Plenary Speaker

Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc

Innovation, Re-Inventing Higher Education, and Aligning Education and Workforce for this New Era


Higher education was built on an industrial age “one size fits all” model that envisioned a world for which four years of education at age 17 or 18 would serve one well for the whole of a career and lifetime.  A college degree was a signal to the labor market that you were “worthy” and ready for the world of work, possessing the range of skills that employers sought as a foundation for the additional training and acclimation into the workplace they would provide. However, tectonic changes are underway today, as lifespans approach 100 years, jobs change at a dizzying pace, AI and automation disrupt the workforce (creating new jobs and displacing many others), and professionals constantly retool to remain up-to-date and relevant.  The old, well-established industrial age model that has served us so well is not well suited for the Fourth Industrial Age.  

Society needs to create a learning eco-system that allows learners to dip in and out over the course of a career and a lifetime, one that offers a broader arrange of credentials from a greater variety of educational providers, one that can recognize and certify learning in many forms, and that is much more individualized around the learner.  This is our version of “precision medicine” – call it “precision education,” of a kind that gives learners just the right amount of education at the just the right time in just the right way.  In such a learning eco-system, competencies  become the “exchange rate” that provides coherence and connectedness for a kind of educational bio-diversity within which traditional higher education continues to play a key role, but for which it no longer has a monopoly on how people demonstrate and get credit for what they know and what they can do.


Keynote Speaker

Professor Mick Healey

Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching


Universities need to move towards creating inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities. … The notion of inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities invites us to consider new ideas about who the scholars are in universities and how they might work in partnership. (Brew 2007, 4)


Ways of engaging students in higher education as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing higher education in the 21st Century. Partnership is essentially a process for engaging students, though not all engagement involves partnership. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself. In this interactive session we will explore four ways in which students may be engaged as partners through: a) Learning, teaching and assessment; b) Subject-based research and inquiry; c) Scholarship of teaching and learning; and d) Curriculum design and pedagogic advice and consultancy. We will examine many mini case studies from different parts of the world, including SE Asia, and discuss the principles and values which should underpin student-staff partnerships.

Professor Tan Thiam Soon

Impact of an Applied Learning Education


As the world evolves and traditional jobs disappear, new jobs are being created, clamouring for qualified and capable workers. Educating the next generation of workers will take on a deeper significance and universities need to shake up established education models so that our young minds will be able to cope with disruption and thrive. With the blurring of boundaries between the classroom and workplace, the future will not be defined by paper qualifications, but by real skillsets. A university of applied learning will hence have to build skills, not degrees. This has to be done through an industry-focused education, hands-on training and solving real-world problems. The quality of higher education should be determined by the impact on various stakeholders, including the students, industry and the community at large. 

For students, an applied learning education provides aspiring individuals, young or those returning to learn, a chance to pursue their passion and fulfil their dreams. For industry, an applied learning ecosystem offers a solution by blurring the lines between work and study, and training work-ready graduates to fill the gaps of missing skillsets in the market. Challenging the traditional concept of an ivory tower, an applied learning pathway can disrupt the higher education landscape in offering unique industry partnerships and applied research opportunities leading to a whole ecosystem comprising entrepreneurs, startups focusing on practical, everyday solutions for the community. Educators will be pivotal as they navigate challenges arising from the symbiotic relationship developed between the university and industry.  


Distinguished Guest Speaker

Professor Dr. Georg Nagler

The Importance of Corporate Studies as an Element of Sustainable Human Resource Management and Development in Times of Global Economic Crisis


The presentation is based on an in-depth analysis of two key considerations in applied higher education, the first one being the changing needs of human resource management and the second,  how universities can change the way they prepare students to meet these changing needs.   In modern organisations, human resource management is often challenged by the rapid change in customer demands, developments in disruptive technology and shareholder expectations. As one who has worked in the health industry for more than a decade, the presenter will examine these demands and draw significant conclusions relevant to higher educational institutions.


The presentation will touch on aspects of employment such as qualifications, selection procedures, contracts, staff maintenance, job performance, termination, outplacement, etc. It will then focus on the role of universities in contributing to sustainable human resource management in the future by incorporating studies specifically in this area in the university curriculum. The presenter will then provide detailed analyses of examples of the working activities of a corporate state university in day-to-day cooperation with thousands of industrial companies.


Distinguished Invited Speakers

Ms Ong Toon Hui

Dean & CEO,

Civil Service College and Deputy Secretary (Leadership), Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office

Mr Douglas Foo

Founder & Chairman,

Sakae Holdings

Ms Ho Geok Choo


Human Capital (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Dr. Lillian Koh

Founder and CEO,

FinTech Academy (Singapore)

Dr. Chew Lee Chin

Senior Lecturer,

Psychological Studies, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technology University Singapore

Mr Vinoth Pannirsilvam

Chief Engineer,

TRIGEN Automotive (a division of HOPE Technik)