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State of University Address 2014

SMU Vision 2025


Summary of Main Points in President Arnoud De Meyer’s Address – 29 August 2014

Writing the New Chapters of SMU’s Next Success Story

As SMU comes up to its 15th year and has reached an inflection point, SMU Chairman and Board of Trustees together with senior leaders endorsed a powerful bold vision called SMU Vision 2025. This is a Vision that aims to build SMU into a great university.

Here is a progress report on some of SMU’s key achievements:

  1. Transformative Undergraduate Education
    1. Recognising the importance of helping our students appreciate the Asian and global context, and for them to adjust quickly to different types of rapid changes, we embarked on a significant revamp of our SMU curriculum. All freshmen from Academic Year (AY) 2014/2015 enjoy the first phase of a brand new common curriculum, with full implementation in 2015. The core of the revamp is also to provide students more flexibility in customising their programmes.
    2. In preparing our students to seize opportunities in growth areas such as global sports marketing, we developed a partnership with University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sport Marketing Center on a programme that blends concepts in business such as finance, marketing and leadership, with that of real-life sports practice.
    3. SMU students not only have successful careers but also the heart to give back to the community. To-date, they have clocked a record of more than 1.8 million hours of community service in Singapore and overseas. These include 169 overseas projects organised across 18 countries.
    4. Receiving another great endorsement from the Singapore Government when SMU was given financial support for a new School of Law building, we held the Groundbreaking Ceremony in January 2014. Expected completion date is 2017.
    5. Building on the Diversity and Inclusion function within the University, SMU is collaborating with the Society for the Physically Disabled on developing and promoting best practices for the inclusion of persons with disabilities within the SMU community and beyond.
    6. The 15th cohort of SMU freshmen each received a copy of the new SMU LifeLessons Journal called the SMU Pathfinder, which aims to maximise their out-of-classroom learning experiences through examples, guided and reflective exercises.
    7. Starting AY2014/2015 is our first cohort of students from the SMU-SUTD dual degree programme, which has been hailed as an innovative collaboration and a first in Singapore.
  2. Healthy Growth In Postgraduate Programmes
    1. Through our innovative programmes and SMU’s strong brand name, the postgraduate professional programme student intake has grown to 27% with about 800 as the total number currently enrolled. Several new programmes were also launched over the past year and these include Masters in Tri-sector Collaboration, Masters in Management, Masters in Science in CFO Leadership, and Singapore’s first blended MBA programme in collaboration with IE Spain.
    2. In expanding SMU’s role in giving back to Singapore, we launched our SMU Warriors Programme. This is a bond-free postgraduate scholarship programme specifically developed to recognise the contributions made by Singapore’s armed forces and to promote talent development for the nation.
    3. In Executive Development (ExD), there was a steady year-on-year revenue growth from about $4.8 million in Financial Year 2011 to $7.2 million in Financial Year 2013. This works out 23% growth per year in 2012 and 2013. ExD, with the support of the Economic Development Board, also launched a new Asia Leaders Programme in Infrastructure Excellence (ALPINE), a first-of-its-kind programme with a specific focus on South Asia and South East Asia.
  3. Progress in SMU’s Research and Its Impact
    1. In responding to the urgency for solutions to be discovered to help Singapore’s ageing population and its policy makers, SMU put together a proposal for a multidisciplinary research project through which it achieved a significant breakthrough in securing a $10 million grant under Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Tier 3 competitive grant programme. This is a first time that a major grant is given for a social sciences research project in Singapore.
    2. Income from Tier 2 MOE competitive programmes rose more than three-fold from $424,000 in FY2012 to $1.38 million in FY2013. For industry-funded grants, these more than doubled to $2.87 million in FY2013.
    3. Also making a national contribution in touching and impacting lives is the research from SMU-TCS iCity Lab which is collaborating with National University Hospital on a home-based dialysis care monitoring system. Their research project, on creating sensor-enabled homes for personalised community care for the aged, under the Ministry of National Development’s Land & Liveability National Innovation Challenge has been selected for implementation.
    4. Other newly established partnerships with institutes to address practical issues related to business and societal needs include the Centre for Technology and Social-Behavioural Insights, and the Centre of Excellence for Taxation.
    5. In building up each of SMU’s Areas of Excellence – Finance and Financial Markets; Analytics for Business, Consumer and Social Insights; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship – the University has made significant progress.
    6. In addition, high quality research contributions from our Schools have placed SMU and Singapore on the map in global rankings:
      • Our School of Accountancy, in the rankings by Brigham Young University, has risen to represent Singapore in the top 10 worldwide for Financial Accounting with Archival Methods; and number 27 in All Topics and Methods for Accountancy.
