One exciting development from the semester is the creation of a network for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) at NUS. The network has been started during Sem. 1 of 2015, and includes leaders of Teaching Centers at the many excellent higher education institutions in Singapore – NTU, NUS, SMU, SUTD, SIM, SIT, and of course Yale-NUS College. I met with this group several times during the Sem. 1, and really enjoyed getting to know this interesting and diverse group. It includes Peter Looker from NTU, who has a long track record in Australia before leading his dynamic center at NTU, as well as Nachamma Sockalingam from SMU, Yong Lim Foo from Singapore Tech, and Eng Hong Ong from SUTD. Johan Geertsema, the NUS CDTL director is leading the charge, and has not only convened several interesting discussions of our group but has also engaged the team at Lund University in Sweden and we together are discussing a course for Faculty Development Techniques for next academic year.
Johan Geertsema, the NUS CDTL director, and the NUS Associate Vice Provost Huang Hoon Chng arranged for a fantastic two day meeting on October 26, which included representatives from NUS (Alan Soong, Kiruthika Ragupathi), Lund University in Sweden (Katarina Martensson), University of Hong Kong (Grahame Bilbow and Trudi Chan), Hong Kong Poly (Angelo Ho), and U. Kyoto in Japan. The group met for a day of discussions and presentations on a Friday and also a second weekend day for further strategizing about how best to develop SoTL in Singapore and across Asia.
Katarina Martensson and Dan Bernstein both gave talks during the day, and I took a LOT of notes and learned a lot! Katarina is an expert on “communities of practice” and explained the theory and practice of these communities as they relate to both faculty development and curriculum redesign. The interesting part of Katarina’s talk was that she was describing in many ways the very group we were assembling, and our community of practice is one that hopes to have a shared intellectual enterprise in developing a unique flavor of SoTL in Singapore and helping coordinate our efforts in faculty development in the coming months. A few figures from her talk illustrate schematically how we are all connected in our efforts, and also that various models for fostering such connections can be applied to help accelerate development of innovations by “local champions” and dissemination and reinforcement of such efforts with carefully developed outside ties. The talk was just one of several amazing lessons in how universities can interconnect and can learn from each other.
(these slides are available online at: http://ctlt.ubc.ca/files/2010/08/Torgny-Roxa-PowerPoint-Presentation-11-28-08.pdf ). Further talks by Dan Bernstein were very instructive; Dan also came to Yale-NUS to meet with us and to give a talk on assessments and grading. A very exciting set of days!