Happy 2019! Time flies and my first term as Head of Department was completed at the end of Dec 2018. As I begin my second (and final!) term, I contemplate on what we (the Department) have achieved in the past 3 years and where we would want to head to in the next 3 years. The last 3 years have seen us grow and renewed as we steadily embraced the challenges that were presented. The next 3 years promises the same and as part of our plan, we will embark on major educational reforms and will further raise the visibility of our research.
The year 2018 saw Professor Paul Gallagher, Asst Prof. October Sessions and Mr Fan Wenjie join us as faculty members. Professor Gallagher, along with A/P Chui Wai Keung are spearheading a major reform in our undergraduate Pharmacy curriculum. Both have been working very hard – engaging our stakeholders, alumni and faculty members. October is a joint Asst Prof with the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, and his research that marries both public health issues and science promise to be unique and impactful. Mr Fan joins us as a teaching assistant (TA) and he is already hard at work supporting practicals and tutorials. Mr Donavan Neo, our previous TA, received an Overseas Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and started his PhD studies in September 2018 at Harvard. Ms Oh Tang Booy will leave the Department to join Central Procurement Office: after so many years of excellent service to the Department, we will miss her heaps.
We had a successful year in research, well, some more successful than the others in terms of securing substantial external research funding: A/P Alex Chan, A/P Eric Chan, Asst Prof. Wee Hwee Lin. For research associated with education, A/P Chui Wai Keung won an MOE Tertiary Education Research Fund – the first in the Department! Professor Paul Ho and A/P Chew Eng Hui ran a highly successful GPEN – which enabled us to showcase Singapore and NUS Pharmacy internationally. This was no simple feat and Prof Ho and A/P Chew and their committee members organised this event with barely any admin support except for the graduate students and without any need for financial support from the Department. Kudos to them all!
This year also saw the launch of the Pharmaceutical Science programme, with an intake of 32 undergraduate students. With this Pharmaceutical Science programme, we are more ‘complete’: we remain the sole provider of tertiary Pharmacy Education in Singapore and as the healthcare needs of the nation evolve, so will our Pharmacy Education evolve to one that is more integrated in its curriculum and necessarily more healthcare orientated. In contrast, the Pharmaceutical Science programme will focus on the needs of the Pharmaceutical Industries and related organisations.
The growing emphasis on lifelong learning education (termed as CET, continuing education and training) has provided us with new opportunities to rethink our offerings, pedagogy and new ways to engage adult learners. The National Collaborative Prescribing programme, which was jointly ran with the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies is an excellent example of a highly needed CET programme that ‘’upskills’’ working pharmacists. A/P Priscilla How is the overall coordinator of this programme and this has already seen two batches of graduates!
Looking towards 2019 and beyond promises that ‘we will live in interesting times’ as the Chinese quote goes. We will continue to be open to change, be creative and trust that together, we will succeed!
Have a Blessed Year ahead.
Thank you all,