Singapore University of Social Sciences
Education Feature | SUSS

A Willing Heart Learns Better

It is more than just an academic pursuit at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). Its comprehensive curriculum grooms students to be selfless and take pride in giving back to the community

Left: Yeo Jia Min is a SUSS Spirit Award 2018 recipient. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work with Minor in Human Resource Management at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Right: James Eu is pursuing a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Minor in Psychology at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He is also an NTUC First Campus Pre- Service Scholar.

The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) provides a learner-centric education that promotes lifelong learning, and develops students that are industry-ready. Backed by its rich heritage (the university was established in 1992), the curriculum is undoubtedly sound and relevant to the needs of the economy. However, what sets SUSS apart is their focus on creating social awareness of the needs of the society.

Collectively, SUSS is centred on its 3H’s education philosophy: ‘Head’ for professional competency with applied knowledge, ‘Heart’ for social awareness of the needs of the society, and ‘Habit’ for passion towards lifelong learning.

BrightSparks spoke to two 25-year-old students with willing hearts, Yeo Jia Min and James Eu, who humbly share their learning journey at SUSS, and how they are looking to influence the society positively.

Off To A Good Start

The SUSS experience is unique because it primes students for self-directed learning. This approach fosters meaningful discussions during classes and challenges them to solve complex problems. The learning takeaways are stronger, and it helps them contextualise real-world problems, too.

This learning approach kept Jia Min engaged during her seminars and classroom discussions. It was also the curriculum and industry recognition that drew Jia Min to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work with Minor in Human Resource Management at SUSS.

Yeo Jia Min

Left image: Jia Min is also an adept illustrator. Check out her work via her Instagram handle, @jiaominyyskexes

Jia Min quips: “When I was working in the student care, I had looked through the requirements of pursuing a career in Social Work. There is accreditation from SUSS and the course is recognised by the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW).

“Beyond that, what impressed me about SUSS was the emphasis on compassion for society, as the curriculum and programmes are focused on equipping students with the core knowledge and understanding about emerging issues in society. This aligned closely with what I had wanted to achieve in my learning outcomes.”

Many graduates have attested that SUSS has helped them in their professional development, and Jia Min is no exception. She says that SUSS provides industry-oriented skills and knowledge, as well as soft skills to cope with future work scenarios. She also appreciates the people who have helped in her education journey.

“What impressed me about SUSS was the emphasis on the passion for society, as curriculum and programmes were focused on equipping students with the core knowledge and understanding about emerging issues in society.” Yeo Jia Min

“In SUSS, I appreciate the relationships I have forged with some of the lecturers and supportive peers,” she enthuses.

Jia Min also shares that her hard work was validated by attaining the SUSS Spirit Award 2018. The award honoured her determination and commitment in academic studies and service-learning, as well as invaluable attributes to take her further in life.

“The embodiment of ‘Head, Heart, Habit’ (3H) in this journey has groomed me into a socially conscious and active learner where lifelong-learning, and the want to incite change has been imbued as part of my personal growth and in the profession that I aspire to venture into.”

Most definitely, Jia Min will be influencing positive change in more ways than one.

The Next Leap Forward

The SUSS learning journey helps students go the distance in their career goals. The curriculum has also shaped their mental maturity, and their ability to think out of the box and be more aware of social issues.

Explains James, who is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education with Minor in Psychology: “I love the modules in SUSS and I have grown a lot academically. We have a component called Service-Learning and Community Engagement, in which we have to engage a community partner and volunteer for 1.5 years.

Bottom left: James, an avid football fan, went to the University of California, Los Angeles for summer school and took the opportunity to catch LA Galaxy in action.

“I started a group called Project Colours, where 14 other volunteers and I went to help out at a special education school in Singapore. As a project leader, I had to go over to the school and discuss what we can do for them. The experience in SUSS service learning has helped me to gain a wider perspective in terms of the community working with children.”

This journey will definitely help James in his career in early childhood education.

“I enjoy working with children and their families. Seeing the children improve their skills over time really reminds me that I am making a difference in their lives,” he explains. Apart from classroom discussions, the hands-on experience offered by SUSS has been an invaluable one for James.

“SUSS is certainly going the extra mile to prepare me for my career. We have practicum every term, in which we will be posted to a kindergarten or childcare to practice what we learn in our module. We even have assignments that involve us to observe or conduct an activity with the children, and then we reflect about it.

“Recently, I just completed my teaching practice, which is a three-month practicum programme at a childcare centre. I felt better prepared in my career, as my form teacher and supervisor all helped to correct me and give me a lot of useful advice on how to improve myself such as my tone, posture and body language.”

“SUSS is certainly going the extra mile to prepare me for my career.” James Eu

He whole-heartedly endorses SUSS for its high academic standards, and how the university has shaped his mind and soul.

He says: “SUSS has very high standards when it comes to grading or marking, and the professors here are very experienced in teaching. Most definitely, it is not a ‘second-choice university’.”