      • Our Lee Kong Chian School of Business has risen to 52nd spot worldwide for research contributions for the period 2009-2013, and 4th spot in Asia by University of Texas, Dallas.
      • Our School of Economics maintains its ranking at 1st in Asia and 57th worldwide; and in the field of econometrics 4th in the world in the Tilburg University Top 100 Worldwide Economics School Research Rankings.
    7. To grow the research talent pool, SMU has been promoting its postgraduate research programmes globally which has seen the growth in student enrolment to 180 students. Together with postgraduate professional students, the University now has close to 1,000 postgraduate students on campus.
    8. The number of PhD programmes has also increased to eight with the launch this year of the PhD in Business (Strategic Management and Organisation), and next year of the PhD in Business (Operations Management) and the Practice Doctorate in Innovation.
    9. Starting January 2015, Nobel Laureate Thomas Sargent will be joining SMU as Distinguished Professor of Economics.
  4. Enabling Technology for Research
    1. Achieving a first among Singapore’s universities, SMU has implemented a high-performing integrated research system that supports end-to-end research management processes.
  5. SMU As Asia’s Knowledge Hub
    1. SMU’s Business Families Institute launched the inaugural Business Families Succession Research Survey Report together with Deloitte Southeast Asia, and the survey saw the participation of 83 business families.
    2. In a span of just two years, SMU’s Centre for Management Practice’s Case Writing team has produced more than 100 cases and teaching notes on businesses around the region as well as launched the inaugural issue of Asian Management Insights.
  6. Expanding SMU’s Global Footprint across Asia
    1. As part of our China Initiatives, in November 2013 we held the inaugural China Forum themed Be China Ready, which saw a stellar line-up of scholars and thought leaders including Professor Justin Lin from Peking University.
    2. In April 2014, I led a team of deans and senior faculty when we launched the Global Forum Series in China through separate forums jointly organised with Fudan University and with Tsinghua University. These forums are intended to foster sharing of research and knowledge on the common challenges facing Singapore and China.
    3. SMU’s India Initiatives organised the second Singapore-India Business Dialogue themed The Changing Financial Landscapes in Singapore and India in May 2014.
  7. Thought Leadership and Reputation Building
    1. Throughout the year, we held several international conferences which drew many key academics and scholars to our University. We also hosted at SMU several luminaries from academia and government. In addition to Nobel Laureates in Economics, they include Nobel Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and former Finance Minister of Chile Fernando Flores; former President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick, and eminent political thinker and writer Francis Fukuyama.
  8. Corporate Visibility and Students Taking Global Stage
    1. SMU’s Office of Integrated Information and Techonology Services has been named CIP 100 honouree 2014 for its SMU Corporate Anaytics & Reporting Initiative.
    2. Our Corporate Marketing team won the Best Idea – Viral at Marketing Magazine’s MARKies Award 2014 with the SMU Undergraduate Admissions Campaign titled SMU – A Different U.
    3. SMU has achieved the Building & Construction Authority Green Mark Platinum awards for the whole of our University campus through the efforts of Offices of Facilities Management and Campus Development.
    4. Also bringing international recognition to the University are our students who have made us proud with their many achievements in local and global competitions.
  9. Financial Strength and Operational Excellence
    1. Supporting our various efforts and initiatives are our donors, for without their generosity, we would not be able to grow and progress at such a healthy rate. For the last financial year, we received S$15.5 million in gifts, which amounts to S$33 million with MOE matching.
    2. In driving operations excellence – Business Process Improvement Programmes have been implemented across SMU including the Office of Global Learning and Li Ka Shing Library.

Realising SMU Vision 2025

In working towards realising SMU Vision 2025, we have already started with several initiatives and enhancements that will be completed over the short-term and medium-term periods.

  1. SMU as a Game Changer in Designing Innovative Education: In preparing our students for changes in the global environment, we are working towards designing more experience-based, project-based learning, and creative learning. We want to create a mindset change, to move away from focusing on teaching and instead include a focus on learning. The SMU-X project concept and course are aimed at facilitating that change in mindset. A pilot programme is being planned and will be implemented in SMU Labs and in the Li Ka Shing Library.
  2. SMU as Catalyst and Lead in Cutting Edge Research: We have drawn up a strategy that includes building in each of our six Schools, a distinctive and internationally visible research identity. We will build up the nascent research area of e-Social Science (or referred to as Computational Social Science) and make it a differentiating factor for SMU. More emphasis will be placed on securing competitively awarded external research grants, and mounting of larger team-based research projects.
  3. SMU As A Global Exemplar and A Leading Asian City University: We want to integrate SMU into the city and its stakeholder groups of business, education, arts and sports, and the city residents through our academic and student life activities. Projects in SMU-X will also be connected to the community around us.

Last updated on 31 Oct 2017.