings with my mentor. During these meetings, my mentor candidly related personal experiences for me to learn from and readily addressed the many questions I had for him. I am certain that the FASS mentorship experience will prove to be a crucial first step I took closer to graduation, and in preparation for embarking on my career path. It has also been memorable in that it accorded me an invaluable learning experience outside of NUS.” Sarabjeet Singh (Geography Major)

Please APPLY HERE by 28 April 2013.

If you have any queries, please write to reunion@nus.edu.sg.

Minors in School of Computing

School of Computing(SOC) is inviting students from other faculties (Cohort 2011 and after) to apply for Minor in Computer Science and Minor in Information Systems in Semester 1 of Academic Year 2013-14.

  • For Minor in Computer Science application, click here
  • For Minor in Information Systems application, click here

Please note that the closing date for the application is on 21st June 2013, 12 noon.

Thank you.

Mrs Kwek W.K.

School of Computing

Office of Undergraduate Studies

Experiencing Southeast Asia with OdySEA 2012

In the spirit of Homer’s epic poem, the purpose of OdySEA is to give students an opportunity to undergo a journey, both intellectually and physically, and allowing them to establish a new sense of self in relation to the region. Jointly offered by FASS and the Faculty of Science, the inaugural OdySEA attracted 30 students from both faculties who spent six weeks in the Special Term reading modules centred on Southeast Asia. Between going for classes and finishing up on reports, they also spent two weeks in either Thailand or Philippines to do field work.

Read more about the experiences of three FASS students who embarked on OdySEA 2012!


Sarah Lim (Philippines)                                      Dean Wong & Jeremy Ho (Thailand)

Also check out the documentary on Thai social etiquette Why Wai by four students for OdySEA 2012. Filmed and produced by Jeremy Ho, Kenneth Poon, Teng Horm Earm & Dean Wong.

For more information on OdySEA, visit the Study Abroad @ FASS Summer Programmes page.

The inaugural FASS Student Leadership Camp 2012

The inaugural FASS Student Leadership Camp 2012 (FSLC) was jointly organised by the FASS Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). Participants hailed from various leadership positions of the Communications and New Media (CNM) Society, Economics Society (ENS), FASS Club, Geography Society, German Society, Malay Studies Society and Sociology Society.  26 FASS student leaders spent 13-15 Jan 2012 challenging ourselves, amplifying our inner leaders, making new friends, and opening doors for inter-society partnerships.

1: Leaders at Kota Rainforest Resort
Upon arrival at the resort, we were briefed about the objectives of the camp (keep a positive attitude, be considerate, be sensitive, and refrain from smoking and consuming intoxicating beverages) and broken up into two groups for games the next day. After a home-cooked supper by chefs at the resort, we checked into our rooms, which were satisfactorily equipped with air-conditioning and water heaters. Five almost-strangers would step out of their shared room two days later, friends
2: A lost sole
Games the next day were not to be trifled with. Many of us suffered battle wounds in the form of detached shoe soles, but none of us were deterred from pushing our limits through abseiling, flying fox, and rock wall climbing. Cheers for teammates abounded, especially when Lok Liang Xun, Freshmen Immersion Camp Project Director of the Geography Society and Kelvin Poh, President of the Sociology Society, battled the rock wall blindfolded to gain bonus points for their respective teams.
Before lunch that day, we were asked to rate our groups. Siti Zakiyyah Bte Kamaruddin from the Cultural Affairs Team of Malay Studies gave her team a seven, for she felt that the unfamiliarity between leaders from different societies had led to cliques forming.
3: The swimming pool challenge

The swimming pool challenge, Indiana Jones, was a wake-up call to us. Each team was provided with a plank and two poles to transport members to the middle of the pool to retrieve balls. The teams worked separately and though we managed to collect all the balls, it was with much difficulty. During a camp instructor’s debrief, we were told that the task would have been completed more efficiently should the teams had combined their resources to form a stronger structure. With cooperation in mind, the teams breezed through a second round of Indiana Jones. Of course, strong arms and terrific balancing skills of some leaders helped too.

