Colleagues and Friends,
More good news before the Year 2019 ends!
- The latest from the Nature Index shows that Walailak University ranks 2nd in research publications in Physical Sciences, and 6th overall, among research-based universities in Thailand.
- On the Scimago Institutions Rankings: For World Class Research, WU ranks 11th in Thailand; for Innovation, 4th in Thailand; for Social Sciences, 1st in Thailand, 119th in Asia, and 548th in the world.
- I have put strong emphasis on academic staff promotions as these indicate our strength as a research university. In the past three years, from July 2016 to October 2019, the number of faculty members who have received promotions have more than doubled, adding another 129.
- On the teaching and learning front, 317 of our teaching staff have now been awarded by the UK-based AdvanceHE fellowships in high quality teaching – 1 Principal Fellow, 53 Senior Fellowships and 263 Fellowships – since our adoption of the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) in the early 2018. This is an important part of our Teaching and Learning Reform initiated three years ago. Virtually, 100 per cent of our lecturers have since all been 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 absolutely serious about teaching our students. I am sure high-quality teaching has a lot to do with high quality graduates.
- In October 2019, a high-level Quality Assurance Committee appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation gave a score of 4.75 (out of 5) following its evaluation of the University performance for the 2018-2019 Academic Year. This is the highest the University has received so far. Obviously, only a few universities have ever achieved this level of performance. Five crucial items were well-ranked by the Committee: quality graduates, research and publications, social engagement, promotion of art and culture, and management.
- Our 40 smart classrooms have served well both students and lecturers, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning. Another 42 smart classrooms are expected to add to the existing ones by the next Academic Year of 2020.
- The construction of the University Hospital Center is on schedule, almost 100% per cent completed now. Soon, the second phase of construction involving largely interior decoration will begin. The first stage of full medical service at the 750-bed hospital should be operational in early 2021. This will significantly add great value and relevance of Walailak University to the community, not only in Nakhon Si Thammarat but also the whole of the upper South of Thailand. In the meantime, our current hospital (for outpatients only) is being run well, providing medical treatments to some 30,000 – 45,000 patients a year since its opening in early 2017.
Obviously, some of these key results – to use the language of the OKRs – have been a fruit of hard work. Nothing has come easily. I have worked very hard to change things, to improve things at Walailak University. I am indeed well-supported by a huge number of dedicated staff – academic and otherwise. I thank and congratulate them all.
Prof. Dr. Sombat Thamrongthanyawong