SPS 20 Symposium


The Special Programme in Science (SPS) was established in 1996 as the Faculty of Science’s premier academic programme to nurture aspiring scientists for the knowledge-based economy. SPS achieves this through its uniquely-designed Integrated Science Curriculum.  Since the establishment of SPS 20 years ago, NUS has introduced various other multidisciplinary programmes. These include the University Scholars Programme (USP), the Engineering Science Programme, the Bachelor of Environmental Sciences (BES) programme, Yale-NUS as well as the residential colleges. Along with their inception, novel curricula, teaching and learning methods were also introduced.


As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, SPS organised a half-day symposium on 22 September at Lee Kong Chian Auditorium. The Guest-of-Honour was NUS Provost Prof TAN Eng Chye, one of the founding fathers of SPS.


Speakers from SPS, Tembusu College, College of Alice and Peter Tan and Ridge View Residential College shared on teaching techniques, pedagogical insights and unique instructional design. The symposium was open to all NUS academic staff and was particularly beneficial for those teaching  multidisciplinary courses in special programmes or residential colleges. Attended by 76 academic staff from faculties, schools, residential colleges and the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning, the symposium served as a get-together session for educators to exchange knowledge on best practices in teaching multidisciplinary content to students of diverse backgrounds.


The first speaker was Dr Alberto CORRIAS, a senior lecturer at NUS’ Department of Biomedical Engineering and a Fellow of the College of Alice and Peter Tan. Dr Corrias shared his experience teaching a junior seminar module on topics related to science and engineering, focusing on the various pedagogies and classroom activities involved in this seminar-style module. 


This was followed by a talk by Dr Catelijne COOPMANS, a Fellow and Director of Studies at the College. Dr Coopmans develops educational programmes that maximise opportunities for critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and cross-disciplinary learning across different domains of knowledge and expertise. She provided a review of the pedagogical strengths and possibilities associated with teaching science, technology and society at Tembusu College.


The third speaker was Mr SIVASOTHI, a lecturer at NUS’ Department of Biological Sciences and Director of Studies at Ridge View Residential College (RVRC). In his talk, Mr Sivasothi focused on how RVRC integrates its three core pillars, namely sustainability, professional and academic communication, and workplace readiness into a truly integrated programme.


The last presentation of the day featured Dr LIM Zhi Han, a lecturer at SPS and NUS’ Department of Mathematics. Dr Lim shared how he uses demonstrations, research equipment, computation and visualisation software, as well as student presentations to stimulate active and collaborative learning in the Active Learning Room setting.


The symposium closed with an invitation to all special programmes in NUS to collaborate. While there are differences in each programme’s offerings, they share the objective of inculcating thinking and learning across the boundaries of conventional disciplines.


-       Contributed by SPS


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SPS Assistant Director Andreas DEWANTO gave a welcome address


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NUS Provost Prof Tan Eng Chye delivering his keynote address as Guest-of-Honour


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The speakers and organisers of the SPS20 Symposium. Front row (from left to right) : Dr Lim Zhi Han,
Dr Chammika UDALAGAMA, Mr N. Sivasothi, Dr Catelijne Coopmans and Dr Alberto Corrias
Back row (from left to right) : Dr Robert LIEU, Dr Linda SELLOU, Mr Andreas Dewanto and Prof LIOU Yih-Cherng


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SPS student YUN Ting shared her educational experiences with symposium participants