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Speech by Professor Cheong Hee Kiat At The Faculty Apprecation Dinner

Speech By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President Of SIM University And Chairman Of Academic Board Of SIM Group At The Faculty Appreciation Dinner, On 26 January 2008 At Suntec Gallery West Level 3

Dr Richard Eu, Honorary Chairman of SIM Governing Council;
Mr Richard Eu, Chairman of SIM;
Members of the SIM Governing Council;
Faculty and Associate Lecturers;
Colleagues, Ladies & Gentlemen.


  1. Let me warmly welcome you to the 2008 Faculty Appreciation Dinner, the 6th year that the SIM Group has hosted the dinner for our lecturers and faculty. This dinner is specially dedicated to the faculty and lecturers at SIM University (or UniSIM) and those lecturing for SIM Global Education, in appreciation of their contribution and hard work.

  1. Some of you are full-time faculty; the majority is part-time associate lecturers. I’m often amazed about this combination of teaching staff within a university setting, delivering so many programmes of such variety to so many students. But, it is a successful model and we owe it to all of you for making it happen in a way we are all proud of.

  1. Both SIM Society and UniSIM are not-for-profit organizations. We are committed to a social mission, opening up precious opportunities for many, from youths to young executives, mature workers to retirees, to get either a local degree or an overseas one right here in the SIM group.

  1. We have many grateful graduates because of what we are doing, and some come back to help us after they graduate – maybe there are some among you tonight. Let me read part of a letter from one of our satisfied graduates, Shifa, UniSIM graduate 2007 (English with Psychology) (MOE email). She was writing to “express my most sincere thanks to UniSIM especially to my dearest lecturers and tutors.

    I would admit that I am not proficient in English Language though I decided to major in this area 4 years back. Definitely knowing my own level of proficiency, I do have that fears and anxieties in particular, Literature. The first and last Literature lessons of mine were in Secondary 2! However, I am truly blessed to have supportive and inspiring tutor (Ms Geraldine Song) who taught me Approaching Literature. That's when my interest took off.

    Another tutor whom I really would like to thank is none other than Ms Rathiga who taught me 19th Century Novels(Identities) and Post Colonial(Asia Pacific). Mine!! She's really an effective tutor! I really enjoyed these 3 modules very much.

    Of course, at UniSIM, the courses were really relevant to my field of work. All I can say and share with those who are deciding which institution to go for their degree: UniSIM please. No doubt. Quality tutors who journeyed with me throughout my undergraduate years were visible the 4 years!

    I would like to thank all my tutors from the bottom of my heart. Not forgetting Dr Phyllis Chew. And all psychology lecturer, namely Karam Singh, Ms Salina Samion, Dr Tan(Child Development 1&2) practically everyone!

    From academic staffs to the library, admin and even Megabytes staff. UniSIM is indeed a great and wonderful place. I've never regretted my choice.

    With humble regards Shifa.

  1. The theme for tonight’s dinner is “The Next Wave”. Well, you probably had a good laugh when you saw the doctored pictures of the two gung-ho surfers riding the waves outside of the function room (at my and KC’s expense). It’s our way of stressing that we are a different kind of educational institution.

  1. The SIM Group has a strong reputation built over 44 years. We are a household name in education. The combined student population in UniSIM and SIM Global Education has grown to more than 24,000. We are a formidable player in the university sector in Singapore.

  1. Our challenge is to stay relevant, to meet new learning needs and preferences, and to maximize the benefits of this eco-system we have. I am happy to report that we are progressing well as a dynamic group. We have streamlined our presence in the market place through the introduction of four business brands, enabling each to serve its target segments well.

  1. What is the next wave going to be? Externally, more universities and specialized colleges will be coming to Singapore, but so will there be more foreign students. Locally, there is also increasing emphasis on continuing education and upgrading of qualifications. The pie will increase but so will the competition – and we want to grow not just in numbers but also in the quality of our intake. The fourth government-funded university, when it comes about, will also add to the competition; so will the polytechnics when they partner with more foreign universities. Internally, with UniSIM and the overseas universities tied up with SIM GE, we have an eco-system that is unique and attractive to our clients. No other Singapore university system will be like ours, where a recognized local university sits side by side with more than 10 other international universities, within the same eco-system – lots of opportunities for collaboration, cross-offering of courses, wide choices for our students, optimal use of teaching and research resources. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for us to create something original, and you can be a part of it.

  1. But, we have to emphasize on quality – it will be the key differentiation from our competitors and park us squarely among the successful universities. In UniSIM, we have hired more professors and embarked on a strategy to blend e-learning with classroom learning, making possible learning anytime, anywhere. Our Centre for Applied Research is up and running and we invite applications from you for research funding. We’d want our associate staff to also be part of our quality improvements.

  1. SIM Global Education had its SQC status successfully renewed. It has grown from strength to strength, increasing enrolments, achieving awards and developing more young talents. Facilities are being upgraded and added for a better student experience. – soon, you’ll see some construction next to SIM HQ To enhance the academic linkage to UniSIM, we have set up an Academic Board for SIM Global Education, chaired by me, to oversee matters relating to SIM GE’s programme partnerships and presentation, examinations and assessments, as well as student admission. We will harmonise faculty appointments in SIM GE with that in UniSIM. This substantial academic link to UniSIM is what differentiates SIM from the other PEOs.

  1. So, the next wave is a white-water one, with lots of vortex and momentum – but one that a good surfer will enjoy and travel far on. I’d like you all to come along for the ride. On behalf of UniSIM and SIM, our sincere appreciation for your hard work and contribution to SIM Group. May I wish you an enjoyable evening.
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