Kenneth Paul Tan

Was a member of the Academy from 2009 - 2018

"Teaching is, for me, a series of intellectual, moral, and aesthetic puzzles whose purposes must extend beyond the technical mastery of academic subjects to the development of an expanded mode of reasoning and judgement about their appropriate, beneficial, just, and creative application in the world. I design innovative curriculum and pedagogy to inculcate in my students a life-long habit of critical thinking; to sharpen their ability to engage at the intuitive, theoretical, empirical, and practical levels; and to raise confidence in their capacity to effect positive transformations in the world. I want to share with my students the struggles and joys of living a life of contemplation and action in the world".

Biodata

Kenneth Paul TAN (b. 1972) is Assistant Dean (Academic Affairs) and Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy where he has taught since 2007. From 2000 to 2007, he taught at the National University of Singapore’s Political Science Department and University Scholars Programme. Since 2000, he has received more than 10 teaching awards, including the Outstanding Educator Award 2009. His research interests have been in the fields of political theory, comparative politics, and cinema studies, specializing in Singapore studies and focusing on topics such as democracy, civil society, media, the arts, multiculturalism, and meritocracy. He has published in high quality international journals such as Asian Studies Review, International Political Science Review, and positions: east asia cultures critique, and has authored two books: Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (edited volume, NUS Press, 2007) and Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2008). In 2008, he received a Fulbright Award to be a visiting researcher at Georgetown University (US). In 1995, he received a Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship to read for a Ph.D. in social and political sciences at the University of Cambridge (UK), which he completed in 2000. In 1994, he obtained a first class honours degree in the joint school of economics and politics at the University of Bristol (UK) on a Public Service Commission overseas merit (open) scholarship. He is the founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s board of directors, sits on the board of directors of theatre company The Necessary Stage, and has composed music for some of its performances. He is married to Clara Lim-Tan, principal of CHIJ (Kellock).

Teaching Strengths

  • Introduced “service learning” mainly in the form of student attachments to civil society organisations, that enable students 
    to bridge theory and practice
  • Conceived an innovative “Socratic method plus mind mapping” approach widely acknowledged by students to have made 
    classes highly participative
  • Made innovative use of IT and multimedia, and authored Web resources
  • Designed classroom simulations and role play exercises for experiential learning

Teaching Awards / Accolades

  • Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Teaching Excellence Award (2008)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2005/6)
  • Excellent Teacher Award (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) (2004/5)
  • Excellent Teacher Award (University Scholars Programme) (2004/5)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2004/5)
  • Excellent Teacher Award (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) (2003/4)
  • Excellent Teacher Award (University Scholars Programme) (2003/4)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2003/4)
  • Excellent Teacher Award (University Scholars Programme) (2002/3)
  • University Scholars Programme Teaching Award (2002/3)
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