President welcomes freshers of October 2020 via Microsoft Teams

Held as part of the e-orientation programme for October 2020 intake, UTAR Department of Student Affairs (DSA) and UTAR Software Development & Multimedia Services Centre successfully organised a cyber mass call at both Sungai Long and Kampar Campuses on 20 October 2020. The virtual mass call was conducted via Microsoft Teams for new students to meet the University President, the senior officials as well as the deans and deputy deans.

The cyber mass call, which was streamed from the University for both campuses, recorded more than 890 online participants, including freshmen and their parents as well as the university staff and students. The mass call was graced by UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat.

In his welcome speech, Prof Ewe welcomed the new students and motivated them to be hardworking, determined and disciplined. He also urged them to be focused on obtaining the degree. Emphasising on the importance of self-discipline and determination in taking the online course of UTAR programmes, he said, “During the pandemic, if you can practise self-discipline and learn well using the online platform, you are also preparing yourself for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) as many jobs in the future would require one to work from home.”

Prof Ewe giving the welcome speech

In conjunction with the cyber mass call, Prof Ewe delivered a talk titled “Your Academic Journey in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era”. He kick-started the virtual talk by introducing both Sungai Long and Kampar Campuses, as well as the achievements of UTAR over the years. According to Prof Ewe, UTAR now has more than 22,000 active students who are pursuing their studies in over 110 academic programmes from Foundation Studies, bachelors and masters to PhD degrees. “We have more than 67,000 alumni since the inaugural convocation in 2005,” explained Prof Ewe.

Prof Ewe introducing UTAR to the freshers and their parents

The talk aimed to create awareness among students on the latest trends of 4IR as well as prepping new students with skills, attitudes and abilities that are required to cope with the challenges ahead. Prof Ewe elucidated that the next wave of Technological Revolution involves brain connectome, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data analytics, robotics, internet of things (IoT), 5G and quantum computing.

In his talk, Prof Ewe reminded the new students that new things are coming at a much faster pace. He urged new students to co-operate with lecturers in order to gain the latest knowledge and skills which will be useful in facing the rapid change of the world. “According to Andreas Schleicher, the schools today have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created; technologies that have not yet been invented as well as problems that are yet to arise. Apart from gaining knowledge in the lecture class, I encourage you to take part in some events, activities, societies and soft skill programmes to gear up yourself with more skills,” said Prof Ewe.

He further said, “Higher-order thinking skills, multiple intelligences and creativity are the 21st-century skills that you must learn in order to survive. There are also three categories of skills that all CVs need, namely the transferable skills, job-related skills and adaptive skills.” Prof Ewe then further explained the differences between the three categories of key skills.

Prof Ewe explaining the new wave of technologies as well as the three key skills that are important in facing the 4IR

In addition to that, Prof Ewe also urged the new students to embrace the six UTAR philosophical values of Virtue and Morality, Knowledge and Intellect, Physical and Mental Health, Sociality and Humanitarianism, Aesthetics and Harmony, and Creativity and Innovation. He stressed that the 4IR needs knowledge workers with a growth mindset and empathy.

Student Representative Council (SRC) of Kampar Campus 2020/2021 Chairperson Ng Ke Long welcomed the new students and encouraged them to participate in extracurricular activities organised by the student clubs and societies in order to lead a balanced academic life. “People always say ‘It is your parents you can rely at home, it is friends you can count while you’re outside’. Friends are important during your university life as you can gain experience and knowledge by interacting with them. Hence, I encourage you to join extracurricular activities to meet new friends,” Ng said and added, “In addition to that, employers in this new era are looking for graduates with good attitudes and good academic background. When you join extracurricular activities such as soft skill programmes as well as club and society’s events, you will be equipped with virtue such as tolerance, responsibility and skills. Always seek for positive outcomes and thoughts. I believe you can absorb more than merely studying from the books if you are practical.”

Ng encouraging students to participate in extracurricular activities

On the other hand, SRC Sungai Long Campus 2020/2021 Vice Chairperson Yong Jian Ann was seen welcoming new students on behalf of the SRC Sungai Long Campus Chairperson. Yong encouraged students to explore more on what was happening in the outside world. “What is a university to all of you? Some say university is a small society because you will meet different types of people that came from different family backgrounds. As a start, you might find university life a little challenging. However, please be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and learn to balance your time between studies and outdoor activities,” said Yong. He continued, “What is taken from society, returns back to society. I agree with the saying that ‘university is the eyes of the time’. As a university student, I hope you will take more concern on social issues.”

Yong encouraging students to concern more on social issues

Also present at the cyber mass call were UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang, UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman, UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Deputy Dean Prof Dr Alan Ong Han Kiat, Faculty of Accountancy and Management Dean Dr Sia Bee Chuan, Faculty of Arts and Social Science Dean Dr Lee Lai Meng, Faculty of Business and Finance Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, Faculty of Creative Industries Dean Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng, Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology Dean Assoc Prof Ts Dr Yap Vooi Voon, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology Dean Assoc Prof Ts Dr Liew Soung Yue, Faculty of Science Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lim Tuck Meng, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science Dean Ir Prof Dr Goi Bok Min, Institute of Chinese Studies Dean Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei, Center for Foundation Studies Kampar Campus Director Ts Tan Lee Siew, Center for Foundation Studies Sungai Long Campus Director Melissa Stefanie Netto.

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