Farewell Communications and New Media (CNM) at NUS, my academic home for the past 14 years. As I move on to join the Singapore University of Technology and Design as Professor and Head of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, I would like to give thanks and reflect on the many wonderful years I’ve spent here.
I joined the department in 2003, then the Information and Communications Management (ICM) Programme, fresh from my PhD at the London School of Economics. The programme was all of three years old and we, the faculty, were literally one step ahead of the students in terms of putting in place the curriculum as they ascended each year. Student demand grew unabated, and our little programme continued to gain traction among students as we broadened our slate of modules to better cater to student interests and industry needs. Over time we also grew our graduate programme and have since seen our graduate alumni flourish in meaningful careers in academia and beyond. Those early years of growth were exciting and exhausting, as we had to balance our own research and publishing with the push to grow the programme. Looking back though, it was an immensely rewarding period that I would not trade for anything.
In 2005, under the fearless leadership of Professor Millie Rivera, we rebranded the programme as Communications and New Media to better represent our collective expertise and niche area, and sharpened the distinctions between the Media Studies, Communication Management and Interactive Media Design tracks. New faculty members from around the world joined us, each enriching our programme with unique strengths. Through it all, we were supported by fantastic administrators who were kind, caring and efficient – a powerful combination. And from the very beginning, our students have gone on to make their mark in diverse industries, building a strong and supportive alumni network that today continues to look out for new members of our expanding CNM family. With steady growth and overwhelming student, alumni, and faculty support, the university raised CNM from programme to department status in 2011, and the Department of Communications and New Media was born with a firm stamp of endorsement.
My journey in CNM has been marked by many significant milestones that I had the privilege to share with dear colleagues and students. Personally, my most memorable would be attaining tenure in 2010, and being surprised with celebration where I was made to don a pageant sash, a paper Burger King crown and a humongous bouquet. I still have that sash, lovingly handmade by Siti Nurharnani Nahar, Class of 2005! As our department grew and our alumni distinguished themselves in their careers, we could not be more thrilled than in 2013 when Lim May-Ann, Class of 2003, joined us as Adjunct Lecturer to teach Media Policy. She draws on her rich experience as Managing Director at TRPC, a telecomm and infotech research consultancy, as well as her strong foundations in Media Policy taught by Prof Rivera way back in 2002!
Another milestone was crossed in 2014 when Julian Lim, Vice President of Group Corporate Communications at OCBC Bank, from our pioneer Class of 2003, was invited as Commencement speaker. He impressed the audience with wit and wisdom while we, his professors, looked on like proud parents. In 2014 too, the department marked another turning point when Dr Elmie Nekmat, Class of 2006, joined CNM as Assistant Professor after attaining his PhD at the University of Alabama where he survived a tornado in more ways than one. He is our first alumnus to join us as Assistant Professor, and will undoubtedly play a key role in steering CNM’s next phase of development, along with the many other promising Assistant Professors who have recently joined us.
As CNM charts new paths, I wish my friends and colleagues my very best and I thank you all for having been part of my rich and eventful journey at the National University of Singapore.
Associate Professor, 2010-2016
Assistant Professsor, 2003-2010