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State of University Address 2015

SMU Vision 2025



Summary of Main Points in President Arnoud De Meyer’s Address

Celebrating SG50 and SMU15

The last 15 years have built SMU into an amazing university that has grown in academic stature and global reputation. As a homegrown university, SMU’s success depends very much on the support provided by the Singapore Government and the larger community. In celebration of SG50 and SMU15, SMU and had the privilege of hosting Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he delivered the 7th Ho Rih Hwa Leadership in Asia Lecture.


Entering A New Phase of SMU’s History with SMU Vision 2025:

Progress report of some key achievements:


(1)   SMU as a Game Changer in Undergraduate Education

(a)   Believing in admitting students through a holistic assessment and not a one-size-fits-all method, SMU is the first university in Singapore to interview all shortlisted candidates for the undergraduate programmes. In attracting the students that SMU wants, 2015 was the year when some key changes to the admissions process and outreach were made. Through collaboration across the whole university, SMU achieved a much higher admissions yield.

(b)   In pushing the frontiers of learning, SMU pioneered a unique pedagogy that transformed Singapore’s university landscape. SMU is again moving into new learning territories with the launch of its first-of-its-kind SMU with six new modules being offered from Academic Year 2015/2015. Thirteen other new modules have also been launched.

(c)   SMU graduates continue to have a competitive edge through the SMU educational experience and enjoy high employment rates and starting salaries.


(2)   Game Changer in Lifelong Learning

(a)   SMU has been offering innovative postgraduate professional programmes since 2002. This has translated to a healthy growth of 36% in enrolment. Our range of first-of-its-kind postgraduate programmes includes IE-SMU Blended MBA, The Master of Science in Management and the Master in Tri-sector Collaboration.

(b)   SMU’s Executive Development has expanded their portfolio of clients for tailor-made programmes and they owe their success to more than 70 faculty members drawn from across SMU last year. In 2015, the number of faculty who will participate in Executive Development is expected to increase.


(3)   Game Changer – Out-of-Classroom-Learning

Out-of-classroom learning at SMU includes moot competitions, business case challenges, and performing arts competitions. SMU students have participated in a wide range of key global competitions and won top prizes. These include various international law moots, global business challenges, private equity case competition, and hackathons.


(4)   SMU as a Catalyst in Cutting-Edge, Large-Scale Multi-disciplinary Research

(a)   SMU had, in Financial Year 2014, secured a record sum of S$57 million of research grants and gifts, as compared to S$12.03 million the previous year. Of the former sum, School of Information Systems won three significant research grants worth S$36.5 million to address national and urban needs. These include the Ageing-in-Place with the SHINESeniors Project funded by the Ministry of National Development and the National Research Foundation (NRF); the Urban Computing and Engineering Centre in collaboration with A*STAR and Fujitsu; and the Secure Mobile Centre, funded by NRF and other Singapore national agencies.

(b)   The Centre for Research on the Economics of Ageing (CREA) was set up and has started its enrolment of the Singapore Life Panel following two successful pilot surveys. Expected to be the world’s largest population-representative monthly survey conducted, CREA has surpassed their target having enrolled 15,000 individuals and 11,000 distinct households.

(c)   In addition, SMU’s six Schools have produced much in terms of disciplinary research that has made a national and international impact. Some examples include studies on CEO contractual protection and short-termism; economic freedom, investment flexibility and equity value; events that affect the performance of hedge fund managers; ambient cultural disharmony; econometric detection mechanisms; market information for high-frequency trading activities; overhauling an online tool for carbon emission measurement; cosmopolitanism; as well as books on Singapore’s legal system and social issues over 50 years.


(5)   SMU as a Global Exemplar

(a)   Integrating SMU into the larger community as Singapore’s only city campus university is a key thrust in Vision 2025. The University together with Central Singapore District launched SMU Grow that aims to create global awareness on environmentalism, food production, consumption and security and promote sustainable urban living. SMU’s student groups and CCAs will also work with beneficiaries and community from the District to organise events spanning arts, sports and community service.

(b)   Other collaborations include the Financial Literacy Fiesta with Citi Singapore and the Singapore Night Festival with the National Heritage Board. Being part of the community also involves supporting key sporting events as what the SMU community did with the 2015 SEA Games from 5 to 16 June. 29 SMU students and alumni competed to win 17 sports to win 15 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 10 bronze medals, and several of SMU students, faculty and staff members were involved in organising the Games.


(6)   SMU’s Global Reputation

(a)   Centre of Management Practice’s Case Writing Initiative won the top prizes in two separate categories of the 2014 case writing competition organised by the European Foundation for Management Development. There were several other initiatives including the launch of an SG50 commemorative book titled: “Singapore at 50: The Business of Nation-Building”.

