Professor Sing Kong Lee
Professor Sing Kong Lee is the Vice President (Alumni and Advancement) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He obtained a 1st Class Honours in Horticultural Science from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1974, supported by the Colombo Plan Scholarship and awarded by the Public Service Commission of Singapore. He received his PhD in 1985 from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in Plant Biotechnology.
After an illustrious career in the civil service, Professor Lee joined National Institute of Education (NIE) in 1991 and was in various positions of leadership. He assumed the directorship of NIE in 2006. Under his stewardship, NIE took a systematic review of teacher education programmes in partnership with MOE and its schools, using the revised National Curriculum as key guides. The resulting 21st-century teacher education model was launched in 2009 to develop teachers with the key values, skills and knowledge necessary to function in the 21st-century classroom.
Building on his extensive knowledge and experience in education, Professor Lee was appointed as the Vice President (Education Strategies) from July 2014 till June 2016 to lead the development of NTU’s strategies and innovations in curricular, teaching methods and assessment. He initiated a framework that provides the support for professors across NTU to proactively adopt Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) initiatives, with the aim of having 50% of the NTU courses to be incorporated with certain TEL components in them by 2020. As the Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU), he leads CRADLE in its focus on research into the best learning practices specific to Singapore’s tertiary education sector. Appointed as the Vice President (Alumni and Advancement) in August 2015, he is pivotal in the re-development of Alumni and Donor relationship in NTU.
Professor Lee has received numerous awards for his contributions in education & research works. Among his notable accolades are the National Technology Award 2000, Urban Agriculture Award 2000, Excellence for Singapore Award 2001, Singapore Innovation Award 2001, Public Administration Medal (Silver) (2004), Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Biology (2005), NUS Distinguished Alumni in Science Award (2009), Public Administration Medal (Gold) (2011), Medal of Honour for the Cause of Education (Vietnam) 2011. Professor Lee is also the first Singaporean to receive the prestigious Medal for Distinguished Service 2013, the highest honour awarded by Teachers College, Columbia University, USA.
NTU has progressed rapidly in her research and research achievements since 2007. As the focus was on research, NTU paid equal emphasis to reform the education in the university to ensure that our students are educated to be relevant in the ever changing landscape. An extensive review was conducted to determine how education within the university can be planned, developed and delivered so as to build the relevant attributes in our graduates. These attributes would not only ensure the relevance of our graduates in the 21st century, but they would also establish an identity as to who an NTU graduate is. It is important for a university to define the graduates that they develop. The outcome of the review established 5 attributes which a NTU graduate ought to be developed so as to enable them to adapt well in the ever changing landscape. Known as the 5Cs, the attributes are Character, Creativity, Communication, Competence and Civic Mindedness. These attributes were determined after extensively reviewing the external drivers that include the major trends developing in the global environment, the transformation in the social media, the need for 21st century skills and the changing profiles of the 21st century learners, often dubbed as EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image driven and Connectedness) learners. This model is branded as NTU Education, a model that defines what education for our students encompass.
The outcomes of NTU Education can only be as impactful as how NTU implements our educational strategies. Five broad initiatives were developed to achieve the 5 attributes as the outcomes of NTU Education. They are:
a) Develop a culture of responsiveness, relevance and rigour
b) Enhance teaching excellence through developing our academics professionally
c) Empower learning through technology enablers
d) Enhance learning beyond the curricula
e) Enrich undergraduate education and improve postgraduate education.
In gist, NTU Education moved towards an outcome based education that determines what the students ought to learn. The implementation of the 5 initiatives took an ecosystem approach that involves the establishment of the learning outcomes for each programme, in turn guides the design of the curricula and the pedagogical practices to be adopted. The learning environment was transformed into a 21st century learning environment that empowers students to take ownership of their learning while professors play a more passive role as facilitators. Degree structures were redesigned to provide for double degrees and in certain instances such as the Renaissance Engineering Programme where students can obtain both a Bachelor and Master degree in four and a half years. Immersing students into the global environment to gain wider perspectives became a feature of NTU Education. Advantage is also captured when students reside in the Halls of Residence through a model of residential learning called the Head-Heart-Hand model which helps students to build their intellectual capacity, inculcate desirable values and improve personal effectiveness. Concurrent research is being conducted on the efficacy of the initiatives in acquiring the 5 Cs in our graduates.