By Azman Zakaria
Serdang, 23 Jan 2015 (UPM) - Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Dr. Mohd Fauzi Ramlan has outlined eight areas that would be emphasised in 2015, and also urged all parties in UPM not to feel too comfortable and satisfied with good performance achieved thus far.
Vice Chancellor, in his 2015 annual message, with the theme 'Agriculture, Innovation, Life', said emphasis was given in spurring academic excellence and international reputation; championing agriculture; research and development; and mainstreaming social innovation.
Among other emphasis were, creating global human capital and innovative entrepreneurship; forming innovative human resource and environmentally-friendly campus; sustainable financial management; and showcasing the university through dedication and solidarity among university community.
He said that a university's greatness did not lie in the infrastructure sophistication, instead its academic niches and scholarship.
He said, even though UPM has top-notch academic staff, its academic quality would continue to be strengthened in line with the university’s goals in producing knowledgeable and competitive graduates.
"Through the initiative carried out by Centre for Academic Development (CADe), the Academic Officer Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme was designed and developed to improve competence and professionalism among academics, involving five key areas which are, teaching and publishing, leadership development, talent and academic professionalism, and professional services.
"In 2015, UPM will offer three courses through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which include two university’s foundation courses and a course in a niche area that are going to take place in September 2015.
"I fervently hope that CADe can provide an action plan framework, technical support and manpower in implementing those three MOOC courses," he said at the ceremony attended by about 1,000 UPM staff.
He said championing agriculture was not only putting UPM on top of the rank, but it needed to be translated for the benefit of the civilisation.
"UPM sees food security as an agenda that actually requires a substantial contribution. In this advanced age and increasing demand for food, UPM must spearhead the food security initiative to ensure its sufficiency for every generation," he said. UPM would also allocate RM10 million to improve agriculture-related learning and research infrastructure.
He added, for this year’s research and development programmes, UPM would improve analytic ability for research portfolio and innovation through "Putra Brain" special initiative in focusing high value research areas.
"UPM will also strengthen its role as a leader in national food security area through the establishment of National Food Security Centre (PSMN), apart from being a bridge to national food industry development, it will also assist the country in formulating policies and determine the direction for food security sector in Malaysia," he affirmed .
Prof. Dato' Dr. Mohd Fauzi also said, UPM certainly wanted to accentuate social innovation in accordance with the university's motto 'With Knowledge, We Serve’.
In improving the implementation of social innovation or involvement programme, he said, University Community Transformation Centre (UCTC) must continue to strengthen its Community Transformation/Industry-University programmes’ governance and implementation.
To achieve that objective, he added, five percent of the projects each year would be aimed at achieving high-impact status.
He also said that UPM has always committed and determined to produce more graduates with global attributes, meet future employers requirements and enable graduates to penetrate job market.
This would be initiated by empowering students capacity and ability through four main strategies; improving international experience; adding value to entrepreneurial initiatives; strengthening volunteerism programmes; and developing and implementing ‘Baka Putra’ leadership module.
He also hoped Centre of Entrepreneurial Development and Graduate Marketability (CEM) would improve its existing entrepreneurial programmes by adding more entrepreneurial incubators.
Regarding human resources and innovative eco-friendly campus, he said, innovation enculturation did not only involve academic staff but also non-academic staff.
"In strengthening the university’s service delivery quality, implementing innovation in service has been included as one of the Registrar’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPI is measured by the number of successful innovations in the services provided by UPM staff," he said.
As a campus that valued natural gifts, he said, UPM has also implemented the Environmental Management System (EMS) MS ISO 14001 as a mechanism to better control the environment in a more systematic way.
He also said that UPM financial management has been recognised to be at its best, an achievement that should be maintained as it would pave the way for more development and assure stakeholders on the integrity of the university. - UPM.
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