(b)   SMU’s schools continue to do well in their disciplinary rankings. The latest Financial Times (FT) rankings for postgraduate programmes have placed Lee Kong Chian School of Business first in Asia and third in the world in the FT Global Masters in Finance Post-experience Ranking 2015; and second in Asia and 34th in the world in FT’s Global Masters in Finance Pre-experience Ranking 2015 for its Master of Science in Applied Finance programme.

(c)   SMU has started on its project of forming a network of “like-minded universities” that are more than business schools and more focused than comprehensive universities. Together with SMU, network partners include Université Paris Dauphine, University of St Gallen, Copenhagen Business School and Fundacao Getulio Vargas.

(d)   In recognition of what SMU does well in promoting social innovation and social good, SMU became the first Asian university to be accorded the ASHOKA Changemaker Campus status.


(7)   SMU’s alumni base has grown to be 16,000 strong. There is now a dedicated Office of Alumni Relations that plans to have more alumni engagement initiatives such as creating a clubhouse, a home away from home for the alumni.


(8)    Financial strength: In Financial Year 2014, SMU raised $12.5 million which attracted $15 million in government matching from MOE.


(9)   Shaping SMU’s Future with Vision 2025

There was a leadership renewal at SMU in 2015 with a strong new team. Professor Lily Kong was appointed Provost effective 1 September; Professor Cheng Qiang took on the deanship of the School of Accountancy effective 1 July; and Prof Gerry George assumed the deanship of Lee Kong Chian School of Business from 1 January.


(10)   Game Changer

(a)   Several initiatives on progressing ahead with SMU as a Game Changer include integrating SMU-X courses into the University undergraduate curriculum as a set of cluster by themes. We will transform the university scholars programme and make it really distinctive by ensuring that the experience-based learning becomes central to the scholars’ experience.

(b)   SMU will also introduce humanities subjects in the areas of literature and history to provide stronger grounding for our students.

(c)   The launch of the President Inventive for Blended Learning, an educational research fund is intended to promote and recognise a scholarly, evidence-based approach to blending seminar-style with online teaching and learning at SMU.

(d)   SMU is committed to ensuring that 100% of the graduating cohort has the opportunities and resources to have overseas exposure.

(e)   Through SMU LifeLessons, the University will continue to foster a better integration between the academic programmes and the out-of-classroom experience for all SMU undergraduates.

(f)    SMU’s Global Summer Programme will be expanded with more course offerings and options for students.

(g)   Two practice-oriented Doctoral programmes, the Doctor of Innovation and the Doctor of Business Administration will be launched, and postgraduate career services will be strengthened.

(h)   SkillsFuture will be one of the areas that SMU will be actively supporting. Currently there are about 100 courses that could qualify to be part of SkillsFuture.


(11)   Catalyst for Research

(a)   The University will move from three to five Areas of Excellence with the addition of the Ageing and Health Care Management, and Urban Management and Sustainability.

(b)   In maximising the University’s resources, there will be a strategic review of the current institutes, centres, labs and initiatives.

(c)   A national retail centre of excellence is being developed in collaboration with EDB and SPRING. This will include an innovative retail management track for SMU undergraduates.

(d)   Phase two of the Living Analytics and Research Centre (LARC) will include the combination of the research, data, application and system strengths of LARC and LiveLabs to improve urban systems and services as well as improve the social well-being within the Singapore social context.

(e)   The Lee Kong Chian Professorship and Fellowship programme was launched to encourage multi-disciplinary research that is aligned to SMU’s five areas of excellence. On an annual basis, 7 standing professorships and 42 fellowships will be awarded.

(f)    SMU will continue investing and increasing the efforts in senior faculty recruitment to enhance the University’s portfolio of teaching and research.


(12)   Global Exemplar

(a)   The piling works for SMU’s new School of Law building which lasted about 10 months has been completed.

(b)   SMU Campus Green renovations will include new seminar rooms and group study areas in the Concourse. Other new spaces are a centralised Co-Curricular Activities space facing Campus Green; and expanded three-storey Fitness Centre rising from the Concourse; a new Amphitheatre for student and community engagement activities; and a jogging track on the Green.


SMU – A Great University

SMU, through Vision 2025, aims to become a Great University.

  • A university that births great ideas, provides rich test-beds for ideas to flourish and spread the knowledge through research, application and commercialisation.
  • A university that is committed to the pursuit and application of breakthrough research to solve problems and complexities in focused areas of excellence in urban and sustainable living, ageing, housing, city-states and developing cities in the world.
  • A university that has built an esteemed brand renowned for its culture of innovation in all its functions, and for producing graduates that make a difference to government, business and society.


Last updated on 31 Oct 2017.