Stephen Lim Wee Hun

Council Member

Teaching Aspirations

As a teacher, my deepest desire is to persist in bringing life-transforming educational experiences to all my students. My pedagogical approach has always been to encourage, engage, and empower my students to become independent and inquisitive scholars who possess relevant skills, courage to inquire, and commitment towards lifelong learning. To teach is, of course, to deliver domain knowledge unto – and insure effective learning in – our students. There must be a lot more to being a teacher, however. To me, a teacher is a (com)passionate mentor who is student-centric, cares deeply about a student’s holistic and lifelong development, and seeks constantly to inspire his students; he/she would have impacted students’ lives in real, meaningful ways. I wish to be that teacher figure for as long as I shall teach.

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What Students Say:

(1)   “Prof Stephen is one of those teachers whom I would really call life changing.”

(2)   “Prof Lim is able to guide, nurture and inspire students to greater heights. His style of educating is definitely life-transforming.”

(3)   “Dr. Lim has profoundly impacted the way in which I now view research as an exciting endeavor, and I will forever be grateful for his mentorship.”

(4)   “Dr. Lim transformed my outlook of research completely through the process. It was a life-changing experience that I never would forget even after I graduated.”

(5)   “Stephen Lim is more than just a teacher, he is a life transformer. He has given us faith to aim high, and to keep our aspirations alive.”

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Committee 2012 Citation Excerpt:

Dr Stephen Lim has distinguished himself as an exceptional teacher. Dr Lim’s teaching philosophy offers some insights into his outstanding teaching ability. He uses three words that sum up his teaching objectives: encourage, engage, and empower. Together, these three qualities motivate students to be independent learners hungry for knowledge. Dr Lim is an inspired communicator. There appears to be no concept that is too dry or abstract for him to convey clearly and powerfully. He has a gift in enlivening these concepts by linking them to daily life. He started several programmes to motivate his students – the Stephen Lim Sustained Critical Thinking Award to encourage critical thinking, the Stephen Lim Innovative Idea Prize to encourage innovative thought, and the Stephen Lim Commendation to bolster strong research. Dr Lim excels in research supervision, with a stellar track record. His heavy teaching duties have not stopped him from taking on numerous students for research supervision. He has been highly available for research consultation, even at night. His students have won multiple top awards. To students, working with Dr Lim is a vivid reminder that they can produce high quality research work – all they just need is a good mentor. Many students reported significant changes in their attitude to learning – they now feel more eager to ask, to investigate, and to learn. Students describe Dr Lim as “inspiring”, “transformative”, and even “life-changing”.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Committee 2013 Citation Excerpt:

Dr Stephen Lim not only excels in all aspects of teaching, at all levels from large survey classes to small graduate classes, he actively, ambitiously and successfully contributed to pedagogical research and service, through both his own work and that of the students he supervises. Dr Lim and his students have been making an award winning impact every year since he himself graduated with an NUS PhD in 2010 and, to put it mildly, hit the ground running. Dr Lim’s ability to connect with and engage his students, to make things clear and comprehensible as well as interesting, is attested not only by an impressively large number of nominations for best teacher, as well as remarkably high student feedback scores, but also by the awards his research students have won under his tutelage, locally and internationally. This comprehensive success in all aspects at all levels, very far above requirements, would be impressive for a colleague at any stage of their career. For a young colleague carrying the burden of teaching difficult technical subjects with daunting reputations, it is exemplary. Dr Lim continues to show commendable personal initiative and ambition in all aspects of teaching and teaching-related research and service. Indeed, his efforts might be taken as a model summary of how to blend these three important areas of university scholarship. This body of work deserves recognition.

