Teaching & Research Excellence Awards 2013

Written by Purva Chopra, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business

As I occupied the seat reserved for journalists, the weight of what I was just about to cover began to sink in.

With the passage of time, the cacophony of voices enshrouding us grew louder and the degree of nervousness in the air seemed to rise by just another notch.

Surprisingly, this was not an event for the students. This nerve-wrecking, breathtaking event was to acknowledge our hardworking faculty. To recognise their innovative teaching styles, to thank them for working hard at their research as well as at their classes. It truly felt like a moment to rejoice and celebrate. To allow our precious teachers to bask in the glory of their successes! It is opportune at this point to emphasise that this post is a dedication to every faculty member that has contributed to each of our lives in their own inspiring way.

President De Meyer said that “Education is not only about creating knowledge, but also about diffusing it.” He repeatedly mentioned the importance of diffusing the knowledge that has been created to as many people outside as possible. And I think that essentially summarises what one needs from a teacher. Talking to the professors after the ceremony was the most insightful part of the whole process. The high degree of significance in what they shared can be attributed to their selfless answers.

One of the nominees, Prof Kapil Tuli, a teacher of marketing, shared how much he adores his students! Prof Tuli said that he—as a professor—is as nervous during the term-end presentations as his students because he wants them to do well. He considers the term projects not just a test for his students, but also for himself as it is the culmination of everything he has taught in the past 14 weeks. For him, its result is indicative of how well he has delivered his own content and I believe that this sentiment can be extended to the majority of our faculty.

It was a common consensus between all those I spoke to that the students they teach are extremely hardworking and intelligent. It can be believed that our professors largely find motivation in us to drive them and push them forward. Our demanding nature, our intelligent questions, and student’s well-researched presence in class create an environment that makes learning an all-around process.

To conclude, I’d like to leave you with a thought, which was propagated by Alexander the Great, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teachers for living well.”