By Azman Zakaria
Photo by Marina Ismail
SERDANG -Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Ideris has called on UPM staff and students to work together to help create an image for UPM as the Garden of Knowledge and Thought, based on the notion of ‘ihsan’ for excellence of the university.
She said it was her dream to turn UPM into a ‘Garden of Knowledge and Thought’ that builds goodwill, not just an institution that produces graduates for the workforce alone but those with superior personal qualities who are able to compete globally.
"The emphasis on the concept of ‘ihsan’ as the pillar of excellence for UPM will become an on-going effort to ensure that UPM staff and students really understand the philosophy of ‘ihsan’ and appreciate their life and daily routines," she said in an event held in conjunction with her 100th Day in Office. Her address is themed ‘Ihsan Tonggak Kecemerlangan’. (Good Deeds are Pillar of Excellence).
The event was also attended by UPM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Prof. Dato 'Dr. Mohammad Shatar Sabran; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) Prof. Datuk Dr. Mad Nasir Shamsudin; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Prof Dato’ Dr. Mohd Azmi Mohd Lila and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Relations) Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ir. Renuganth Varatharajoo as well as staff and students.
Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini added that the 100-day period of holding the post of Vice-Chancellor had given her some space for thought and self-reflection, including enabling her to assess whether the university had, indeed, achieved its functions in line with all its achievements and planning that had been made all this while and whether the work value and quality had reached a high level of excellence.
"All these questions definitely require answers and realization as to how important these aspects are such as quality, perfection, work accuracy and excellence in our work culture to be given great emphasis,” she said.
In the tradition of Islamic scholarship, she also said that these aspects needed to be clarified, understood and expressed in one single term – ‘ihsan’.
“Generally, ‘ihsan’ means every charitable act or good job that is carried out perfectly with skills, efficiently and effectively with the goals of achieving perfection, high quality and excellence.”
“In the context of career and administration, these aspects are often expressed as professionalism or work efficiency of high quality,” she said.
These traits were opposite of doing a job half-heartedly as long as it is ready as this, she said, would result in imperfection and mediocrity.
In this regards, she said, it was only proper for university leadership, staff and students to really understand the concept of ‘ihsan’ as a self-guard that could guide them into discharging their duty with integrity, and prevent them from doing the opposite or against work ethics.
She also said integrity involved not only the issues of abuse of power or irregularities but also negligence in carrying out responsibility and wasteful use of resources.
Saying that integrity also encompassed good attitudes of appreciating and protecting the university’s interest and customers, she added that it also entailed upholding the university’s image and placing the university’s interest above oneself.
Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini also called on UPM community to make green practices as a way of life to preserve the university and its campus.
“We need to challenge our mindset and paradigm in planning for sustainability of our greenery and the environment, in line with the meaning of ‘ihsan’ which refers to our harmonious relationship with the environment and the people’s responsibility to govern nature at their level best,” she said. – UPM
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