Colleagues and Friends,
As valuable part of Walailak University family, towards the end of 2021, may I invite all to partake in our celebration for a number of promising achievements, as a result of all my colleagues’ shared efforts, throughout my 5-year presidency at the university:
International Rankings Achievements:
For the first time since its inception 30 years ago, WU has been ranked by Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2021, which assessed WU against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our current THE Impact Ranking 2021 band is 601-800 among 1,118 universities from 94 countries, or the 15th in Thailand. The ranking is an international recognition for our commitment to serve our communities, particularly in Southern Thailand. Recently, WU has been ranked as the top 551-600 Asian universities by QS Asia University Rankings 2022; among Thai universities featured in QS Asia University Rankings 2022, WU is currently the 19th. Times Higher Education has also given WU “Reporter Status”, one of six in Thailand. Although we still have a mountain to climb regarding being a top university in the world, we can be certain that our hard work has paid off and that we are on the right track.
World-class Research Publication
Currently, WU has achieved up to 77% of quality Q1 and Q2 research publications in Scopus-indexed journals, among the top 3 in Thailand. Quality publications will bring about higher citation rate. Meanwhile, our international research collaboration level is currently 37 percent. The Nature Index has ranked WU the 3rd in research publication in Physical Sciences, the 7th in Chemistry research publication and the 5th in its overall performance, among research-based universities in Thailand. The SCImago Institutions Rankings has placed WU the 11th for innovation, the 4th for social sciences, the 1st for its overall performance in Thailand, the 119th in Asia, and the 548th in the world.
World-class Quality Teaching
On the teaching and learning front, 451 (96.10%) of our faculty members have now been awarded by the UK-based Advance Higher Education (AdvanceHE) HEA fellowships in high quality teaching – 1 Principal Fellow (PHEA), 56 Senior Fellows (SFHEAs) and 394 Fellows (FHEAs) – since our adoption of the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) in the early 2018. This has been an important part of our teaching and learning reform initiated five years ago. Virtually, 100 per cent of our lecturers have since undergone the UKPSF-based training programs. On this basis, our lecturers now emphasize in their teaching, attention to individual learning of students, formative assessment and feedback, and analytical and critical thinking. We are serious about teaching our students well. I do believe in the strong relationship between high-quality teaching and high-quality graduates. Students’ evaluation of teaching has been above 4.5 (out of 5) in past two years, indicating a rewarding learning experience among our students. Our 72 small and hi-tech “smart” classrooms, currently ready to serve both students and lecturers, will further enhance the quality of teaching and learning.
Highest Score for Quality University
In November 2021, a quality assurance committee appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation awarded a score of 4.93 (out of 5) following its evaluation of the 2020 university performance in the following areas: quality graduates, research and publications, social engagement, promotion of art and culture, and management. This is the highest score the university has received since its establishment. Obviously, only a few universities have ever achieved this level of performance. I thank my staff and colleagues for all their hard work and commitment to making WU a quality education institution.
Pillar for Community in Healthcare
After five years, in November 2021, the Walailak University Hospital has celebrated its grand opening and is now ready to operate 120-bed inpatient service, and will increase up to 419 in early 2022, out of the full capacity of the total of 750 inpatient care units. WU will take the leadership role in healthcare services for the public, not only in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province but also the whole of the upper south of Thailand. Before the grand opening of the WU Hospital, we had piloted our medical care services, providing medical treatments to some 300,000 – 400,000 patients a year from early 2017.
Obviously, nothing has come easily. I have worked very hard to change things, to improve things at WU. I am indeed well-supported by a huge number of dedicated staff – academic and otherwise. May I extend my deep appreciation to all of my staff members for our mutual achievements in world reputation, quality education and research, and quality health care services.
Prof. Dr. Sombat Thamrongthanyawong