SIM University

Transforming to Take On a Changing Landscape

Since our inception in 2005, SIM University (UniSIM) has been a university with a difference. As the forerunner in lifelong learning, we have a unique mission to help people excel through our inclusive, practice-oriented pedagogy.

But we are not stopping there. We continue to grow and transform to take on a bigger role as an autonomous university in the evolving tertiary education landscape. Together with our students, we aim to be trailblazers in the world of learning and working.

Defining the Education Landscape

UniSIM to Become an Autonomous University (AU)

A key milestone of 2016 was the announcement made by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State for Defence that the Government has proposed for UniSIM to become Singapore’s sixth AU. This is in recognition of the university’s significant contributions and its potential in furthering lifelong learning opportunities for Singaporeans. SIM members voted on and supported this proposal subsequently.

SIM has invested in the development of UniSIM over the last 11 years. While UniSIM will leave the SIM Group, the move for UniSIM to take on a bigger role in Singapore’s tertiary and training landscape is a feather in SIM’s cap.

UniSIM will be renamed and will focus on applied education in social sciences for both fresh school leavers and adult learners. Students will be trained in socially-related careers such as social work, human resource, psychology, early childhood education, and family and criminal law. It will also continue with its current suite of programmes.

Launch of Singapore’s Third Law School

The new Law School which opened for applications in March saw an overwhelming response from both fresh school leavers and working adults. 80% of the 60 places were offered to mature students who are predisposed to a career in criminal and family law, such as paralegals, law enforcement officers and social workers. UniSIM's Law School was commissioned by the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education with a mandate - to meet the country’s shortfall in family and criminal law practitioners. To ensure that its graduates are well equipped, the school’s curriculum will be practice-oriented, multi-disciplinary and with a strong focus on applied research.

New Pathways to Learning

Full-time Programmes

UniSIM’s full-time programmes continued to witness strong interest. We received 3,100 applications with an eventual intake of 428 students to six programmes. To meet increased needs in the future, we launched two new programmes – Supply Chain Management and Social Work to train qualified talents in these sectors.

Real-world, Real-time Education

The line between formal studies and work is blurring. Partnerships with industry are constantly being forged to enable our students to gain relevant work experience while pursuing their studies. This makes them work-ready, and is a win-win for both employees and employers.

Work Study and Global Perspectives

A key tenet of UniSIM’s work-study initiative is its intensive six-month work attachments that are compulsory for all full-time students. In 2016, 195 students were placed on work attachments in Singapore as well as Asian countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan and China.

Students were also exposed to global programmes. Examples included an overseas study mission to the United Arab Emirates for participants to gain a wide breadth of appreciation for that region including economic and business opportunities; and an exchange programme with Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani University where students worked as teaching assistants.

Growing through Serving

The Three H’s – Head, Heart and Habit – define UniSIM’s education philosophy and design. The goal is that UniSIM graduates will be professionally competent and job-ready (Head), socially conscious (Heart) with strong work ethics and values (Habit).

To cultivate the Heart, service-learning is a compulsory graduating requirement in UniSIM. In 2016, more than 400 students participated in service-oriented projects in collaboration with over 40 community partners including Youth Corp Singapore and Pertapis. These collaborations were in areas such as ageing, health, poverty, vulnerable children and youth, inclusion and diversity, and the environment.

To help our students grow beyond the classroom, we also worked with international partners such as the Hillary Outdoors Education Centre (New Zealand) and Nomad Adventure Pte Ltd (Malaysia) on customised student programmes focussed on building life skills.

Part-time Programmes

Convocation 2016

UniSIM has done well to make education accessible to all through flexible and yet rigorous learning pathways. Part-time programmes remain the standard bearer of our academic portfolio.

The 11th UniSIM Convocation, presided by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education & Skills) and Senior Minister of State for Defence, saw 2,134 graduates receive their scrolls. These graduates included pioneer cohorts in Aviation, Business Administration, Sociology with Security Studies, Psychology with Security Studies and Communication with English Language.

Earn and Learn

As part of the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn initiative, UniSIM partnered Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic to offer their graduates in Retail Management, Supply Chain Management, and Big Data and Analytics an articulation pathway to UniSIM part-time degree programmes. Graduates under this nationwide scheme acquire relevant job skills and an industry recognised degree certification at the same time.

Continuing Education and Training

We expanded our Continuing Education and Training (CET) offerings beyond modular courses. We now offer certification courses and also gave recognition to learning delivered outside of the regular academic curriculum.

UniSIM sealed a partnership with National Trades Union Congress and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to deepen the competencies of the Singapore labour force. The goal of this collaboration is to help Professional, Managers, Executive and Technicians (PMETs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) become more competitive through jointly-organised training programmes and activities in areas such as logistics.

UniSIM, together with the Ministry of Manpower, Centre for Seniors, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic launched the Age Management @ Workplace Training Programme. The programme, initiated by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers, seeks to increase awareness and take-up of workplace age management practices among employers.

Applied Research for Real-world Relevance

The Centre for Applied Research (CFAR) continually forges strategic collaborations in research, with the findings used to develop relevant programmes for learners and improve the world we live in.

