As part of its restructuring into the country's sixth autonomous university, SIM University (UniSIM) was renamed Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) yesterday.
The new name reflects the university's mission of lifelong learning, anchored in disciplines with a strong social focus.
Said Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung on the change: "What will be most unique about the university is its tradition of applied education, and outreach to adult learners, all of which will be kept and strengthened."
The university will have two distinctive features.
First is its focus in the social sciences and disciplines that have a strong impact on human and community development.
Its programmes will prepare students for social sector jobs and those with strong social orientation, such as human-resource management and early-childhood education.
The university will still provide limited courses in other areas such as business and engineering.
Second, SUSS will focus on lifelong learning and participate actively in SkillsFuture, the national movement to foster continuing education and skills development.
UniSIM has focused on adult learners since its 2005 inception as a private university, equipping them for career advancement and transitions.
But at an extraordinary general meeting in November last year, UniSIM's members voted in favour of a government proposal announced the month before to bring the university under the ambit of the Ministry of Education (MOE) as an autonomous university.
This means UniSim, now SUSS, will be receiving government funding and be subject to government oversight but have the flexibility to set its own direction and differentiate its educational offerings.
The other autonomous universities here are the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore Institute of Technology.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, president of SUSS, said the school will cater to a wide range of learners while providing flexibility for their learning.
"We are committed to ensuring that SUSS remains at the forefront of innovative, flexible and applied tertiary education through close collaboration with industry, employers and the community in the development and design of our programmes," he said.
"Leveraging technology, our faculty will be progressive and adaptive in catering to the varied needs, backgrounds and abilities of learners."