What brought it up to a ten, among many other tens from fellow teammates as shared in the final debrief, was the finale challenge the next day – rafting. Points accumulated from previous games were converted into “currency”, which were used to “purchase” materials such as barrels, poles and rope to create one raft per team. The rafts were to be manoeuvred in a lake, each time bringing a maximum of four balls back. Though each team was allocated a ball colour, teams helped each other by collecting balls nearer to them, regardless of colour. Ties were not only strengthened within the teams through the constructing, rowing and repairing of the rafts, but also between teams.

6: Falling with smiles7: Legs: the human motor

7: Legs: the human motor
8: A/P Vincent Ooi, Assistant Dean (External Relations and Student Life)
A/P Vincent Ooi, Assistant Dean (External Relations and Student Life), shared with us on how the idea of the camp came about, “I was told that the societies would never interact much with one another.” Indeed, the lack of interaction opportunities prior to FSLC resulted in societies being strangers to one another despite most society rooms located together on the 2nd Level of Blk ADM. However, by the end of the camp, the critics would have been silenced. As Zakiyyah concluded her rating, “now, we’re just perfect.”
By Stephanie Yeo, Honorary General Secretary, 32nd Management Committee, NUS Students’ Arts and Social Sciences Club

New Joint Minor with University of Toronto

Visitor to Deanery_002_Web
L-R: A/P Paulin Straughan, Prof Brenda Yeoh, Prof Ito Peng, Ms Shirley Koh and A/P Robbie Goh

In March 2011, FASS concluded the Joint Minor agreement with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the University of Toronto (UoT); officially launching the joint minors in Asian Geographies and Urban and Regional Change in North America. NUS students will be reading the minor in Urban and Regional Change in North America while UoT students will be accessing the minor in Asian Geographies. The joint minor is open to FASS students from the 2009 cohort onwards, regardless of their majors.

Professor Ito Peng, Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary & International Affairs, Faculty of Arts and Science, UoT, was in Singapore recently and was the happy witness to the conclusion of the agreement. She said that UoT considered NUS to be an important and strategic partner and was pleased that the joint minor arrangement has now been extended to FASS. Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean of FASS, echoed Professor Peng’s satisfaction that the joint minor has now come to fruition and that students from both universities will now be able to benefit from the best of both worlds. She hopes that the relationship between Toronto and NUS will continue to deepen to include collaboration in research and graduate studies.

More information on the joint minors with UoT can be found here.

Invitation to enroll in WP2201-J “Prizes and Popular Culture”

Students in FASS are invited to enroll in a writing course, WP2201-J “Prizes and Popular Culture” offered by the University Town Writing Program (UTWP).  While considering prizes and what we can learn from them with regard to culture, social trends and individual taste, students will also be practising writing strategies.  To get a sense of the variety of ideas that emerged during the previous semester, students can visit the website  http://coleen-shootingthebreeze.blogspot.com/

WP 2201-J is scheduled for Tues & Fri 9am-11am; Tues & Fri 11am – 1pm; and Monday and Thursday 11pm-1pm.

This course is one of a set of nine topic-specific courses offered by the UTWP (see the list below); this is the last term that all NUS students will be permitted to sign up for them, as starting in August 2011 they will be available only to University Town resident students. If students are unable to accommodate the schedule or have interest in other topic areas than gender and language, they are encouraged to choose among the full slate of UTWP courses listed below:

Models of Press Freedom (WP2201B)

Mars/Venus?: Gender & (Mis)Communication (WP2201C)

Writing in a Digital World (WP2201D)

From Human to “Posthuman” (WP2201E)

Screening Globalization (WP2201F)

Language and Migration (WP2201G)

Eating Right(s): The Politics of Food (WP2201H)

Good Intentions—Unintended Consequences (WP2201I)

Prizes and Popular Culture (WP2201J)