It was a fruitful year for CFAR, with the completion of five research studies, two new projects, six seminars and one panel discussion involving the academic, business and public sectors on a wide range of topics.

Industry engagement continued through our quarterly Business Times-UniSIM Business Climate Survey, in its tenth year, and the LTA Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey, in its eighth year. For the first time, CFAR contributed to the quarterly survey of the Asian economy conducted by the Japan Centre for Economic Research.

The Institutional Research and Analytics Unit was set up in 2016 to provide information to aid effective planning at UniSIM, with the eventual aim for the university to become a leader in the field of institutional decision-making leveraging analytics.

Industry Engagement

Engaging the industry is part of the UniSIM DNA, and this extends beyond working with employers and relevant associations and agencies to design our curriculum, teach our classes and offer work attachments.

Industry collaborations included:
  • Public Sector Service Management
    • UniSIM partnered the Prime Minister’s Office Public Service Division and Civil Service College to offer an undergraduate programme to upgrade the competencies of civil servants.
  • Intellectual Property (IP)
    • To equip students for the global knowledge economy, we partnered IP Academy Singapore to develop a slate of online IP-related training courses.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • UniSIM partnered the Thai Researchers’ Consortium on Value Chain Management and Logistics, and Vietnam Logistics Research and Development Institute to provide students and faculty with learning opportunities in logistics and supply chain management. We also partnered Thammasat University and Chiang Mai University to organise the 8th International Conference on Logistics and Transport. The theme was Next Generation Supply Chains: The Future of Supply Chain Management.
  • Singapore Media
    • The Singapore Media Forum was organised for the first time by UniSIM, Australia’s Murdoch University and Nanyang Technological University. The forum covered a variety of topics with a focus on the importance of digital media.
  • Enterprise Resource Management
    • The Enterprise Resource Management Challenge 2016 was a new annual business competition organised by UniSIM, SAP and Monsoon Academy. Its aim is to encourage students to learn about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) via gamification and to incubate ERP talents.
  • Well-being
    • UniSIM held the inaugural International Conference on Well-being, with the theme National Accounts of Happiness and Social Development, covering topics at the individual and societal levels across cultures.
  • Conversations on Terrorism, Haze and Food Safety
    • UniSIM launched its Conversation Starters series with National Library, Singapore through forums helmed by experts on subjects critical to the survival of Singapore.

Integrating Technology and Learning

As one of the early proponents of e-learning, we continue to leverage new technologies to define the way we deliver the best learning experience for our students.

We enhanced our iStudyGuides and the UniSIM Backpack mobile app. We also implemented a new learning management system to give our students a more engaging learning experience.

To date, over 50% of our courses have been rolled out via e-learning mode, which incorporates elements such as e-textbooks.

Awards and Achievements

We are proud of the numerous accolades received by our community of stakeholders including students, alumni and faculty.

List of awards and achievements
  • Best Facilities Management Training Institution Award
    • UniSIM was presented with this award for its commitment to the development of students from its Facilities and Events Management programme, as well as raising industry standards.
  • Pioneer Social Worker Award
    • Professor Tan Ngoh Tiong and Associate Professor Seng Boon Kheng from the School of Human Development and Social Services were presented with this prestigious award to recognise their contributions to improving lives in Singapore.
  • Most Inspiring Tamil Trainee Teacher Award
    • Our alumnus from the Tamil Language and Literature degree programme, Stalin Ramasamy, was awarded the Most Inspiring Tamil Trainee Teacher Award for his excellent performance in the Postgraduate Diploma in Education Programme at the National Institute of Education.
  • Best Director and Best Picture Award
    • Ms Wang Yue, a lecturer from the UniSIM’s School of Business, was given the Best Director and Best Picture Award, for her entry at the South East Asia Micro Film Competition - China Impression and Story 2016.
  • Designathon 2016 – Best Prototype Award
    • Terrence Thaddeus Lew, a Visual Communication with Business undergraduate, was part of a five-member team which won the Best Prototype Award at Designathon 2016. Terence and his team developed a prototype of the Swiftband which alerts the wearer of oncoming vehicles through sound, motion and visual cues.
  • Friends of Students Care Service Award
    • For the first time, six UniSIM full-time students were presented the Friends of Students Care Service Award by Students Care Service (SCS). The award celebrates students’ commitment to collaborate with SCS engagement programmes such as mentoring for beneficiaries.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Appreciation Award
    • Nine full-time UniSIM students received the Outstanding Volunteer Appreciation Award by Pertapis, for their long-term contributions to meeting the needs of beneficiaries.
  • ASEAN University Games (AUG)
    • UniSIM, together with the five public universities, organised the AUG 2016 for student-athletes from ASEAN and Timor-Leste. The theme In Celebration of Diversity and Unity encouraged the building of a stronger ASEAN community through sports. Teams from UniSIM and SIM Global Education put on their best showing, winning 20 individual and team medals.

Cultivating Lifelong Bonds

We don’t make a hard distinction between students and alumni as we see them all as lifelong students who learn from one another.

We increased the number of student-alumni activities to cater to the diverse needs of our community. Highlights included the first overseas trip to Malacca, OSIM Sundown Marathon and night cycling.

The first Industry Networking Session was organised to provide a platform for our alumni to interact and build friendships with business leaders and industry players.