1. What does it mean for SUT to be a State Autonomous University?
Suranaree University of Technology is the first State Autonomous University that is not part of the Civil Service System, but under State Supervision through the Minister of Education. Its administrative system is flexible, with the ability to self determine personnel and finance systems for the greatest efficiency and effectiveness. The University Council, consisting of experts from a spectrum of professions, is the where most University decisions end.
2. What is SUT’s distinctive feature?
SUT emphasizes the training of scientific and technological professionals, responding to Thailand’s severe demand.
3. What does SUT’s “combined services, coordinated tasks” mean?
It is the placing of similar services in the same place, accessible to all SUT staff and students, thus enabling cost reduction in salaries and site construction. Other universities tend to distribute services within their colleges (faculties), such as financial, media, purchasing, and vehicle services.
4. Why does SUT use the trimester system?
1) SUT considers the work related education experience invaluable for students, where students actually work as employees in actual worksites, both in Thailand and abroad. The semester system would not accommodate a full term of such work experience, since the student would not easily complete the program of study in four years. The trimester system however increases the chance of completion within four years, and thus benefits the student directly.
2) The trimester system encourages the student to make the most of time for study as well as to be alert as in planning daily activities, since a trimester is considerably shorter than a semester.
5. Is SUT actually more expensive than other state universities? Why or why not?
Since SUT’s founding in 1990 as a University specializing in science and technology as well as in training highly qualified scientific and technological personnel in response to national development, SUT’s policy has been to increase educational opportunity to young people in every province and every region of Thailand. Quota student admissions are up to 80% of all students admitted, so that higher educational equity is further encouraged for all, even in those from rural areas. An undergraduate program at SUT is estimated to cost 108,300 – 113,300 Baht, a moderate level of expense when compared to universities of science and technology emphasis. SUT is by no means the most expensive as possibly rumored. The fee, 500 Baht per credit, is a comprehensive fee, without any miscellaneous fees such as laboratory, chemical, or internet. Also included are student benefits such as air conditioned classrooms, bus service, infirmary, exercise room, standard gymnasium, accident insurance for example. The 500 Baht fee per credit has been in force since the first cohort in 1993, with no increases. However it is best to be aware that it is misleading to just compare cost per credit between institutions.
6. Why more students directly admitted as compared to those admitted through national entrance examinations?
SUT aims to increase opportunities in higher education for students from schools all over Thailand, with the idea that even if each school differs in instructional quality, the best students of each school selected by the University will have good foundations for further study, as well as the requisite diligence, and so will work hard to succeed in SUT.
7. What should a student do to work successfully with SUT’s trimester system?
The student must understand the special demands of the trimester system so as to properly plan his or her program, for example the number of courses to take per trimester. She or he must be persistent and diligent from the beginning of the trimester, consistently reviewing and approaching the instructor for help if needed. His or her daily routine must harmonize with the trimester until there is that unmistakable stability in one’s learning style. From that point, she or he can then pursue activities to enrich his or her academic life.
8. What is the difference between “cooperative education” and “work study?”
In cooperative education, everything proceeds as an actual job placement: filling out application forms, interviews, announcement of results, in definite steps. The cooperative education student is prepared by training in posture, orientation, in session briefing, and post-session seminars. The cooperative education student is supervised closely by the University and the worksite. The clear difference is that while work study may or may not receive remuneration, as well as the work experience may not be related to the major field of study, the SUT cooperative student will receive employment in his/her field of study with a clear project or task description, and more frequently, receive pay.
9. What is this “Living and Learning Center” policy for student dorms?
“Learning” in the dormitory includes:
- Learning together.
- Learning good values as to be a foundation of a good life: punctuality, economy, leadership, etc.
- Academic learning facilitated through dormitory support systems including computers, reading rooms, work group rooms, tutorial rooms, etc.
“Living” includes the following services for students:
- Quality living quarters: convenient, comfortable, safe and secure.
- Advisory services for any problems that arise in dormitory life.
10. What is the Student Organization: what does it do?
The Student Organization consists of student elected representatives to manage student activities. It consists of two parts: the Administrative Organization, comparable to the Cabinet, which provides activities for the students and represents the student body to the University. The second is the Student Council, comparable to Parliament, which works with the budget and follows up on the Student Organization to make sure it meets its goals and objectives.
11. What is the Dormitory Committee and what does it do?
The Dormitory Committee are student representatives selected by dormitory students to receive comments and suggestions concerning dormitory issues and convey them to the University for solution. SUT believes that the dormitory students themselves would be best aware of any issues, and so their input would aid the University to better fine tune to their needs.
12. What should a student do when sick?
- If sick or injured on campus, the SUT Medical Center is ready 24 hours free of charge. The student may go to the Medical Center directly, or inform the Dormitory Advisor, who will request an ambulance free of charge. For students in dormitories off campus, there is a 600 Baht charge for two way ambulance services.
