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Welcome Address By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat At The SUSS Faculty Appreciation Dinner 2018

Welcome Address By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University Of Social Sciences (SUSS), At The SUSS Faculty Appreciation Dinner 2018 On Sat, April 14 2018, Mandarin Orchard Hotel

Mr Richard Eu, Chairman of SUSS Members of SUSS Board of Trustees Faculty members, colleagues and friends

Good Evening.

  1. Let me extend a warm welcome to all of you to this Faculty Appreciation Dinner (or FAD). To those at this event for the first time, this is the oc​casion for the University to say ‘Thank You’ to our faculty members, both full-time and associate, and to recognize teaching excellence among our colleagues. For those who have been coming to the FADs, this looks similar to previous FADs, and yet, it is not the same. Since becoming an autonomous university in July last year, we are no longer a part of the SIM Group. So, tonight, we have our inaugural SUSS FAD, leaving behind the combined SIM-UniSIM event of yester-years. Let me thank colleagues who have laboured to bring this event to us.

Making a mark

  1. Our new status as Singapore’s sixth autonomous university, under the purview of the Ministry of Education (MOE), is a significant milestone in our short history. Not only is this a resounding endorsement of our academic relevance and standards, it will pave the way for SUSS to make an even bigger impact in the higher education landscape in Singapore and beyond.

  1. In February this year, we also had the privilege of honouring the legacy of one of Singapore’s late presidents, Mr S R Nathan, by renaming our School of Human Development (HDSS) to S R Nathan School of Human Development (NSHD). This new name recognises the current and potential impact of the School’s academic programmes and research, these bearing close alignment to the life and work of Mr Nathan in uplifting our fellow Singaporeans and forging strong community cohesion.

  1. This is not just the School’s orientation, but the whole university’s. In what we do, our ultimate objective is to serve society, whether it is through adult education and training to give a leg-up to adult learners in their careers, or programmes that are directed at preparing graduates for work to enhance social well-being, or imbibing our students with the 3 H’s, that of Head, applied learning, Heart, doing good for society, and Habit, making learning a lifelong habit. And, we are glad to have partners like you to journey with us.

  1. The university is doing well. Demand for our part-time programmes remains strong, our full-time programmes are attracting increasing numbers of applications, our reputation for applied lifelong learning is firm, our staff and student numbers have grown several folds since we first started, we have a special focus on the social sciences that will define our raison d’etre as we march with confidence and purpose into the future. We are well and truly plugged into our country’s university system. We dared to be different when we started and we will remain different from traditional universities. For instance, we ventured into such areas as Blockchain and Business Analytics ahead of others, and recently made alliances with such leading brands as Tencent and Alibaba (China’s giants), Lazada (SEA’s online retail leader), Cloudmile (Taiwan’s cloud services major), and social bodies such as Mendaki (Singapore). We should all be proud of how far we have come!

Fulfilling our purpose with passion

  1. I reviewed some statistics from a survey of our associates as I prepared this address, and the results are interesting. We have more than 1,000 associates on our rolls; two-thirds has taught more than 6 semesters with us, more than half are C-suites or professionals, and they come from a broad range of disciplines. It is a formidable force for good in education.

  1. But, under-girding the diversity and capability is a common thread – a shared desire, purpose to help our students in their learning. In SUSS’s case, it is more than that – giving that chance to those who had gone off the normal post-school path to university. Because of the diversity of abilities that our students bring with them, it is hard work for our faculty to meet every student’s needs. Thank you for all your effort and endurance.

  1. But, it pays off. Listen to some comments about you from students:
    • A very genuine and nice tutor who always gives constructive feedback and is quick to respond to queries. Made the learning of this module a really enjoyable one and helped us to gain much knowledge applicable to counselling, especially helpful for those taking practicum.
    • Very resourceful, always provides extra reading materials on the topics for in-depth learning
    • Please keep this lecturer for this module. He's awesomely funny!! And he likes to elaborate more on the topics and provide many good case studies to help students further understand this module. Thank you, Sir! You'rethe best.

      And, something you say about yourself:

    • “Generally, I am very happy here….I hope to stay as long as I can, as long as I can contribute. One thing I always tell my students, I am the biggest beneficiary when I teach because I learn more than them.”
    • "I am proud to be teaching here… There are lots and lots of people who want to better themselves, and SUSS provides the opportunities."

  2. We will strive to be an effective model for relevant, inclusive and affordable university education. Whether through online learning, flexible modes, multiple pathways, a hub-and-spokes provision with satellite learning centres in employment and business hubs, or learning provisions for all ages and through all stages of life, SUSS is committed to bringing the university to the people and make its mark as the lifelong learning university for the people.  We need your participation and treasure your partnership to achieve these goals.

  3. Tonight, we honour you - you are all stars.  We give special honour to a few who will be receiving special teaching awards. Thank you for your outstanding work and dedication.  I trust that all have found that it is exciting and rewarding to see a student succeed. But then, I trust also that the chase is also just as exhilarating - when one advice, one correction, one illuminating thought, one kind word, one reassurance, one suggestion, one appreciation, and one smile brings out the best in our students! 

  4. I’ll leave you with that thought as I wish you continued success and fulfilment in your journey as an educator with SUSS. 

  5. I wish you an enjoyable evening. 
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