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Chinese university leaders at NUS for university management programme

22 March 2013

Prof Tan giving the keynote session on university governance and global talent management

Prof Zhang Jie, Shanghai Jiao Tong University President, raising a question on performance assessment at Prof Tan's session

In view of Asia's increasingly critical role in the future, university presidents in the region have an important responsibility to consider how they can support, shape and help transform Asia for tomorrow, said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan. He was giving the keynote session at the Temasek Foundation - NUS Programme for Leadership in University Management on 19 March, attended by more than 50 participants from 15 leading Chinese universities.

Held for the second year, the five-day programme, funded by the Temasek Foundation and organised by NUS, provided good opportunities for the Asian university presidents, deans and directors to share experiences and exchange views on university management.

Addressing the topic of university governance and global talent management, Prof Tan touched on the implications of a complex and fast-moving world for higher education institutions. He stressed the ability to stay nimble, set strategic directions and pursue them, which is the function of governance. He also emphasised the ability to execute ideas and plans as well as recruit and nurture global talent. All these were, in his opinion, crucial for the success of universities, given the nature of the modern world.

Sharing the NUS experience, Prof Tan gave an overview of the University's major institutional shifts in the last 15 years. He recounted how it had evolved to become a research-intensive and entrepreneurial institution offering a broad-based and global education with a lot of flexibility.

On the topic of talent management, Prof Tan highlighted that attracting, nurturing and retaining talent is a top priority for senior administrators. Competitive and flexible human resource systems, a conducive environment for faculty members to do excellent work, and the commitment to develop a strong administrative system were also cited among the critical enablers in this area of management.

In response to his sharing, the participants raised many questions for further discussion. Their spirited dialogue covered a variety of issues, including performance management as well as NUS' corporatisation, globalisation and talent retention strategy.

At the many roundtable and workshop sessions led by NUS senior administrators from 18 to 22 March, the Chinese delegates also discussed many other aspects of university management such as curriculum reforms and liberal education; pedagogical innovations and IT-enhanced learning; faculty appointment, development and retention; internationalisation; as well as research benchmarking and international rankings.