- If sick or injured off campus, the student can receive medical care anywhere in Thailand. She/he must bring their receipt and medical certification for refund at the Medical Center (refund requires at least 6 hours of inpatient care for non-accident sickness). The amount of refund will be according to the University Group Accident Insurance Policy. For further benefits, the student should transfer their Medical Gold Card to the Medical Center for the duration of their studies at SUT.
13. If a student cannot understand an instructor’s accent or language in class, what should he/she do?
- Read the text in advance so that one is more prepared for the lecture.
- Think along with the instructor. If there is a word that you cannot understand, write it down in your language. Afterwards, you can look it up.
- Once back at home, take out the lecture, review, and try to understand one more time. If not successful, contact instructor at office to clarify.
- Do all the assigned work.
- Find time to greet and talk with the instructor frequently, as to help get used to his or her speaking style and rhythm.
- If all items 1 – 5 have been meticulously followed with no ensuing understanding, drop the course.
14. What are the some learning resources for SUT students?
The Center for Libraries and Educational Media is SUT’s library complete with many types of media, including books. There Center for Educational Innovation and Technology serves a variety of online media at http://ceit.sut.ac.th including:
- The SUT e-learning system, with more than 400 courses online.
- The e-Classroom system stores and serves video recordings of classes available for review.
- The “My Media” system: an online digital storehouse for videos, sound recordings, pictures, e-books, etc.
- Learning Objects are multimedia educational units created by instructors to supplement the classroom instruction.
If a student has difficulty with a course, the instructor is available by appointment. There are dormitory tutorial sessions offered by instructors or senior students, and the student must keep in close touch with any announcements to this effect. However, more importantly, the student must work hard in studying and working the problems and assignments.
15. What are the Freshman Welcoming Activities offered during Orientation Week?
- Paying respects to the Thao Suranaree Monument, the historic heroine of Nakhon Ratchasima.
- Student dormitory orientation and briefing.
- University level learning skills, to help students adjust to the demands of university learning.
- Paying respects to the teacher, “Wai Kru,” a traditional Thai ceremony to show gratitude for past and future instruction.
- Library, Computer and Student Activities Orientation.
- Paying respects to the SUT Monument.
- Freshman Welcoming Activities by upper year students.
Freshman Games: athletic competition for fun and friendship.
16. What are some of the factors contributing to low academic performance for first year students?
Some of the causes of low grades are the following:
- Not attending classes.
- Even if attending class, no concentration or intent to learn.
- Insufficient work outside of class, namely, no reading, no preparation before class, no review after class.
- Not doing any assignments or homework.
- Bad time management: using more time for other things than studying.
- Becoming too familiar with the “enemies of successful student-ship,” such as:
1) Too much working for extra money on the side.
2) Too much playing.
3) Continual alcoholic consumption.
4) Continual night excursions.
5) Too involved in loving relationship.
6) Excessive homesickness and going home too often.
Allergy to any or some of the following: instructors, libraries, laboratories, tutorial rooms, causing student to maintain distance, thus jeopardizing any chance of success.
17. Please describe SUT student financial aid.
SUT’s more than 5000 scholarships and grants per year can be divided into 8 groups as follows:
- Government student loans have been in place since 1996. Thai students may apply at www.studentloan.or.th. Students are selected by a committee. Previous student loan recipients at the high school level may up grade to undergraduate by applying. The loan covers University General Fees, Tuition and monthly stipends. In 2009, 3,635 SUT students were recipients of the student loan, totaling 220 million baht.
- Government loan contingent on future income of graduate is for the student studying fields in demand according to its criteria, covering only general university fees and tuition. In the 2009 academic year, 402 students received the loan, totaling 1.5 million baht.
- SUT’s Educational Loan Fund is for SUT students established by the University. Interest free, the loan is to be paid back beginning four months after graduation, with pay back period up to 10 years. The loan program aims to help good students but in economic need. A student cannot take out more than 15,000 baht per term. The loan can be used for dormitory fees as well. Applicants must be enrolled and completed no less than 15 credits of course work. In term 1, 2009, 110 students applied for a total of 1.54 million baht.
- Tuition exemption fund for successful students, covering tuition, general education fees, activity fees. If qualified continually, the student can keep receiving the fund until graduation. Such funds include the Science Quota, the Successful Student, the Good Academic Performance, the One District One Doctor Fund, the POSN, HRH Princess Sirindhorn as well as in Her Royal Patronage, the Five Southern Provinces and Athletics Funds. Term 1 of 2009 saw 307 students receiving tuition exemption, totaling 2.96 million baht.
- Student emergency loans for not more than 5000 per student, payable before the final examination week of that term, unless granted special permission to delay payment in writing. In term 1, 2009, 193 students took out such emergency loans, totaling 0.93 million baht.
