Most of you would have heard of the two premier universities in Singapore, the National University of Singapore as well as the Nanyang Technological University, both regarded as top 50 universities in the world, according to the latest Times Higher Education Supplement survey.
However, there is a "new" university in Singapore (although possibly not so new in the sense that it absorbed certain established institutes and colleges) in a spanking new campus right in the heart of Singapore's Orchard Road - the Singapore Management University (SMU). Interestingly enough, the local New Straits Times did a thorough and complimentary review of the University today. Here are some snippets of the review:
While most universities conduct classes in huge lecture halls, SMU limits its students to a maximum of 50 per class. They don’t usually take down notes because materials would have been posted on the Intranet a few days before class.Job Prospects
"It is a state-of-the-art campus. But most importantly, we adopt a different pedagogy in educating our young minds. Our students don’t attend lectures and tutorials. They learn through small-group seminars which stimulate interaction. As a result, students become more bold, confident and articulate and are much sought after," says Hanson [Assistant Director of Corporate Communications].
A survey conducted last year revealed that all of SMU’s students landed jobs within six months of graduation. About 60 per cent of them were offered jobs even before they finished their studies while 75 per cent have received at least two or more job offers.Teaching Assessments
The university has a unique system where students, at the start of each term, are given "e-dollars" to bid online for courses, preferred professors and time slots. And while professors grade students for their course work, students rate their lecturers on their teaching and mentoring capabilities.
[Try doing this in Malaysian universities, and there might just be a revolt by the lecturers.]Quality of Lecturers & Academics
More than half of them come from outside Singapore while 90 per cent of them obtained doctoral degrees from Ivy League institutuons [I'm extremely impressed! Compare this against only 30% PhD holders in Malaysian universities from don't know where] and are familiar with the American education system.Well, that's a real example of focusing on quality and not quantity. I'd not be surprised if SMU climbs the world rankings table quickly in the next few years.
"In the education business, it is important not to compromise on the quality of professors. We don’t employ people who are looking for jobs. Instead, we go headhunting for the best brains and offer them a package that would attract them to Singapore," says Goh [Director for Undergraduate Admissions].
Malaysian-born Chua is an example. The 26-year-old who completed his bachelor and doctoral degree at the prestigious Wharton School in just five years is now SMU’s youngest assistant professor. He has been with the university since 2003.