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UUM needs to renew its efforts to be the ‘Harvard of The East’

Nordiana Shafiee

Nordiana Shafiee

UUM News Editor, Journalist

Pic by UUM Photo Unit

SINTOK: Since its founding in 1984, the first Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), the late Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr. Awang Had Salleh has aimed for UUM to become a preeminent university, specifically the ‘Harvard of the East’ university. This aspiration must be accomplished, no matter how long it takes.

Speaking at the Universiti Utara Malaysia Jaya Award Ceremony (MAJU) 2022, Prof. Dr Haim Hilman Abdullah, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Utara Malaysia, emphasised that the mission of bringing excellence to the university is not based on the question of who will be the next legacy. Each level of university administration responsible for bringing glory to UUM must constantly renew its efforts with novel approaches and strategies.

According to Prof. Dr Haim Hilman, this year marks the 39th anniversary of the university, which was founded with hope for the children of the nation. We are inspired by previous great founders’ pure ideas, such as Tan Sri Emeritus Prof. Dr. Awang Had Salleh. They pioneered this university with the dream of UUM becoming the ‘Harvard of the East’.

“It is not something to be taken lightly; rather, the idea gives great meaning as a guide for us to work towards it. As a result, whoever leads this university must increase their efforts and go above and beyond. It is not impossible to achieve.

“It only requires tremendous confidence and determination. The evidence is there. The rise in the rankings in several rating categories to the point where we are now the second-best university in Malaysia is evidence that we (UUM) can do it,” he said.

Strategic Programme, the momentum of UUM’s success

In the same speech, Prof. Dr. Haim Hilman stated that to remain the best, strategic planning is essential. With limited resources, universities should be prudent in cultivating the available resources. In fact, it is necessary to generate as much income as possible so that reliance on government funds is no longer a permanent practise. As a result, various strategic programmes are in place to propel UUM forward.

“To be the ‘Harvard of the East,’ the facilities we provide to students must be first-rate and tailored to their needs. However, a large sum of money is not required. Costs can be kept down if maintenance is properly performed.

“We need to rely on our own abilities. Gradually increasing the university’s revenue stream will allow us to become financially self-sufficient, reducing our reliance on state and federal funding sources. However, to reach this pinnacle, some joint sacrifice and hard work are required.

“Universities must save money. Avoid wasting money and invest in university programmes that have a real impact. To avoid waste, academic programmes must consider needs and be managed strategically. Academic staff’s capacity for teaching, research, consultation, and publication is strengthened. Administrators must bolster certain facets of university management so that efforts to elevate the university get a prominent touch,” he reiterated.

Combining academic study with spiritual practise

In the same programme, Prof. Dr. Haim Hilman, accompanied by the Director of the Islamic Centre, Ustaz Zar Ei Zakaria, launched the Islamic and Community Leadership Certificate Programme (SKIL), which will serve as a platform to empower students’ religious knowledge.

According to him, as an educator and university administrator, he believes that students should be instilled with religious knowledge. As a result, efforts must be mobilised in order for it to become a fortress for the spiritual strength of students.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Islamic Centre for its proactive stance toward integrating religious education and not keeping it apart.

“We are all responsible for them (the students). It is our responsibility to mould the personalities of these young people because we never know when they might become a part of our lives in the future,” he said.

Recognition of efforts to advance UUM

A total of 53 categories of Strategic Plan Excellence Awards for 2022 were presented in conjunction with UUM’s Jaya Awards Ceremony (MAJU) which took place at Mu’adzam Shah Hall. The various award categories involved 41 recipients, comprising academics and administrators from various schools and departments. Meanwhile, in recognition of the achievement of quality excellence (QE) and self-accreditation 2022, 14 recipients were presented with five award categories.

Meanwhile, UUM managed to retain its AACSB accreditation for another five years. As a result of that success, a total of nine recipients representing various study centres and departments were honoured for their dedication until UUM received AACSB re-certification.

At the end of his speech, Prof. Dr. Haim also announced the three best schools, namely the School of Computing (SOC), the School of Business Management (SBM), and the School of Technology Management and Logistics (STML). The three schools received RM20,000, RM15,000, and RM10,000, respectively.

According to him, the award was the result of UUM’s successful strategic cost-cutting measures put into effect at the start of the year 2022. – Roslee Mardan/UUM Today