Teaching Awards at NUS

Express a commitment to an institutional value system that sends signals about what it regards as high quality teaching

Outstanding Educator Awards (OEA) Public Lectures

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2017

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2017 was held on Monday, 15 May 2017 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing.

The two winners of this year’s Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) will address the same topic: the importance for higher education of a collaborative approach to learning and teaching. Though they come from very different disciplines, follow different approaches to their teaching, and use different strategies to achieve their goals, both speakers share the same core belief: that it is important to enhance both the processes and outcomes of student learning through fostering collaboration. In order to address the ways and means of achieving this goal, the two speakers will collaborate on a dialogue on collaboration.

Synopsis

 

Collaboration: A Dialogue on the Product and Process of Education

Dr Adrian Lee
Faculty of Science

Dr Chris McMorran
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

What should a university education elicit in students? A common attribute preferred in graduates is that of being a lifelong learner, especially in today's fast-changing jobs landscape. This is the product; education is the process. The product is ambitious in that it is about not only empowering students, but arguably should in the long run make us as teachers redundant. The process is necessarily collaborative, from curriculum design to coordination within and across years, to the need for active, student-centred learning. In this talk, we shall forego the usual format, pool our time, and jointly interrogate the nature of collaboration in university education.

 

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2016

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2016 was held on Thursday, 12 May 2016 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to see the photos and video.

This year's public lectures were delivered by the two OEA winners, A/P Gerald Koh and A/P Paulin Tay Straughan. The two speakers for this year’s Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series will address different but related approaches to key dimensions of higher education. Both talks are oriented to self-directed experiential learning that addresses real-world problems. Focusing on different cases, the first takes as its point of departure the importance of integrating the core missions of the university, while the second considers ways in which to foster a love for learning that moves beyond the dissemination of content.

Synopsis

 

A/P Gerald Koh
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health

Using Research to Show that Service is Educational and Using Teaching of Research to Improve Service: Merging the Three Missions of Academia

 

The three main missions of the university and academic staff are teaching, research, and service. Often, these three domains stretch the academic in different directions, resulting in compartmentalization and stress. However, if strategically and purposefully planned, these missions may coalesce and produce synergies that are greater than the sum of its parts. In this lecture, the presenter wil share how research was used to demonstrate that service was educational, and how teaching of research led to service improvements in society.

   

A/P Paulin Tay Straughan Department of Sociology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Deconstructing “Love”: an “Über-cool” Way to Unlock Potential in Novice Scholars

 

Teaching at tertiary level should move beyond content dissemination so as to nurture human capital. Educators thus experiment with various pedagogies in the belief that different models to invoke the love of learning will work in varied environments and circumstances. Freshman Seminars, piloted in FASS in 2010, constitute one such experiment; over the last years their effectiveness in inducting students into the wonderful journey of life-long learning has become apparent. In a module that has been named the top “Über-cool” course by Vulcan Post, an online publication that focuses on technology, students are empowered to drive their learning trajectory through collective wisdom. We will discuss the approach invoked in the conduct of this Freshman Seminar and highlight how the tools used to assess students facilitated their engagement in the module.

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2015

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2015 was held on Monday, 4 May 2015 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to see the photos and video.

This year's public lectures were delivered by the two OEA winners, Prof Brian Farrell and A/P Ben Leong Wing Lup.

Synopsis

 

Prof Brian Farrell
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Heavy Lifting at the Coal Face: Marking, Comments, and Practical Teaching

Not too many teachers see marking assignments and exams as their favourite part of the vocation. Not a few will say 'Oh I would be happy to teach until I drop, forget retirement, but when my day comes the one thing I will not miss is marking.' There is no need to dwell on why so many of us feel this way. But it is important to consider why this far from glamorous task lies at the very heart of the educator mission. This is the most practical and practice oriented aspect of teaching, and is probably the most important thing we do in the eyes of our students. That alone should command our notice. In this talk, we will explore just why this heavy lifting task is so central to the practice of teaching, and what can happen when one does it well.

