By Chan Wei Chuen
Senior Director, Corporate Services
LKCMedicine turned five in October 2015, and together with it, I celebrated my fifth year of service here. I still vividly remember when I joined the School on 2 January 2011. Then, the entire corporate division consisted of just two full-time staff – Janet Teo from Finance, who had joined one week before, and me.
We hit the ground running.
Together, the two of us had to roll up our sleeves to set up the School from scratch, from doing basic things like configuring the printers, purchasing office supplies and interviewing new hires to more complex tasks like working out the broad curriculum timetabling and negotiating with the authorities on land use matters.
Over the next few months, many more staff joined the School in quick succession, but we were still a team so small that everyone knew everyone else. In those early days, as the School’s pioneering staff, our primary role was to establish the institution’s operational systems and processes, as well as the physical work and learning spaces. Then, my main commitment was to set up Research Techno Plaza Level 4 as an interim teaching, research and administrative space, which included handling the design and retrofitting works as well as sorting out funding issues.
Concurrently, the infrastructure team and I were planning for the construction of the permanent campuses of first the HQ Building in Novena, and then the Experimental Medicine Building (EMB) at NTU Yunnan Garden Campus and the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) at Novena. At that time, we were working with a lot of uncertainty – and to a certain extent, we still are. Factors that affect the use of space in the School, such as faculty research requirements and the curriculum and pedagogical approaches, are constantly changing, even as the infrastructure is being built. To compensate for the lack of solid parameters, my team and I worked as much flexibility as possible into the design of the buildings, which allows us to quickly and nimbly adapt spaces to suit research aims and curriculum and pedagogical approaches as they crystallise.
The School has matured much over the past five years and has evolved physically to encompass three buildings – the HQ Building, EMB and the upcoming CSB. Staff numbers have also increased in tandem with the growth of the School. The operations of the School have become a lot more complex. And my role, too, has changed, from primarily overseeing infrastructure development to encompassing other functions such as HR, Finance, Operations, Corporate Communications and Planning.
New staff members often ask me what the future of the School holds. And my answer is always the same – the School will be as good as you and I make it. Together, we can shape LKCMedicine to be an institution that we can all be proud of.
Happy birthday, LKCMedicine!