It’s not just the faculty and students who make a college great.
Behind the scenes at Wheelock College-Singapore, the dynamic duo of Eunice Sim and Choo Wan Ting are the unsung heroes behind each vibrant and event-filled academic year.
Eunice and Wan Ting started their jobs on the exact same day — 5 August 2013 – and both combine a teaching background with administrative expertise. Both of them are seconded to Wheelock College by Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), the fifth university in Singapore.
This secondment has significant advantages for Wheelock College. For example, Eunice and Wan Ting have forged close bonds with the administration at SIT and engaged Wheelock students in becoming more involved in the SIT community. Students now take part in co-curricular activities such as floorball, tennis, badminton and accapella. They participate in the annual Chill Out event and of course feel pride in the SIT@Dover auditorium for graduation. SIT refers to their students as SITizens and their motto is “Once a SITizen always a SITizen.”
Eunice and Wan Ting’s duties run the full range of what a college does, from day to day operations such as admissions, and running the academic calendar to creating and administering programs that help students prepare for their careers and build professional networks. A good example of this is the annual Career Fair which hosted almost 40 child care related organizations this year and resulted in most students either getting a job or networking with providers to find out more about potential teaching positions.
Eunice, 36, brings to the job her background as primary school teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Mathematics from the National University of Singapore and a post-graduate diploma in primary education at the National Institute for Education, and worked in the corporate world as well.
“Our students have just two years in our program, so we work fast and hard to make sure they have the best experience possible,” Eunice says. “We’re a team, we work together to accomplish as much as possible.”
Wan Ting, 30, graduated with the first Wheelock College-Singapore cohort in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education, and previously taught in a preschool.
As an alumna, Wan Ting uses her personal experience to help students prepare for careers both inside the classroom and in other professional settings where expertise in early learning has practical applications.
“I can relate to the students. I can tell them I’ve been through this, and I can help them with what will happen and what to expect. We click very quickly and very well,” Wan Ting says.
When they were recruited for their respective positions, Eunice and Wan Ting were each hired for their combination of educational backgrounds and professional demeanor.
In addition to day to day operations and regularly scheduled events, Eunice and Wan Ting administer programs such as the second-year summer immersion program in Boston, a 30 hour mandatory service learning project, an internship program, a lecture series, and the career fair.
Earlier this year they helped launch a Maker Space, a place at the college’s office at SIT@NP Building for students to have fun, de-stress, be creative, and in the process, to develop new skills for lifelong learning.
They encourage and advise students with coping strategies to help deal with time pressures and stress, and facilitate communication between students and faculty.
And they welcome everyone into the program. They are essential to helping the US Wheelock faculty who come to teach twice each year as well as introduce them to the local Singapore faculty who co-teach and bring the local context to all modules. They liaise with the Boston office and community partners like SEED Institute, Lien Foundation, and many organizations including museums and child care providers.
“The greatest satisfaction of this job is that every day is different. One day we are liaising with SIT to plan a fantastic graduation and the next day we are prepping our students for an awesome overseas adventure to Boston,” Eunice says. “We love making sure that everything is smooth sailing and that everyone feels part of the Wheelock family. So, we’re a team in every sense of the word, we work together and we produce amazing results.”
Says Wheelock College-Singapore Executive Director Beth Fredericks: “It takes a village to raise a cohort of students in Singapore. There’s no way we could have done the things we’ve done this year – with the SIT Open House for recruitment, the maker space, the new internship program, and the things you have to do each year such as graduation and summer immersion – these things take many hands to make it lively, to pay attention to detail, to provide the best experience to our students. Eunice and Wan Ting are two of the best colleagues I’ve ever had; they’re smart, they’re dynamic, and they’re always thinking ahead.”