Professor Tan Eng Chye, who has been the University’s Provost for the past 10 years, has been appointed the next NUS President. A top academic leader, mathematician, and alumnus of the University, Prof Tan has had a key hand in guiding NUS’ progress over the decade, and is widely acknowledged for his instrumental role in transforming NUS into a leading global university. He will succeed Professor Tan Chorh Chuan as President on 1 January 2018. Prof Tan Chorh Chuan will be seconded to Singapore’s Ministry of Health at the end of 2017.
The leadership transition announcement also included the appointment of Professor Ho Teck Hua as NUS’ new Senior Deputy President and Provost from 1 January 2018. A globally prominent behavioral scientist, Prof Ho currently leads the University’s research efforts as its Deputy President (Research & Technology). He also heads two national research and development programmes — AI.SG and the Singapore Data Science Consortium. In his new role, Prof Ho will oversee the areas of research, education and enterprise.
NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, who chaired the search for the new president, warmly welcomed Prof Tan Eng Chye as the next NUS President. “Eng Chye is a deeply respected academic, and a steadfast, open and decisive leader, who has a strong passion for our University. He is a man of great integrity. Eng Chye has a wide following based on the trust he engenders, and his exceptional ability to inspire people to work together. Eng Chye has been absolutely pivotal to NUS’ rapid rise to be among the best universities in the world. He will continue to lead the University with a clear vision and a fierce commitment to excellence,” Mr Hsieh said.
On Prof Ho’s appointment, Mr Hsieh added, “A world renowned scholar with deep industry ties, Teck Hua is an outstanding leader with bold and creative ideas. He has been remarkably effective in recruiting top talent to NUS, and building several world-class research institutes and programmes over a short period of time. With these two appointments, NUS will have a truly outstanding leadership team.”
NUS President Designate Prof Tan Eng Chye is an experienced academic leader and the chief architect of the University’s pioneering educational and academic programmes, including the University Town Residential College Programme, the Centre for Future-ready Graduates, the School of Continuing and Lifelong Education, and NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute, the Institute for Application of Learning Science and Educational Technology, as well as technology-enhanced education initiatives.
Under his leadership, the proportion of NUS undergraduates who have had overseas educational experiences increased to over 80 per cent in 2016. He also led a comprehensive revamp of the NUS General Education curriculum, and introduced the grade-free scheme for NUS freshmen, to promote exploration, curiosity and critical thinking among students.
Prof Tan Eng Chye said, “I am deeply honoured to be appointed the next President of this exceptional university. Under Chorh Chuan’s leadership, NUS has affirmed its status as a leading global university that strives to contribute to Singapore, and the wider community.
“To continue to be among the world’s great universities, we must further accelerate NUS’ transformation by driving innovation across talent development, education that is future-focused, and research that impacts lives and society. I am immensely proud of what NUS has achieved, and inspired by the exciting opportunities ahead. I look forward to working closely with our students, colleagues, and friends to further steepen our trajectory of excellence,” he added.
Prof Tan Eng Chye will be NUS’ fifth President, and the 23rd leader to head Singapore’s oldest higher education institution, which traces its roots to a modest medical school founded in 1905. He is a homegrown leader who has been with NUS for 32 years, starting out as a Senior Tutor with the Department of Mathematics in 1985.
Senior Deputy President and Provost Designate Prof Ho Teck Hua, who is also an NUS alumnus, had returned from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015, after more than two decades overseas, to serve as NUS’ research chief, raising the global profile of the University’s research. He recruited top returning Singaporean researchers and global research talents, created the country’s first Smart Nation Research Cluster at NUS, and established corporate labs with industry giants. The Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor also initiated the popular Lifelong Learning Initiative for NUS Alumni.
Prof Ho said, “NUS has an excellent reputation for educational innovation, and for pushing the frontiers of knowledge. It is also widely recognised by leading research universities and employers around the world for producing graduates with real-world knowledge, cross-cultural effectiveness, and industry-relevant skills. I look forward to working closely with Eng Chye and the NUS community to further shape our distinctive strengths, and grow NUS’ reputation as a top university.”
Mr Hsieh paid tribute to Prof Tan Chorh Chuan for his stellar stewardship of NUS since 2008. “During Prof Tan Chorh Chuan’s tenure as President, NUS has transformed along an extraordinary trajectory of excellence. We are particularly grateful that he has developed a deep bench of talent with outstanding individuals for the next leadership team. We greatly appreciate Chorh Chuan for his many contributions,” said Mr Hsieh.
NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan said, “Having worked closely with Prof Tan Eng Chye for more than a decade, I have every confidence that he will be a great next President of NUS. Eng Chye is a highly motivated and inspiring leader. He has a deep passion for higher education, and is driven by the desire to excel and create distinctive impact, for NUS and the broader community, at the highest international levels. I am also delighted that he will be working closely with Senior Deputy President and Provost Designate Prof Ho Teck Hua, who is another incredibly creative and effective academic leader. I look forward to working with Eng Chye to ensure a smooth leadership transition.”