Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our Principal’s First Year in Nanyang Polytechnic

On 1 July 2015, we had our new Principal and CEO, Ms Jeanne Liew, take the helm at NYP. Time flies, and a year has since gone by. We decided to ask Ms Liew to share with us her most remarkable moments at NYP in this past year. Today, we are thrilled to present some of her thoughts on events, facilities, and achievements that would make you feel proud to be an NYPian.


I still find it surreal that I have passed the one-year mark at NYP.  I remember vividly stepping into NYP on my first day, 1 Jul 2015.  There was the usual excitement of starting a whole new chapter, but there was some trepidation as well.  I am certainly no newbie to the poly scene.  I started teaching in Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 1997, and stayed on in NP till end 2013.  In 2014, I joined Singapore Polytechnic as Deputy Principal and Registrar.  Although NYP would already be my third poly, it was still a big step for me to take on the position of Principal.  But upon starting work, I quickly realised that there was no time for any apprehension because there was so much to do.  Looking back at the past year, I must say it had been a blast!  Allow me to share some of my more memorable moments related to our students.

1) SG50 Dance Musical Extravaganza – As One 

I was lucky that I joined just in time to catch this wonderful performance by our students on 27 November 2015.  164 students and alumni from Dance Company, Danz Inc., Foreign Bodies, Malay Cultural Group, Indian Cultural Group, Zhong Hua Wushu, Silat and the Chinese Orchestra trained hard for three months to re-enact Singapore’s nation building journey.  The different genres of dance and CCAs blended seamlessly to produce an energetic and dramatic performance that totally enraptured the audience.  It was invigorating to see the amount of talent, energy and potential on display.  It is moments like these that make me feel so grateful for the opportunity to be involved in developing and nurturing young people.

2) STAR Awards  

The Student Talent & Achievement Recognition (STAR) awards recognise students’ achievements and contributions in non-academic areas.  I attended the award ceremony on 3 February 2016 where 2 Platinum, 77 Gold, 72 Silver, 90 Bronze and 26 Innovation & Creativity awards were given out.  One of the Platinum award recipients, Sophie Soon, left a deep impression on me.  Sophie was diagnosed with cone rod dystrophy at the age of five.  Despite having very limited vision, she remains positive and driven.  She trains hard as a competitive swimmer and represented Singapore in the ASEAN Paralympic Games.  She is also a Grade 7 going on Grade 8 violinist.  As I hugged Sophie and presented her with the award, I was in awe of this young lady’s resilience and positivity.  While we devote ourselves to teaching students, there is also much that we can learn from them.

3) Graduation   

I experienced my first graduation season at NYP from 6 – 12 May 2016.  Admittedly, it was a bit tiring to sit through all 15 sessions of graduation ceremonies.  But I always enjoy seeing the happy faces of graduands and their families.  The occasion is a very special one for each and every graduand as it marks a major milestone in their lives.  It represents the culmination of all their learning and development over the last three years, and it is also a day to celebrate the special friendships forged in this home away from home.

4) Fireside Chat 

Personally I am very passionate about developing students holistically.  As such, one of the first things I did after joining NYP was to work with my colleagues to develop a student development framework.  It is about leveraging on CCAs and student development activities to foster a holistic development journey for students, so that they become more well-rounded individuals.

As part of the whole suite of activities planned, I had a fireside chat with NYP scholars and CCA leaders on 29 June 2016.  At the session, I shared about my personal experiences participating in CCAs as a student.  I feel strongly that my active participation in CCAs has helped mould me into who I am today.  There are some lessons that are difficult to teach in a classroom setting.  After my sharing, there was a very active Q&A session with the students.  I was impressed that the students were deeply interested in learning about leadership development and displayed maturity in their outlook.

5) WorldSkills Singapore National Competition 2016  

WorldSkills is an international competition where young people from all over the world come together to pit their skills against one another in different skills categories.  It is often touted as the ‘Youth Olympics of Skills’, as the level of competition is very intense.  WorldSkills Singapore 2016 was held from 7-9 July 2016.  The winners stand a good chance in representing Singapore at the international competition to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

NYP took part in 15 of the 17 skills categories like Health and Social Care and Mobile Robotics.  At the prize giving ceremony.  I was bursting with pride as I witnessed NYP contestants winning 6 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze medals.  This was the strongest finishing amongst all the polytechnics and ITE.  Most of the contestants had trained intensively with their staff coaches for the last nine months to a year for this and their hard work had clearly paid off.  This speaks so well of the level of skills of NYP staff and students.  We wish our contestants well as they get ready to represent Singapore on the international stage!

6) Regular Group Chats with Students

Ever since taking office, I make it a point to hold chats with small groups of students on a fortnightly basis.  Each group of students belong to the same year of study in a particular school, though they are from different diplomas.  It is a way for me to touch base with the students to hear their views and concerns.  We usually discuss a whole range of topics, like their learning experiences, adequacy of student facilities, participation in CCAs, transition from secondary schools etc.  I also get their views on how we can make NYP a better place.  I really enjoy these more informal and in-depth chats with students.  Perhaps it is because I miss teaching….

7) New Facilities  

In recent years, we have placed quite a bit of emphasis on student facilities as we strive to make student life more enriching and the campus more “buzzy”.  Some of these new student facilities include:

- i@Central
- ECG@Central
- Reading Lounge by the Library
- Retail outlets like D’Studio, Cheers, Popular Book Shop and CONNECT’ON
- L’Rez and L’Cafe
- Foodgle, FoodCentral and Food Connect
- T-Junction, including BodyWatch Gym
- MakerSpace

I am especially excited with the opening of the MakerSpace at Blk P level 2 on 4 July 2016.  I went for a tour recently and was so encouraged to see a good number of students continually streaming in to engage in different makes, such as jewellery, fabric, electronics, 3D printing, as well as doing recording in sound booths, taking pictures in the dark room or using heavy duty machinery in the Fab Lab.  It is wonderful seeing students unleashing their creativity and tinkering with things.  Many great inventions started with tinkering.

I am sure there will be many more memorable moments as I continue this exciting journey in NYP.  As we celebrate our 25th anniversary next year, my wish is for NYP to grow from strength to strength.  I hope and want this place to be one where students build beautiful memories, and forge long lasting ties with, even long after they graduate. Collectively we will build it up into a place filled with inspirations and aspirations, truly a polytechnic of choice, #BecauseWeCan.

Ms Jeanne Liew
Principal & CEO
Nanyang Polytechnic


This article was initiated by David Lau, Year 2, Diploma in Nursing

David is currently pursuing his Diploma in Nursing.  Being experimental and explorative, he believes that it is okay for experiments to fail because it toughens him up. When faced with failure, David believes in trying harder next time. David is an artsy person, and loves musicals as well as photography.

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