   

A/P Ben Leong Wing Lup
School of Computing

The Pragmatic Ideology in Teaching

[We] cannot produce the kind of pupils we did before. All of them went in for qualities which led to individual survival. You ask any bright boy what he wants to do. He wants to be a doctor. Why? Because then he can go anywhere in the world; he will still be a doctor and make money. Or, if he can’t, he will be a lawyer because he also makes money. But you ask him to be an engineer or an architect or to do something, he says, “Then what happens? If the country collapses, I can’t get another job elsewhere.” That must change.

-- Lee Kuan Yew, at meeting with Principals on 29 Aug 1966.

Our former Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was defined by his pragmatic approach to governance and public policy. Education, on the other hand, has often been framed with the lens of idealism. In this talk, we shall explore how the spirit of pragmatism can be applied to education to good effect.

 

 

OEA Public Lecture 2014

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2014 was held on Monday, 12 May 2014 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to see the photos and video.

This year's public lecture was delivered by the OEA winner, Dr Susan Ang Wan-Ling.

Synopsis

 

Dr Susan Ang Wan-Ling
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Idea of a University

John Henry Newman, in his Idea of a University (1852), wrote:

… it is, I believe, … the business of a University to make this intellectual culture its direct scope, or to employ itself in the education of the intellect,—… I say, a University, taken in its bare idea … has this object and this mission; it contemplates neither moral impression nor mechanical production; it professes to exercise the mind neither in art nor in duty; its function is intellectual culture; here it may leave its scholars, and it has done its work when it has done as much as this. It educates the intellect to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it.

This lecture proposes to take Newman’s ‘idea of a university’ as its starting point, asking whether ‘intellectual culture’ or the ‘education of the intellect’ is, in fact, the end-point or sole purpose of a university. Should we, as educators, consider ‘moral impression’, or character formation to be part of our remit? Is Newman right when he says that ‘to discover and to teach’ are distinct functions and that the university exists to diffuse, rather than advance, knowledge? or, in fact, can research and teaching be viewed as related aspects of the university?

 

OEA Public Lectures 2013

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2013 was held on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to see the photos and video.

Synopsis

The two speakers for this year’s Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series will help our community ponder over issues relating to conceptualising and re-conceptualising education in an era dominated by progress in learning sciences, rapid advances in technology and mega-scale innovations in higher education that appear to have global ramifications.

A/P Tan Chee Keong, Willie
School of Design and Environment

Back to Basics

When it comes to teaching, most people ask the same question: “How do you do it?” One response would be to simply go back to the basics — teach in ways that motivate students to learn.  A Contingency Approach to teaching that focuses on developing traits, having clear goals and superior course design may be very useful in this regard. Together, these three elements interact within an environment that structures the incentives towards teaching and learning. This talk will elucidate how teaching goals may be developed, and how one may design courses that provide superior learning experiences for the students. Examples drawn from the speaker’s personal experiences will serve to illuminate the contingency approach to teaching.

A/P Johan Geertsema
University Scholars Programme

Technology and the Role of the Teacher

From massive online open courses (MOOCs) to mobile devices, recent technological developments are transforming education and putting in question the role of the teacher. If students can learn from Ivy League professors on Coursera or edX, have their essays graded instantly by software, and use iPads stored with materials to study on the go, then what would become of traditional classroom teaching? In this talk, some of the challenges of technology, and how we as teachers might position ourselves to benefit from its possibilities will be considered.

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2012

 

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) Ceremony and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2012 was held on Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to see the photos and video.

EDUCATING MINDS AND HEARTS

Synopsis

Three issues in educating minds and hearts will be considered in this year’s Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Lecture Series.

A/P Joseph Ooi

A/P Joseph Ooi Thian Leong
School of Design & Environment

Lessons from “Kungfu Panda”

Teaching, like “kung fu”, is an art which connotes trained ability or mastery of a skill or craft.  We may not be born with teaching skills, but we can acquire them.  Using the ancient art of storytelling as an effective teaching tool that engages not only the mind but also the heart, a journey to learning the art of teaching and discovering the heart of teaching will be narrated.