Biodata

I received the B.Soc.Sci. (Hons.) degree in psychology and Ph.D. degree in experimental cognitive psychology from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2005 and 2010 respectively, and visited Professor Dale Purves’s Perception Lab at the Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders in Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School before returning to join the NUS Department of Psychology as a Lecturer in July 2010, and a Staff Advisor of the NUS Cat Café. Since January 2012, I serve the Department as a Senior Lecturer and was concurrently, from July 2012 to June 2013, the Deputy Director of Psychology Undergraduate Studies and Deputy Chair of the Psychology Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Since 1 July 2013, I serve the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) as an Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies and concurrently head the Office of Programmes; I have also been appointed by the University as a Fellow of the NUS Teaching Academy. I am the Founding Director of Cognition Lab, a new official research group which I started in the Department of Psychology since 31 July 2013 that spearheads both disciplinary (music cognition) and pedagogical (educational psychology) research projects. In October 2013, I have been highlighted to the NUS Office of the Provost as a University Rising Star. Since 1 January 2014, I have been appointed to the inaugural FASS Faculty Teaching Resource Committee (FTRC), an extension of the existing Faculty Teaching Excellence Committee (FTEC). I serve as Deputy Chair of the FASS European Studies Steering Committee since 17 January 2014, the Founding Chair of the NUS Teaching Academy Educational Research Subcommittee since 23 April 2014, and Chair of the FASS Grade-free Education Taskforce since 2 May 2014. From 1 July 2014, I have been elected to the Executive Council of the NUS Teaching Academy.

Our recent research accolades include the International EuroCogSci2011 Best Student Paper Award conferred on a third-year undergraduate research project which I supervised at the NUS, the 2011 Singapore-Japan Scientist Exchange Programme Scholarship, the Annual International CBP2012 Best Research Paper Award, the International ICPSB2012 Best Paper Certificate, the 2012 NUS Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize (OURP) and the 2012 SPS Best Undergraduate Research Award conferred on two undergraduate research projects which I mentored at the NUS, an NUS CDTL Education Conference Grant awarded to a pedagogical research project which a graduate student and I jointly completed in 2013 and, most recently, the 2013 SPS Best Undergraduate Group Research and Overall Best Undergraduate Research Awards. Teaching accolades include the 2011 NUS Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (FTEA), the 2011 FTEA Special Critical Thinking Award, the 2012 University Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA), the 2012 NUS FTEA, the 2012 FTEA Special Students’ Choice Award, the 2013 University ATEA, the 2013 NUS FTEA, and the 2014 University ATEA. Following three ATEA wins, I have been enrolled by the NUS University Teaching Excellence Committee (UTEC) into the ATEA Honour Roll for the next 5 years (2015–2019).

Outside of academia, I am a musician who grew up as a competitive keyboardist and writing music. I have, most recently, resumed long-distance running.

Teaching Strengths

  • Life-changing Education
  • Research-informed Teaching
  • Student Research Mentorship
  • Teaching and Learning Innovations
  • Versatility in Teaching

Teaching Awards / Accolades

  • NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award Honour Roll (2015–2019)
  • NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2014)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2013)
  • NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2013)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Special Students’ Choice Teaching Excellence Award (2012)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2012)
  • NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2012)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Special Critical Thinking Teaching Excellence Award (2011)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (2011)
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Students’ Teaching Award (2010; Inaugural Award)

Representative Pedagogical Research

  • Lim, S. W. H., Tan, B. Z. H.*, & Yong, P. Z.* (2014). A mind wandering hypothesis about retrieval-based learning effects. Presentation at the 12th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii. (*Student authors)

  • Lim, S. W. H., & Yong, P. Z.* (2013). Student perceptions of the use of technology in teaching: Towards a positive learning experience. CDTL Brief16(2), 12-18. (*Student author)

  • Lim, S. W. H. (2013). Pedagogy and technology: Balancing student-centric learning with teacher-centric teaching. Presentation at the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Berlin, Germany; publication in M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 3897). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Gan, D. Z. Q.*, & Lim, S. W. H. (2013). Encouraging lifelong learning in and through higher education. Presentation at the 5th Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore. [Awarded NUS CDTL Education Conference Grant] (*Student author)

  • Lim, S. W. H. (2012). Enhancing critical thinking and learning outcomes at the university: A pedagogical perspective. Presentation at the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Sapporo, Japan; publication in N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 2759). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

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