Tapping into the Treasures of Teaching

School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

BSc, Honours (Microbiology) 1980
MSSt (Biotechnology) 1982
PhD (Biotechnology) 1989

Minimum $104,000
Maximum $115,000
Average $110,000 p.a.
(source: UQ Academic Staff Salary Schedule 2009. Level: Associate Professor D.)

IT may have started as a short stint in a foreign country, but this UQ Science graduate discovered his life’s passion when he moved to Singapore in pursuit of a lecturing position in 1990.

Wayne Lee Forday took up what was originally a two-and-a-half year role at Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic not long after completing his PhD in Biotechnology at UQ in 1989. Almost two decades on, he is not only still there, but still loves what he does.

“I had read about Singapore and its investment into biotechnology and I thought, ‘here is an opportunity to work in another part of the world,’” he remembers.

“Initially I thought I would only stay for the two-and-a-half year contract – but, as things worked out, Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic turned out to be great places to work.

“In Singapore, taxes are low and you do not need a car… And the biotech industry never seems to stop growing.”

Now the polytechnic’s School of Life Sciences and Chemical Technology deputy director, Wayne spends his time both teaching and managing students, usually aged between 17 and 21.

“They are at an age where they are full of excitement about their course, their research projects and their careers,” he says.

“They have many ambitions, and, of course, have the typical teenage and post-teenage problems.

“It is a job in which you have to no only teach and administrate, but you also have to counsel, mentor and be a good role model.

“These are the reasons I have never left teaching.”

When students ask him about their future career, Wayne echoes the advice of his former UQ Professor Paul Greenfield – now the university’s Vice-Chancellor.

“Never think that something is too hard or impossible for you to do, even if you have absolutely no formal training in the area,” he says.

“If you think like that you will never stop learning and will be able to do more than you ever imagined."