Mary Anne Heng is Associate Dean, Higher Degrees and Strategic Partnerships and Associate Professor, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Prior to her current position, she was Head, Early Childhood and Special Needs Education (2004-2005) and Head, Specialised Education (2002-2004) at NIE, where she oversaw and provided leadership in the teaching and research programmes in the academic group in the areas of gifted education, special needs education and early childhood education. As Co-Director, Master of Arts in Leadership and Educational Change, jointly offered by Teachers College, Columbia University, New York and the National Institute of Education, Singapore, she provided academic and administrative leadership, and contributed to the conceptualisation, development and implementation of the first graduate programme worldwide with a dual focus on organisational and curriculum leadership for a new generation of educational leaders, beginning with an inaugural community of school leaders and senior educators in January 2013.
Mary Anne is the author of journal papers and book chapters that focus on the intersections of curriculum leadership, learning and educational change, teacher education, gifted education and special needs education, especially those that critique contemporary notions of curriculum, student learning and educational change. She has been the Principal Investigator of several major grants. Her current funded research study, “Finding meaning and purpose: What are our youth telling us?” is one of the first studies in Singapore to tackle the question of purpose and meaning head-on to find out from adolescents what matter in school, and to open up discussions about what is good education and what it should look like in Singapore schools. She believes that what our youth tell us about purpose and meaning can become much more than a guidepost or inspiration; these indicators tell us about the well-being of our children and can become an organising principle for curriculum decisions, educational policy and governance. She was also Principal Investigator of a grant for the project, “Cross-cultural studies in gifted education” with Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Professor Emerita at The College of William and Mary, Virginia.
Mary Anne completed work in a selective leadership development programme for women faculty and administrators at the prestigious Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania in 2006. She received a research award from the Research and Evaluation Division of the National Association for Gifted Children, USA in 1998. Mary Anne was awarded the International Student Scholarship and Milestone Award from Teachers College, Columbia University where she obtained her doctorate in curriculum and teaching. She was also awarded the Nanyang Technological University Overseas Graduate Scholarship for her doctoral studies. Mary Anne holds a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Science (Upper Class Honours) in Physics from the National University of Singapore. Before joining NIE, she taught Physics at Raffles Institution and Nanyang Junior College, and earlier served as an Officer in the Defence Science Organisation, Singapore.