April 2015 | ISSUE 17
LKCMedicine Senior Vice-Dean honoured with inaugural Nanyang Education Gold Award

Prof Higham (centre) was awarded the Nanyang Education Award (Gold) and conferred the honorary title 'Educator of the Year'. Prof Ferenczi (left) and Assoc Prof Tham (right) were recognised with School-level Education Excellence Awards

LKCMedicine Senior Vice-Dean Professor Jenny Higham received the inaugural Nanyang Education Gold Award, the highest university-level teaching award at this year's Celebrate NTU! event held on 12 March.

The new Nanyang Education Award (University) is a pinnacle award to recognise superlative excellence in teaching and comprises the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The recipient of the Gold award is also conferred the honorary title of 'Educator of the Year'.  At the ceremony, five professors were honoured with the inaugural awards, two with the top level Gold Award.

The other Gold Award went to Professor Vijay Sethi from Nanyang Business School. Associate Professor Roderick Wayland Bates from the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences received the Silver Award, while Associate Professors Ruth Wong from the National Institute of Education and Jung Younbo from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information were given the Bronze Award. The five winners were chosen from last year's inaugural cohort of 12 College-level teaching award recipients. 

Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU Senior Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) said, "The five winners at the university level represent the crème de la crème of NTU's teaching talents. They are all excellent and passionate teachers, and they have also distinguished themselves with other achievements beyond teaching."

In addition to a cash award, winners also received a special grant, ranging from $10,000 (Bronze), $15,000 (Silver) to $25,000 (Gold), to fund teaching-related activities, such as attending conferences and courses on education and new pedagogical innovations, and undertaking projects to improve teaching effectiveness.

Prof Higham (centre) received her award from NTU President Prof Bertil Andersson (right) and Provost Prof Freddy Boey (left)

On receiving the Gold Award, Prof Higham said, "I am absolutely delighted and very honoured to have this recognition from NTU. My career for the past six years has been happily dominated by the creation of LKCMedicine – something of which I am enormously proud. It has been a tremendous example of a true international partnership which has resulted in something that has started and will continue to be truly great. The award is not just for me but for all the people who have worked hard together to make the new school such a success."

Prof Higham has been instrumental in bringing together the combined resources of NTU and Imperial to jointly establish LKCMedicine. Since 2009, she has been skilfully harmonising the academic systems and culture of both institutions. Prof Higham played a pivotal role in realising the innovative medical degree programme and has shown a high level of achievement and leadership in the area of teaching and curriculum development at both NTU and Imperial. She has won several significant awards at Imperial, including the President and Rector's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence (2013) and the "Mentor of the Year" Women of the Future Awards (2011). She also has significant publications in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 

Prof Higham is excited about the future. A strong motivator, she said: "I have loved developing my relationship with the amazing place that is Singapore and its people, so much so, that I feel I have made true friends here. I want to continue to make LKCMedicine the best it possibly can be – a true world leader!"

Prof Higham plans to use her grant to fund student collaborative projects between LKCMedicine and Imperial, to support cross-pollination and exchange of ideas.

Assistant Deans for Phase 1 and Phase 2 & 3 also recognised

LKCMedicine Assistant Dean for Phase 1 Professor Michael Ferenczi and Assistant Dean for Phase 2 & 3 Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying were recognised with School-level Education Excellence Awards at the ceremony.

Prof Ferenczi said the award is a strong testimony to the hard work of the people behind the School. "The most important aspect of the endeavour is the realisation that it is a team effort that requires a number of totally dedicated teachers, administrators and researchers, working together, with vision and passion, to build the finest medical school. The main feeling is that the award should go to all members of the LKCMedicine team, because we all contributed to the development of the medical school into a superb teaching institution. I am fortunate to be in a position to receive the award, but it is with humility that I will be receiving it, and glad that perhaps, by hard work, example and leadership, I will have contributed to our success," he said.

Prof Ferenczi supervises the delivery of the teaching to undergraduate medical students in their first two years of the MBBS Course. He is involved in the development of the graduate programme in LKCMedicine and is a member of the NTU Senate and the Senate Steering Committee. Prior to joining LKCMedicine, NTU in August 2012, Prof Ferenczi was Professor of Physiological Sciences at Imperial, a position held since 2001. He retains a Visiting Professorship at the College and an active laboratory.

On the award, Assoc Prof Tham said, "Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a system to educate a medical student involving patients and their family, faculty, clinicians and healthcare professionals, other students and leaders from the School and healthcare institution. When our students graduate, they should be competent physicians and well-rounded persons and citizens – our School must facilitate this transformation." 

On top of her responsibilities at LKCMedicine, Assoc Prof Tham is Assistant Chairman of the Medical Board (Education) and a Senior Consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She had been a recipient of several awards in recognition of her dedication and excellence in teaching, including the Best Teacher Award, Top 10 Teachers Award and e-Learning Champion Award. Assoc Prof Tham has also been awarded a Courage Star for her work in the fight against SARS here in 2003. Nationally and regionally, she is a much sought-after teacher, lecturer and educator in resuscitation, trauma, emergency medicine and medical education.

Assoc Prof Tham donated the $5,000 cash that comes with the award to LKCMedicine Medical Society to support Overseas Community Involvement Projects in developing countries.

The award winners were joined by the School's senior management who witnessed the ceremony (L-R): Assoc Prof Tham, LKCMedicine Dean Prof James Best, Prof Higham, Prof Ferenczi, Vice-Dean (Education) Assoc Prof Naomi Low-Beer and Executive Vice-Dean Prof Lionel Lee