Nanyang Technological University honors esteemed scholar Eddie Kuo with emeritus status

December 10, 2010

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will confer the title of "Emeritus Professor" on esteemed sociology and communication scholar, Professorial Fellow Eddie C. Y. Kuo, 70, on 1 Jan 2011. Prof Kuo is the second professor since 2001 to be bestowed this prestigious title and to celebrate this honour, NTU's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information organised a tea reception to celebrate this today. It was attended by more than 100 of Prof Kuo's friends and colleagues across the university who came to congratulate the professor many regard as the founding father of communication studies in Singapore.

Dr Su Guaning, NTU President, who graced the occasion, praised Prof Kuo for his accomplishments as a faculty member and as an influential Singaporean. "The title of 'Emeritus Professor' is only bestowed on the most highly-respected academics, and it is a rare honour to be selected. Eddie has made many selfless contributions to NTU during his time here. In particular, he has helped to lay a strong foundation for the University's humanities and social sciences disciplines, helping to broaden the educational experience of NTU students. His vision, dedication and wise leadership in this regard have been extraordinary. Beyond the University, Eddie has also been working to positively influence peoples' lives and society as reflected in his diverse community involvement. On behalf of the NTU community, I congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition."

Prof Kuo is NTU's second Emeritus Professor, after engineering don and former Deputy President Chen Charng-Ning, in 2001. The honorary title of 'Emeritus Professor' is conferred only on retired professors with a sterling record of service to the university.

During his teaching and academic career spanning four decades, Professor Kuo has not only become one of the most influential educators in Singapore; he has also established a firm international reputation as a scholar, teacher and education policymaker. In addition, Prof Kuo has made many important contributions to NTU, to Singapore, and to academic communities across the globe.

On his new status as Emeritus Professor, Prof Kuo said, "This is a great honour I humbly accept. I have been an academic throughout my life. With this title, I am glad I can continue to be a part of the NTU community after my retirement. I will be glad to serve the university and the community in a different capacity."

A member of the NTU community since 1992, Prof Kuo has provided effective leadership, most notably in NTU's transformation to become a comprehensive university - as Founding Dean of the School of Communication Studies from 1992 to 2003 and as Founding Interim Dean of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences between 2003 and 2005. Prof Kuo led the establishment of the two schools by recruiting the faculty and working with his team to set up NTU's seminal degree programmes in the humanities, arts and social sciences. These are the Bachelor in Communication Studies (Honours) course, and five new Bachelor of Arts (Honours) courses in Economics, Chinese, English, Sociology and Psychology.

Prof Kuo also chaired the Search Committee to identify the Dean for the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU from 2003 to 2005. He headed the NTU Bio-Ethics Committee during the same period (2002-2005). Currently, he still sits in NTU Institutional Review Board.

Commending Prof Kuo on his achievements throughout his sterling academic career, Professor Alan K.L. Chan, Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, said, "Eddie has worked tirelessly over the last 18 years, building not only the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, but also the field of Asian communication itself. His contribution to the founding of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences was also immense. His Emeritus Professorship is more than deserved."

Prof Ang Peng Hwa, who succeeded Prof Kuo as head of the then-School of Communication and Information in 2003, said, "Eddie is your classic gentleman-scholar. In the field of media and communication, he was working uphill, trying to build a reputation for the School from scratch. As with many things in academia, it is slow, patient steady work. That the School has been able to attract talent and three major international communication conferences this year, in 2007 and 2000, is testimony to his groundwork."

A long-time champion of Chinese language and culture, Prof Kuo served as chair of NTU's Planning Committee for the Centre for Chinese Language and Culture in his early years at NTU, from 1993 to 1994, and served as its advisor for 10 years till 2004. In addition, Professor Kuo has been a respected figure in the Chinese community in Singapore. These included serving as a council member of Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), a member of the Committee of Trustees of Chinese Language Journalism Fund; a member of Board of Trustees of the Hokkien Huey Kuan Foundation; and Advisor to the Singapore Leong Khay Huay Kuan.

Singapore's pioneer researcher in sociology and communication study

Professor Kuo started his academic career in Singapore in 1973 when he joined the Department of Sociology at the then University of Singapore. Before joining NTU, he had served as the Head of Sociology (1986-90) and Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies (1986-88). A sociologist by training, Professor Kuo's diverse research interests ranges from communication policy and planning, new media and information society, cultural policy and national integration, to the sociology of multilingualism.

Prof Kuo is one of Singapore's pioneer researchers in sociology and communication study. Several of his publications are considered seminal, and have advanced sociology and communication studies here. These include Singapore's first national survey on media and communication patterns, and pioneer publications on family sociology and the sociology of language in Singapore.

Prof Kuo first earned his bachelor's degree in Journalism from the National Chengchi University, Taipei in 1962. He then pursued a Graduate Programme in Sociology at Columbia University in New York, before obtaining a master's degree in Sociology from University of Hawaii (1966) and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1972).

Since embarking on his career as a teaching associate at the University of Minnesota in 1968, Professor Kuo has been an inspiring teacher at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and a highly regarded and productive researcher. Today, despite having passed the University's official retirement age of 65, Prof Kuo continues to share his knowledge and experiences with each new generation of students; this semester alone, he is teaching a graduate course in Philosophy of Research. He continues to provide advice to scholars from the School, College and the region, on a wide range of research projects.

Associate Professor Benjamin H. Detenber, Chair, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, said, "Eddie has been an incredible colleague and mentor ever since I joined NTU 12 years ago. I appreciate both his leadership and his achievements as a scholar. It has been a great honour to work with him, and as he becomes an emeritus professor, I look forward to many more years of thoughtful interaction."

Assistant Professor Brenda Chan was a PhD student whom Prof Kuo supervised who is now teaching in the Wee Kim Wee School. She recalled, "When he was my supervisor, Prof Kuo gave me a lot of guidance in my research, and was always there to encourage me when the going got tough. He has taught me how to look at 'the big picture' and see things from a long-term perspective. Till today Prof Kuo still inspires me with his passion towards academic work and Chinese culture."

Prof Kuo's strong commitment to excellence as an educator is widely recognised by his peers internationally. He is Honorary / Guest Professor in Xiamen University, Liaoning University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and Shanghai Jiaotong University in China, National Chengchi University in Taiwan, and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Malaysia. He was also Vice President of the International Association of Media Communication Research (IAMCR), 2000-2004, and is currently Honorary Chairman of Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), Singapore.

Professor Kuo is also the founding editor of Asian Journal of Communication that is published by Routledge. Under his leadership from 1990 to June this year, the journal was selected by Thomson Reuters for inclusion in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) in 2008. The journal is also listed as an A* journal (tier 1) by the Australian National Research Council.

Exemplary public and social service

Active in both public and social service, Prof Kuo's opinion and views have been sought by the media and many government agencies. He served as Board Director of the National Computer Board in 1992-1994, the Singapore Broadcasting Authority in 1994-2000, and the Media Development Authority in 2003-2005. He currently serves as council member in the Bioethics Advisory Committee under the Ministry of Health, and is also a member of the NAC Advisory Panel under the National Art Council.

In recognition of his contribution to public service, he was conferred the national honour of Public Service Medal (PBM) in 1997, and Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2001 by the President of the Republic of Singapore.

Nanyang Technological University

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