- SUT Student Living Assistance Fund, for students with more severe needs, by providing not more than 3,000 Baht per term per student, without need to pay back. In term 1, 2009, 24 students were approved by the Committee, totaling 41,000 Baht.
- SUT Donor Funds are set up by generous donors to help students in need through interest income. In 2010, the Donor Fund Committee approved 248 scholarships, totaling 1.5 million baht.
Education funds from outside organizations play a role in aiding SUT students. Outside organizations include more than 30 donors, companies, and outside organizations. The educational support includes grants on a continual basis until graduation, as well as those given once during an academic year, ranging from 5,000 to 60,000 Baht per grant per year. Notable donors include the Chin Sophonpanich Foundation; the Bridgestone Company; the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok; the Krung Thai Foundation; the Electrical Authority; the US Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, and others.
18. I feel bored and am not enjoying the courses I’m taking. I don’t like the instructor(s).
The first thing you have to realize is that you will have to pass all the courses detailed in your program. Otherwise you won’t be able to graduate. Thus if you don’t like a course, you may have to psyche yourself up to really put extra effort into the course. If you pass at first try, you won’t have to undergo the painful experience of retaking the course. It may be that you don’t like this course because you really find it hard to understand at first, or maybe you are already holding a negative attitude to the course (like hearing before hand that this course is really tough, or maybe a senior telling you that this instructor really can’t teach). Once you put some honest effort into it, you may find that you will understand more and that may add to your enjoyment. Besides, try to see how the course will help you in the future as a further motivator. Actually doing the homework problems may also help you gain confidence and feel better.
As to not liking the instructor, perhaps you will have to bear with it and tell yourself that if you want to pass and go on with your course plan, you will have to study with this instructor, like it or not. If you don’t understand the material, you should ask for help. If we ask politely and at the appropriate time, the instructor will most likely be glad to answer. This will help you establish rapport with him or her, and may even help him or her to realize that perhaps a bit more explanation is needed.
Even if some courses are offered more than once a year and a different instructor teaches each term, you should take a course according to your plan, not because this or that instructor is easier to understand or more pleasant. The rumor or hearsay that the instructor cannot teach may not apply to you! Following the plan helps you to satisfy the prerequisites and ensures your press towards graduation.
Finally in the real world, people usually can’t choose their bosses or co-workers. Thus having an instructor that is less than desirable can be a wonderful preparation for the actual workplace. In short, if your attitude changes, everything tends to look better and feel better, and you will actually perform in a superior manner.
19. Older students tell me that there are courses that will increase my grade point average. Is this true?
If you study, work the assignments, and prepare for examinations sufficiently for a course, that course will certainly help your grade point average. However there are some courses designated as “helping courses,” containing non-computational and non-technical. At first glance they seem to be “cake courses,” easy to understand, but then there are students who barely pass such courses. How come? It was found that regardless of the difficulty of the course, to successfully pas the course requires understanding. The careless student who won’t attend classes and/or waits the night before to read the books would not do well. However, there is an important point. If a student has low grade point average in his/her technical courses, even a high grade of these helping courses will not be able to lift the overall grade point average significantly higher. Most of the courses in the program are technical or professional courses, requiring a strict sequencing: you have to understand the prerequisites to be able to continue. To graduate, not only must the overall grade point average be higher than 2.0, the major grade point average must be higher than 2.0 as well. Thus even with the helping courses, one still has to ensure a satisfactory performance in the major or technical courses.
20. How can I keep from getting sleepy when I study?
Activities involving motion of body may be able to get you more awake: twisting your body, massaging your arms or legs, talking to your friends (for a short time only, please, as not to disturb others), or even going to the bathroom. However you need to ask why you are sleepy. Are you getting enough sleep at night? If not, you may have to adjust your sleeping schedule, since classroom learning is a key to success in the University. Or is it because you are just sitting there listening? Perhaps you can write some notes and/or open the text and follow along to keep sleep from descending upon you.
21. How can my reading become more enjoyable?
Maybe a proper motivation is in order: what you are reading will be needed for your career in the future. Most people will need to work to live and look after their family for more than 40 years until retirement. Thus we need the knowledge to equip us for work to keep us going all that time. You don’t want to be fired because you have no skills or because someone else has more skills. So you will need to understand the material to prepare yourself for the future. With that thought, you may be more encouraged to read. If you regularly attend class and take notes in class, you may find details missed during lecture or skipped by the instructor. One qualification of those who are moving up in their career is that they keep learning. So if you train yourself from now to keep reading, you will be well on the way to success. Each day before you go to sleep, ask yourself, “What new things have I learned today?” You will find that after reading that you understand the material more, and may even find out what the material will be used for, after reading additional examples or doing additional problems. You may find yourself gratified to find that you have increased useful knowledge for yourself on a daily basis for the future.