 

A/P Hooi Shing Chuan

A/P Hooi Shing Chuan
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Nurturing Values

It was Aristotle who said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. This is true of all professions, but perhaps some more than others, where caring for others in the community is an integral part of its work. We aspire to produce people who are guided not just by their minds but also by their hearts, who in the words of William Osler, treat the person who has the disease rather than treat the disease. Examples of how we attempt to integrate the education of the mind and heart in one particular domain, to motivate learning and to nurture empathy and servant leadership will be shared.

Dr Lo Mun Hou

Dr Lo Mun Hou
University Scholars Programme

Against Empathetic Learning

Many recent educational initiatives—from systematic ones such as service learning, to more discrete efforts like hijab challenges—assume the virtue of empathy, and it seems insane to “oppose” such a humanistic value. Despite, or because, of this, it is worth subjecting empathy to critical interrogation. A brief discussion of a contemporary memoir will help to reveal a potential limitation of empathetic learning, after which a pedagogical approach to help students avoid this pitfall will be suggested.

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2011

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award Ceremony (ATEA) and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2011 was held on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to view photos and video of the event.

Speakers

Mr Cheah Kok Ming
Department of Architecture
School of Design and Environment

Prof Koh Khee Meng
Department of Mathematics
Faculty of Science

A/P Lee Tye Beng, Joel
Faculty of Law

A/P Bruce Lockhart
Department of History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

 

Lecture Synopsis

This year’s Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Lecture Series will address four issues—the need for skills-based education, including teaching students to learn and to pose questions/problems and the importance of going beyond classroom teaching into pastoral care in a student centric teaching and learning environment.

Skills-based education focuses not just on teaching students "about things" but how to "do things". Drawing from the martial arts concept of 形 - 意 - 卦, it is important to focus on not just the how" (形) but the "why" (意) and the "what if" (卦) of the skills students are learning. Only then will students learn the skill-sets necessary and acquire the wisdom to use those skill-sets appropriately.

Focusing first on how, we must teach students to be “self-directed” learners. There is a need, for instance, to examine the plot we designed in the problem-based learning approach. One way is to stage learning as a sequence of experiences, in which the outcome is based on the synthesized reflections of each learning encounter, thus enabling students to construct their own knowledge and create a better sense of ownership through this process.

Moving next to why, the questions we ask can generate specific results which in turn may lead us to further questions and so on in a virtuous cycle. As educators, it is therefore important that we cultivate in our students the habit of asking the right questions.

Finally, a case can be made that our interaction with our students outside the classroom and our handling of those who fail to meet their obligations as students are as significant and have as great an impact as what we actually teach them.

Each of the above points will be supported by examples from across a few disciplines.

 

OEA Public Lectures 2010

The Annual Teaching Excellence Award Ceremony (ATEA) and the Outstanding Educator Award (OEA) Public Lecture Series 2010 was held on Thursday, 27 May 2010 at the University Hall Auditorium, Level 2 Lee Kong Chian Wing. Click here to view photos and video of the event.

Lecture Synopsis

A/P Phil CHAN Aik Hui
Department of Physics
Faculty of Science

What is “higher” in Higher Education? Teach less learn more!

What does ‘higher’ in ‘higher education’ mean? Does it just mean ‘teach less, learn more’, where students are expected to be weaned from a spoon-feeding culture and to assume the stance of an independent learner? This issue will be explored through a Socratic teaching approach and examples will be drawn from a cross-faculty module offered to close to 400 students.

