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Annual Teaching Excellence Awards 2013

NUS Law congratulates Prof Walter Woon ’81, Asst Prof Umakanth Varottil '10 (Ph.D), Asst Prof Sandra Annette Booysen '09 (Ph.D), and Asst Prof Goh Yihan ’06 on being awarded the Faculty of Law’s 2013 Annual Teaching Excellence Awards! 

From left to right: Dean Simon Chesterman, Asst Prof Goh Yihan, Asst Prof Sandra Annette Booysen, Prof Walter Woon and Asst Prof Umakanth Varottil.

The winners were announced and presented with their award by Dean Simon Chesterman at the faculty’s Semester Welcome Lunch on 22 January. Attended by staff and members of the faculty, the announcement was met with rousing applause and well wishes from colleagues, giving a boost of encouragement and recognition for the faculty teaching members who have displayed a high level of commitment in their teaching. LawLink catches up with the award winners to find out what inspires them.

Prof Walter Woon

LawLink: What inspires you in your teaching?

Prof Woon: We have a duty to make sure that our students are prepared to function in the real world, so I try to bring into my teaching the experience I’ve accumulated over the years. This is so that they can have some idea of what it would be like in real life, after they’ve left here.

LawLink: How do you feel about winning the award?

Prof Woon: Surprised! It’s an honour and pleasure to have this.

Asst Prof Sandra Annette Booysen  

LawLink: What inspires you in your teaching?

Asst Prof Booysen: I am inspired by many things, but, if I were to identify just one thing for now, it is the reward of knowing you can make a difference to a student’s experience, and the pleasure in seeing them succeed.  

LawLink: How do you feel about winning the award?

Asst Prof Booysen: I feel honoured and grateful for the recognition, especially as I know that the level of teaching in our faculty is very high. 

Asst Prof Goh Yihan

LawLink: What inspires you in your teaching?

Asst Prof Goh: Since I teach only Year 1 students, I find that it’s inspiring to introduce the Year 1 students to the law school, to make their transition from wherever they were from to law school easy and not intimidating. In doing so, I also find inspiration in seeing them mature as law students, beginning to think like law students, grasping legal concepts and maybe this is not to their credit, but speaking and talking like lawyers. Above all, I’ve not been here for a long time, but in my time here, I’ve seen one batch of students graduate, and it is very rewarding to see students you’ve taught for four years graduate and going out into the work force. So ultimately, I think that’s the goal for every teacher, to see that their students do well and contribute to the legal profession.   

LawLink: How do you feel about winning the award?

Asst Prof Goh: I feel very privileged and honoured, of course, somewhat surprised given that there are so many excellent teachers in the law faculty. To be singled out is an honour, and of course, it is something we teachers don’t expect, nor take for granted, and we only strive to do better.

Asst Prof Umakanth Varottil

LawLink: What inspires you in your teaching?

Asst Prof Umakanth: It’s the interaction with the students, the type of questions they ask, and the challenges they pose in the classroom. It is always inspiring and it makes you want to do better than you have done before, so I think that is certainly a motivating factor. Another factor that is inspiring is the environment in NUS, the faculty, the discussion and sharing of experiences with colleagues - all that makes a lot of difference.

LawLink: How do you feel about winning the award?

Asst Prof Umakanth: It’s very encouraging that we get recognised by our colleagues and peers, and that certainly motivates us to work harder in the future, to do better and teach the students and do our job well.

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