12 July 2012
The secondment of Professor Tan Chin Tiong as the founding President of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will end on 31 January 2013. Professor Tan Thiam Soon, from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will join SIT on 1 September 2012 as President-designate and succeed Professor Tan Chin Tiong as SIT’s second President effective 1 February 2013.
As the founding President, Professor Tan Chin Tiong played an instrumental role in the development of SIT since it started in 2009. Working closely with the polytechnics, it welcomed its inaugural intake a year later of 500 students in 10 degree programmes with 5 reputable overseas university partners such as the Technical University of Munich and DigiPen Institute of Technology. In 2011, SIT successfully doubled its intake and offerings to almost 1,000 students across 17 degree programmes. In August 2012, SIT will welcome around 1300 students, having further expanded its offerings to include 7 new degree programmes such as Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, which were previously not offered in Singapore. Professor Tan Chin Tiong will return to the Singapore Management University as Senior Advisor to the President and Professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, effective 1 February 2013.
Professor Tan Thiam Soon is currently the Vice-Provost (Education) at NUS, and will be leaving his tenured position with the NUS Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to take on this new role in SIT. Given his rich and extensive experience at NUS, as well as his strong conviction about the role of SIT in a diversified university landscape in Singapore, Professor Tan Thiam Soon is well-placed to lead SIT as its second President. At NUS, he assists the NUS Provost in setting educational directions and policies for the University to achieve high academic standards and high quality of education. He also helps to coordinate the research under the virtual Integrative Sustainability Research Cluster and is also concurrently the Director of the NUS Energy Office. Previously, he has held other key administrative positions, including the Dean of Admissions and the Vice-Dean of Engineering (Undergraduate Programmes). Professor Tan Thiam Soon will work closely with SIT’s Board of Trustees to continue expanding SIT as it works towards offering approximately 2,000 full-time university places by AY2015 and introducing more industry-relevant degree programmes.
Mr Ng Yat Chung, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, SIT commented, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Professor Tan Chin Tiong for his leadership and guidance during these formative years and for building a strong foundation for the next stage of SIT’s development.”
Commenting on his appointment, Professor Tan Thiam Soon said, “In Singapore’s evolving and expanding higher education landscape, SIT plays an important and unique role, both in the way it helps students gain a university education and its strong applied focus. Chin Tiong has established a strong foundation that will enable SIT to expand and better serve the needs of Singaporeans who aspire to pursue a university education and for that, I am very grateful as it makes my new task much easier. Moving forward, SIT will have to continue to create unique niches that will help our youths to be competitive amidst a fast changing world. Leveraging on my knowledge of the local educational system as well as my background as an engineer and consultant, I look forward to bringing new perspectives into developing programmes that will enhance the talents of SIT students and nurture them to have a strong entrepreneurial and innovative bent – these are important attributes that will make SIT graduates competitive in the job market and stand them in good stead for their future careers.”
Professor Tan Chin Tiong said, “It has indeed been an extremely interesting and rewarding experience leading a start-up institution, working closely with our polytechnic and overseas university partners and watching it progress by leaps and bounds over such a short period of time. I have been fortunate to have led such a passionate and able team and I wish Thiam Soon all the best as he takes over the reins.”
About Singapore Institute of Technology
Established in 2009, SIT is an initiative of the Ministry of Education offering undergraduate degree programmes primarily for polytechnic graduates. In partnership with various reputable overseas universities, SIT has brought to Singapore some of the world’s top industry-focused degree programmes targeted at growth sectors of the economy.
Through a unique tripartite collaboration with its overseas university partners and the five local polytechnics, SIT represents a new model that is set to become a key pillar of university education. SIT adopts a distributed campus model to allow greater synergy and efficiency. Through this model, SIT’s degree programmes will be housed within an SIT building in each of the polytechnics to cater to an annual intake of about 2000 full-time students by 2015.