Sunday November 18, 2012
A toast to greater heights
By LUWITA HANA RANDHAWA
With a second wave transformation programme in place, the president of Multimedia University seeks to make the leap that will see the varsity in the top 100 Asian varsity rankings.
MULTIMEDIA University (MMU) walked away with the Export Excellence Award (Services) Category II at the recent Industry Excellence Awards 2011.
Presented by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, it is a recognition of Malaysia’s first private university’s achievements and relevance.
Fresh off the win, MMU president Prof Datuk Dr Muhamad Rasat Muhamad is determined to bring the varsity to greater heights still.
“The varsity grew rapidly until 2006 or 2007, and that was its first wave of development.
“Now, I am looking at how to have a second wave, using and taking advantage of what we already have,” he says.
The first initiative of the transformation programme, or what Prof Muhamad Rasat has termed MMU 2.0, is to upgrade and expand academic programmes.
The varsity is expanding its postgraduate studies with its recent establishment of the Graduate School of Management and the Graduate Institute of Engineering.
Prof Muhamad Rasat explains that there were more than 1,000 postgraduate students enrolled in these fields of study last year and setting up a separate school for them will ensure that graduate study is more focused and specialised.
The varsity has also recently split the Faculty of Business and Law into two separate faculties.
The new Faculty of Law will offer both undergraduate and postgraduate studies effective January 2013.
The split comes at a time when many good students are enrolling for these courses, says Prof Muhamad Rasat.
“When there is demand, we must make sure that the programme we offer is of high quality.”
The varsity is also introducing Cinematic Arts as an extension of its Creative Multimedia programme, which currently offers studies in Media Arts, Animation and Visual Effects, Advertising Design, Interface Design and Virtual Reality.
The three-year undergraduate programme consisting of 28 specially-formulated papers “will train students to create films from script to screen.”
This exciting new development is a collaboration with the University of Southern California and will be launched from June 2014 at the varsity’s third campus at EduCity@Iskandar, Johor.
“Our aim is to upgrade and add to our current academic programmes. We want to produce graduates that are well-equipped and relevant for the industry after they graduate.”
This objective feeds into the second initiative of MMU 2.0: to work with industries and make programmes industry-relevant.
Prof Muhamad Rasat says he wants MMU to be an industry-preferred varsity for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
For example, engineering students specialising in telecommunications currently have the opportunity to work with multinational companies such as Juniper and Microsoft during their internships.
“Working with the industry is a very important component of the curriculum.
“It means that students are not only well-versed with the subject matter but also know how to apply their knowledge.
“So when they graduate, they can serve the industry well. They are ready for work and can work in this country or elsewhere.”
Prof Muhamad Rasat’s third initiative is to upgrade the varsity’s physical infrastructure.
He believes in providing a conducive learning environment for the students and this includes keeping up with the times.
For example, due to the fact that an overwhelming majority of resources for students are now based online, he recognises that broadband Internet services at the varsity must be upgraded every two to three years.
“Varsity life is also more interesting if students are involved in co-curricular activity. And in order to conduct a good co-curricular programme, you need the suitable physical infrastructure for it.”
He proceeds to share how the MMU football team is now in Division One of the institutions of higher education league because of an on-campus stadium and a good coach.
There are also plans to upgrade and expand accommodation options for students at the Cyberjaya campus, following similar developments at its Malacca campus.
Overall, the transformation programme will ensure that MMU continues to uphold its excellence.
“We must raise the quality of our programmes and people.”
Currently, MMU sits in the Top 200 in this year’s QS Asian University Rankings, with 91% of graduates securing employment within six months of graduation.
It is the only private Malaysian university in this position.
The aim is to be in the Top 100, says Prof Muhamad Rasat, and “in order to make this jump, we must transform.”
Multimedia University is a contributor to the Star Education Fund.