Q&A with Dr Dale Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor, James Cook University Singapore

  

JCU Singapore programs follow the same curriculum as the Australian versions but are contextualised to the Asian environment. What are the benefits of studying at the Singapore campus?

The Singapore Campus is a relaxed and friendly place. It provides students with a unique opportunity to establish networks and friendships with other students from across the world. The diversity of the student population and of the lecturing staff provides opportunities to better understand the greater world and to contextualise that understanding to individual aspirations and interests.

 

University isn’t just about academic education; It’s also about the overall experience of student culture and life at university. How does JCU address this?

The JCU Singapore experience is not confined to a lecture room or an on campus experience.  From day one students are encouraged to extend themselves through experiencing the vibrancy and opportunity that is Singapore. JCU Singapore offers clubs and societies and through our acclaimed volunteer program the chance to become part of Singapore’s culture and community.

The sense of community that we build JCU Singapore starts when the student is greeted at the airport on their arrival into Singapore or if Singaporean on their first day on campus and continues through to the warm welcome that graduates receive when joining our very active alumni association. The JCU community is strong in Singapore and beyond and supported by social media and on-going functions but most by the bond that is fostered through studying and socialising on a small friendly campus.

It is also important to understand that academic life at JCU Singapore is not separated from the rest of the student experience. I encourage and support collaborative learning experiences which extend well beyond the classroom. Students are also given the opportunity to experience the creation of knowledge that working with research active lecturers provides and to have access to new knowledge worldwide through the best technology available.

 

Last year JCU Singapore celebrated its 10-year anniversary. How has the Singapore campus evolved over this time?

I have been part of the evolution of  JCU Singapore for the past eight years and have seen it grow from a small teaching focused institution into what it has become- a vibrant opportunity for students to experience learning and a centre for research. The campus is now focused on making life different for people in the tropics by producing graduates who can make a difference.

The big milestones were the opening of the Upper Thomson campus in 2007 which saw very rapid growth and the opportunity to give our students an experience unrivalled in the private education sector in Singapore. We were welcomed to the Upper Thomson community of which we are now part and that campus became the centre of our student life.

At about the same time we made the decision to employ as many full time academics as possible which changed our teaching and learning experience forever. We also made the decision in 2007 that all academics would hold a PhD and be research active and this has established a culture that has distinguished us ever since.

Becoming wholly owned by James Cook University and being awarded Singapore Quality Class and EduTrust 4 year status were also defining features of JCU Singapore’s evolution over the past 10 years. The attaining of our many quality awards is supported by our overriding philosophy of putting students first and second.

However the most satisfying part of my time at JCU has been seeing the achievements of our students. JCU Singapore has graduates worldwide who are making a difference and I believe that our students will make the world a better place.

 

Can you tell us a bit about the new JCU Singapore campus?

The new campus will allow us to offer an even better student experience in an environmentally sustainable atmosphere. The campus is in Aljunied and is more than twice the size of our current two campuses together. The new site was formally a secondary school and its current configuration will have to change extensively to offer the collaborative leaning environment we want to see developed there.

We are currently at an early stage in our planning but we hope to offer contemporary learning technology throughout the campus and an environmentally sustainable approach to everything we do at the new campus.

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