 

Dr NARAYANAN Ganapathy
Department of Sociology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

In Pursuit of Empathetic Knowledge

Pedagogically, the teaching of any subject has the capacity of transforming students’ personal and intellectual selves by equipping them with the conceptual and analytical skills to “make sense” of society. Inspired by C. Wright Mill’s (1959) conception of the ‘Sociological Imagination’ – in which ‘public issues’ are always informed by ‘personal troubles’ – I have made it imperative that students first understand the location of their biographies in respect to framing problems, and how knowledge could be produced through research. This is essential for it allows the student to make the “experiential link” between the personal and the professional in the context of lived realities. I argue that this is fundamental to producing empathetic knowledge whose purpose must go beyond the classroom to connect with the everyday experiences of ordinary people out there.

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2009

Winners of the 2008/2009 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Goh Say Song and Assoc Prof Kenneth Paul Tan delivered lectures as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on Tuesday, 28 April 2009 at the University Hall Auditorium.

The Provost, Prof Tan Eng Chye, gave the Opening Address.

The focus of presentations of the award winner were:

Assoc Prof Goh Say Song:Some Thoughts on Our Roles as Educators in the University

Assoc Prof Kenneth Paul Tan:Against Uncritical Pragmatism: Education for Doers Who Can Think and Thinkers Who Can Do

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2008

Winners of the 2007/2008 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Ashwin M. Khambadkone, Assoc Prof Erle C.H. Lim, Assoc Prof Sow Chorng Haur delivered lectures as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on 17 April 2008 at the University Hall Auditorium.

The Provost, Prof Tan Eng Chye, gave the Opening Address. The focus of presentations of the award winner were:

Assoc Prof Ashwin M. Khambadkone:Engineering an Education to Create Student-centred Learning Environments

Assoc Prof Erle C.H. Lim:Teaching Tech-savvy Students: Thoughts of an IT-naïve Old Fogey

Assoc Prof Sow Chorng Haur:Effective Use of Demonstration for Teaching and Learning

 

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2007

Winners of the 2006/2007 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Tan, Victor ( Department of Mathematics) delivered lecture as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on 10 August 2007 at the University Hall Auditorium.

The Provost, Prof Tan Eng Chye, gave the Opening Address. The focus of award winner's presentation was:

Assoc Prof Tan, Victor:Teaching plus Technology minus Fear : An Experience of a Non-IT-Savvy Maths Lecturer

 

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2006

Winners of the 2005/2006 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Chang Tou Chuang (Department of Geography), Asst Prof Lakshminarayanan Samavedham (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) delivered lectures as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on Monday, 14 August 2006 at the CRC Auditorium.

The Provost, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, gave the Opening Address. The focus of presentations of the award winners were:

Assoc Prof Chang Tou Chuang: “A Geographical Journey: From ‘B’ Student to ‘E’ Educator
Asst Prof Lakshminarayanan Samavedham:Active Student Engagement - A Precursor to Quality Education

 

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2004

Winners of the 2003/2004 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Bernard Tan (Department of Information Systems), Dr Tan Kay Chen (Department of Electrical & Computer Engg) and Assoc Prof K Rajendran (Department of Anatomy) delivered lectures as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on Monday, 30 August 2004 at LT 3.

The Provost, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, gave the Opening Address. The focus of presentations of the award winners were:

Assoc Prof Bernard Tan Cheng Yian: “Coping with Rapid Content Changes in Information Systems Education
Dr Tan Kay Chen: “Improving Teaching Effectiveness: Some Examples in Engineering Education
Assoc Prof K Rajendran: “Personal Reflections on Teaching

 

 

OEA Public Lectures 2003

Winners of the 2002/2003 Outstanding Educator Award, Assoc Prof Seah Kar Heng, (Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Assoc Prof Jochen Wirtz, (Department of Marketing) delivered lectures as part of the Outstanding Educator Award Public Lecture Series on the 29th of September 2003 at the Engineering Auditorium.

The Provost, Prof Chong Chi Tat, gave the Opening Address. The focus of presentations of the award winners were:

Assoc Prof Seah Kar Heng: “Spurring Students on to Life-Long Learning
Assoc Prof Jochen Wirtz:Good Teaching: Some Critical Success Factors