Established in 1992, the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information has risen to become one of the top communication schools in the world, ranking 8th on this year’s Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. PHOTO: BRENDAN TAN
The Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information jumped 4 spots in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings this year, and is now ranked 8th in the world for the study of Communication and Media Studies.
First launched in 2004 in partnership with Times Higher Education, the QS World Rankings rank universities worldwide, which includes rankings by academic disciplines.
The rankings are based on: combined responses from academics and employers around the world, diversity within the institution’s population, and citation measures.
WKWSCI has been consistently charting on the rankings, despite being a relatively young school. Founded in 1992, WKWSCI has become well-known for its faculty members’ highly acclaimed research papers, quality graduates and holistic school culture.
Apart from these distinctive factors, senior lecturer Nikki Draper highlighted the school’s keen interest in nurturing students as a significant game changer for WKWSCI’s growth.
“One of the more interesting ways we’ve grown is the way we think about our curriculum and what we want our graduates to look like,” the broadcast lecturer said.
With 19 years of experience lecturing at WKWSCI, she noted that administrative changes have led to students being given greater exposure, with more overseas and practical modules offered. This in turn, hones their professional development, equipping them to be work ready.
One example is the Perspectives Film Festival, started by Ms Draper, where students are given a platform to curate and execute their own film festival. With the festival on par with industry-level events, the film festival has even received international recognition for the degree of professionalism in its execution.
“People rise to the challenges you give them. And the school has been really great at tossing out big challenges, and students step into their own [for these challenges],” she exclaimed.
“We have to look further than the rest, we have to show that we have the capacity to innovate, considering that we have the faculty, manpower and resources.”
Dr Lee Chu Keong, programme director for WKWSCI’s Master of Science programmes
Besides WKWSCI’s students and programmes, Assistant Professor Kim Hyekyung credited the school’s well-recognised faculty members as a main driver for the school’s steady progress, whose works cover a spectrum of academic interests – including the study of artificial intelligence, social media usage and viewer motivations.
“We have a good number of faculty members who have a healthy balance of research methodology and theory. This contributed to our output performance, based on our research and grants received,” said Asst Prof. Kim, who specialises in health communication research.
WKWSCI’s research output boosted the criteria of 'H-index citations’ and ‘citations per paper’, which are two out of the five criteria determined for the QS World Rankings.
But what does this mean for WKWSCI now that it’s in the top 10?
Programme director for WKWSCI’s Master of Science programmes Dr Lee Chu Keong thinks this places added pressure on the school as others look to WKWSCI to lead them in the field of innovation.
“We have to look further than the rest, we have to show that we have the capacity to innovate, considering that we have the faculty, manpower and resources,” said Dr Lee, who teaches data analytics.
As the school is an established figure in the research world, Dr Lee hopes that WKWSCI will shift their focus towards directly impacting communication students around the world.
“I think we can influence the next generation by writing textbooks. Currently, all the textbooks we’re using [in classes] are international. But when are we going to contribute to that pool, to influence somebody in New York, in London, with our writing and thoughts?”