Interdisciplinary education cultivates T-shaped talents, making university students like hedgehogs and foxes

22 Nov 2020

Lianhe Zaobao, 22 Nov 2020, 跨学科教育培育T型人才 让大学生像刺猬也像狐狸  (summarised translation)
Although the curriculum of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) focuses on technology and design thinking, students must also study humanities, arts and social sciences subjects, as well as artificial intelligence or data science, etc.
SUTD president, Professor Chong Tow Chong said that interdisciplinary learning is meant to nurture “T-shaped talents”, people who have a deep foundation in one domain and a breadth of knowledge and skills across several disciplines. “This enables them to be open to a range of ideas and connect them together to effectively solve problems.”
Recent SUTD Information Systems Technology and Design graduate Lionell Loh Jian An (24 years old) is currently working in American company Facebook as a software engineer, and was employed even before he graduated.
He believes that his education, which incorporated design thinking and allowed him to learn a wide range of different disciplines, will be helpful to his current job. “How do we use what we have learned to design a solution? This requires design thinking, and SUTD therefore attaches great importance to this aspect. In the first year, students are required to study different subjects, such as physics, chemistry and mathematics, etc. Some students may feel that there is no need to study these contents, especially if they are not related to their major subjects. But I like this kind of teaching concept, because with a wide exposure, it allows students to build up a certain knowledge foundation and in the future they can flexibly develop solutions for different problems as well as cultivate design thinking in engineers.