NUS appoints new Dean of Arts and Social Sciences

The National University of Singapore (NUS) announced today that it will be appointing Professor Lionel Wee as the new Dean of its Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He will concurrently hold the position of Co-Dean of the NUS College of Humanities and Sciences. Prof Wee, who is currently Vice Dean of Research and a Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature, will take over from Professor Robbie Goh as the Faculty’s 18th Dean, with effect from 1 October 2021.

An NUS alumnus, Prof Wee has been a faculty member at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences since 1988 where he started out as a Teaching Assistant with the Department of English Language and Literature. He pursued his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, under the NUS Overseas Graduate Scholarship programme, and was appointed a Lecturer upon his return.

Besides serving as Vice Dean of Research since 2014, Prof Wee was Head of the Department of English Language and Literature from 2010 to 2014. In July 2017, he was appointed Provost’s Chair Professor for his outstanding scholarly achievements.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “NUS is pleased that after a rigorous global search, Prof Lionel Wee has been selected to be the next Dean. He is passionate about high quality education and research, and has an excellent understanding of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the University, having served in numerous leadership roles at the department, faculty and university-levels. I am confident that he will bring the Faculty to new heights of international excellence.”

A linguist, Prof Wee has published widely in international and local journals, and sits on multiple editorial boards. He is a well-respected scholar with research interests in the areas of language policy (especially in Southeast Asia), the grammar of Singapore English, metaphorical discourse, and general issues in sociolinguistics and pragmatics.

Prof Wee said, “I am excited and honoured to be given this opportunity to lead my alma mater as its next Dean. Having spent more than three decades at FASS, both as a student and a faculty member, I have experienced firsthand the selfless commitment of my colleagues and impressive insights our students bring to the study of the arts, humanities and social sciences. I am confident that together, we can continue to make significant contributions to society while enhancing our Faculty’s standing as one of the leading humanities and social sciences faculties in the world.”

Prof Wee takes over FASS leadership from Prof Robbie Goh, who has served as FASS Dean since January 2017. During his tenure, Prof Goh was instrumental in the setting up of, and served as the Co-Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, an enhanced undergraduate experience for students of the FASS and the Faculty of Science. While the College has scaled up interdisciplinary teaching and learning at NUS, its students get to pursue intellectual breadth and depth across disciplines, choosing from more than 1,000 modules offered by both faculties. Its inaugural cohort of students was admitted in August this year.

Prof Tan said, “On behalf of the University, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Professor Robbie Goh for his dedication and strong stewardship in leading NUS FASS. Under his visionary leadership, the Faculty has made significant contributions to the advancement of education and research in the humanities and social sciences. During his leadership, the FASS 2.0 Industry Tracks programme was started to enhance the employability of its graduates. New multidisciplinary initiatives such as the Philosophy, Politics & Economics programme were also established. The Faculty has also expanded collaborations with industry and further strengthened its high international reputation.”

Prof Goh will be taking a leave of absence from the University as he takes on the role of the Provost at the Singapore University of Social Sciences from October 2021.

Said Prof Goh, “It has been a privilege and honour to serve as Dean of one of Singapore’s largest and most historied Faculties. I am grateful to my talented colleagues for all their hard work. I believe that together, we have brought the Faculty to new heights of excellence in teaching, research and service. I look forward to the work of creating new programmes and nurturing talent in my next role as Provost of the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and hope that I will also be able to forge new ties and collaborations between the two universities.”