T5-DM1-3 - A transformative engineering and architecture education

Difference Makers
Kin Leong Pey1 , Lucienne Lucienne Blessing1, Bige Tuncer1
1 Singapore University of Technology and Design

Abstract—Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in Singapore was set up in January 2010 to tackle global challenges of the 21st century and beyond. To truly address human-centric issues and problems, a design-focused curriculum using an outside-in approach was adopted in formulating its undergraduate degree programmes in engineering and architecture. This has led to the formation of degree programmes focusing on products, services, systems and built environment which the world needs. To break down the silo mentality and promote multidisciplinary education, SUTD adopts a very forward-looking approach in its academic structure which only consists of pillars that offer majors for various degree offerings. The absence of conventional colleges, faculties, departments and even divisions encourages seamless and boundaryless collaboration in education and research across all pillars and clusters. With a strong focus on Big-Design (i.e., Big-D) throughout and across courses, semesters and domain areas, undergraduate students are well equipped with skills and attitudes through 20 to 35 team-based Big-D projects during their undergraduate education to provide learning experience beyond book knowledge, preparing them well with various soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and others before embarking on their career in industry. Coupled with small group-cum-active or peer-to-peer learning in a dedicated cohort classroom environment, the SUTD undergraduate programme further encourages students by having them collaborate with each other to foster teamwork and a collaborative spirit in formulating and sharing solutions beyond the team. Besides being recognized by the “Global State-of-the-Art in Engineering Education” report commissioned by the MIT School of Engineering [1] as the top of the emerging leader in engineering education recently, the response from industry for the first 5 batches of undergraduates has been very positive.

Keywords—undergraduate, engineering, architecture, design, projects, pedagogy