KUALA TERENGGANU: UNIVERSITI Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) wants to be among the top 200 universities in the world by 2023, and its staff, academicians and students are united and committed towards realising the objective.
The race towards achieving this goal has started with the introduction of UMT’s T200Y2023 Marine 4.0 programme. The code refers to “Towards becoming among the 200th top ranking universities by the year 2023 with marine being the pillar of the programme”.
Leading the programme is UMT’s deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International) Prof Ir. Dr. Noor Azuan Abu Osman, assigned from Universiti Malaya to UMT by the Higher Education Ministry.
He was University Malaya’s Engineering Faculty head who had succeeded in turning the university to become the 114th top ranked university in the world.
Noor Azuan knows that making UMT among the top 200 universities in the world within five years is a mammoth challenge because he needs to “overhaul” some aspects in managing the academics in the university.
His 23 years’ experience will be put to the test with the first transformation step, undertaking a study on the university’s set-up which includes the management, its staff and students, and holding meetings with its 542 academicians, 262 non-academicians, students as well as 54 UMT’s students who are studying abroad.
He chose to focus on the Marine niche area because UMT is the only university in the country which emphasises on studies of the ocean and marine environment and to look into ways to commercialise the research in related fields.
“We started by identifying what is the main attraction that needs to be highlighted in the Marine 4.0 programme. We prepared a working paper which was presented at a post cabinet meeting on Feb 21 and it was endorsed by the members,” he said.
Noor Azuan said seven main factors were identified to support the programme and all the deans of schools were briefed on when the programme would be initiated, their roles and how the objectives need to be achieved within five years.
He said towards redesigning UMT’s education approach seven areas would be upgraded and reviewed, related to its Education 4.0, Research 4.0, Smart Campus 4.0, Smart Mind 4.0 programmes, Flexible Technologies, Infrastructure and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 4.0 and Digital Library.
He said Education 4.0 for example would focus on classroom activities namely empowering undergraduate research, alleviation of examiners, excellent graduate intensification, conducive e-learning space, professional affiliations, industry involvements in the Classroom and world class programmes.
“UMT students will spend three weeks with industry partners in the classroom with the objective of developing ties. Our aim is to work and collaborate together with 400 industries in four years time.
“To strengthen and brodaen the horizon of knowledge, all PhD students thesis will be assessed and evaluated by two professors from abroad,” he said.
As for lecturers, they would be tasked to increase the number of quality first class degree students.
“Students and teachers will be placed in modern classrooms where lecturers and students can discuss about experiments. They will be provided with a conducive working space, including e-learning space.
“For now, UMT has renovated four conventional classrooms into modern classrooms and the renovated facilities will be ready in the next few months. Ultimately all the classes will be changed and in fact, our Sultanah Nur Zahirah Library now provides four exclusive spaces equiped with hi-speed internet access and modern Smart TV for a conducive learning and discussion session, all thanks to our acting Head Librarian, Abu Hassan Ghazali ” he said.
Noor Azuan said to ensure that UMT is acknowledged by outsiders, lecturers need to have affiliations such as Chartered Engineer, Chartered Accountants, Chartered Marine Technologist and others, as such qualifications were vital elements for the university to move forward.
He added that for its World Class Programme, UMT hopes to become a reference centre similar to University of Cambridge, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University and other world renowned universities.
He said Research 4.0 would focus on robotics while the Digital Library concept would transform a quiet learning space into cybercafé where students could have a discussion the whole day and night following a set of conditions.
“Smart Campus 4.0 is where we plan to turn the campus into a green and sustainable area where students need only use a smart card to pay for their meals and to collect points for keeping the environment clean of plastic bottles or empty drink cans,” he added.
Noor Azuan said all lecturers would be encouraged to produce high impact reference journals to be recognised by outsiders.
“It is the great challenge for me as the ‘paradigm’ of government working culture, I hope, will slowly taper off and be converted to the adoption of new approaches befitting the needs of future workforce.
“I am optimistic that we will reach our goal even faster and it is up to the campus community to venture out of the norm. We are redesigning UMT and this will require a change in the mindset as well,” he added.
Pic 1 : Prof Noor Azuan meeting the academicians upon his appointment as the Deputy Vice Chancellor
Pic.2 : Students are fully utilising the e-Learning Space at Sultanah Nur Zahirah Library
Quote box: “By redesigning its goals, UMT empowers the talent of the academicians, staff and students,” – Prof. Ir. Dr. Noor Azuan Abu Osman
Slug for mugshot KT1004188M031