Early priorities of the Board of Trustees
One, was the admission process, the process and the quality of student admission. Secondly, was the design of the programmes that we were going to run. A third one, was simply physical capacity, where was the university located now. There was a debate, I remember, over whether we should indeed stay at Bukit Timah. It became a very comfortable venue. We spent all this money it would have seemed in bringing it up standard and here we were about to move out. There was quite a movement around to stay at Bukit Timah and then should we go to site A or B or C. This one wasn’t the only site that was on offer, so that was part of the discussion. But the area that I paid most attention to—I guess it is why in large part I’ve been brought onto to the board—was the international dimension of the university, how would it reach. If you’re a young institution, how do you get the attention from the revered institutions overseas? If you are so young, one of the answers is, be young in Singapore because you’ve got the cache of Singapore on your calling card when you try to open the doors. The other thing I was interested in was governance structures and management systems. How do you arrange for people to be appointed to the university pay scales, remuneration arrangements? I was particularly keen to see a system of performance review which was transparent and well-understood so that remuneration adjustment would reflect contribution to the university and scholarly performance. It wouldn’t be a type of public service formulaic increase as the years roll by. The other area that I was involved in was the development of the committee structure within the university. I then went particularly to the financial remuneration committee, designed its charter—the way in which it worked its way through the year, and the events that had remuneration on the one hand, budgeting on the other. I guess in the other ways, I was involved in strategy, workshops. I led the first strategy work day that the university had and then got involved in various other projects as they came along, but primarily FinRem [Finance and Remuneration Committee] was my home base within the board.