A virtual welcome for Jan 2021 freshmen

Another warm welcome to the new batch of January 2021 freshmen, from UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat at the cyber mass call, co-organised by the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) and Software Development and Multimedia Services Centre on 12 January 2021, via Microsoft Teams. The cyber mass, catered specifically to the new students, served as a platform for them to meet with UTAR President, faculties’ Deans and Deputy Deans, as well as senior officials.

The cyber mass call, which was part of the e-orientation programme, was streamed from both Sungai Long and Kampar Campuses. It recorded over 200 online participants, including freshmen and their parents as well as the university’s staff and students. The e-orientation programme also facilitated the registration of new students into the university and provided them with a platform to adapt to their new environment, as well as to learn of the university’s rules and regulations. In addition to that, the e-orientation programme established a personalised interaction with the freshers by answering their queries, holding virtual meetings as well as question-and-answer sessions. Among the topics covered throughout the e-orientation programme were an overview of the online digital learning journey, an introduction to academic experience, campus life and support services, and briefing on National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans.

Clockwise from top left: Prof Ewe, Prof Yow, Prof Choong, and Prof Faidz welcoming the freshmen

Kick-starting the cyber mass call were welcome messages from Prof Ewe, UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang, UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, and UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman. Also present to welcome the freshmen were Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Deputy Dean Assoc Prof Dr Leong Pooi Pooi, 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 Assoc Prof Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, 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 Ir Prof Dr Goi Bok Min, Institute of Chinese Studies Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei, Faculty of Creative Industries Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng, Director of Centre for Foundation Studies of Sungai Long Campus Melissa Stefanie Netto and Director of Centre for Foundation Studies of Kampar Campus Ts Tan Lee Siew.

Deans, Deputy Deans and Directors giving their welcome messages

In his talk titled “Your Academic Journey in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era”, Prof Ewe introduced the freshers to the vision and mission of UTAR. He explained that UTAR, guided by its vision to be a global university of educational excellence, is highly reputed as one of the fastest-growing private higher education institutions in the country. Apart from introducing the vision and mission, 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 also talked further on technology revolution, the evolution of economy, and progressing towards a knowledge economy.

“Apart from excelling in your studies, you should also participate in extracurricular activities in order to lead a balanced academic life, and also to be an all-rounder. Take every opportunity you discover to build networks with your seniors, lecturers and students from various background. Remember, the secrets to obtaining a university degree are simple; hard work and determination; full concentration; and self-discipline,” said Prof Ewe.

Prof Ewe sharing the secret to successful education

He also emphasised on the importance of higher-order thinking skills, multiple intelligences and creativity among university students to further improve and equip themselves with the 21st-century skills. He said the key to staying competitive in this new era of innovation is the convergence of technologies like artificial intelligence, internet of things, robotics, big data analytics, brain connectome, quantum computing, 5G and etcetera. He also stressed that the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs knowledge workers with a growth mindset and empathy.

Prof Ewe highlighting the importance of higher-order thinking skills

“Knowledge economy is an economy in which the production of products and services is based mainly upon knowledge-intensive activities,” he said and added, “In a knowledge economy, a large portion of economic growth and employment is a result of knowledge-intensive activities and the knowledge-intensive activity involves the collection, analysis and synthesis of information. In order to attain success in a knowledge economy, it requires a commitment of both workers and firms to continually learn and increase their skills and expertise, which will foster innovation,” explained Prof Ewe. He also highlighted to the students on the key skills that should be displayed on resumes, which were transferable skills, job-related skills and adaptive skills.

Ending his talk with valuable pieces of advice, Prof Ewe encouraged students to practise effective time and stress management. “Start immediately, set up realistic goals, plan and make schedules, resist the temptation to react to interruption, track your own progress, and re-evaluate and revise where necessary and move on. When it comes to handling your stress, you need to firstly identify the source of your stress. Break the anxious cycle and try to look for things that will make you relax and laugh. As the saying goes ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Be confident and believe in yourself. Focus on what you can do and be disciplined about it. Effectively allocate your time and take breaks when necessary. You can also talk to your mentors or advisors for guidance,” advised Prof Ewe.

He added, “Stay healthy by sleeping well and sleeping enough, do physical exercises, and be involved in team work and community projects. Let yourself learn new things by meeting new friends and participating in various clubs and societies. Forget about your past failure, and don’t repeat the same mistake. Find the cause of the problem and be proactive to find a solution. Remember also to eat a balanced diet and keep a positive mindset.”

SRC Chairperson Ng (left) and Koh advising the freshmen

From a student’s perspective, Student Representative Council (SRC) Kampar Chairperson Ng Ke Long, advised the freshmen, “Step out of your comfort zone and make new friends. When you meet people from various backgrounds, you will learn to see things from different perspectives and it will change the way you think. Remember, parents are the ones you rely on, and friends are the ones you can count on, so your friends are also like your support system. Along the way, you will share joyful and sorrowful moments with them, but these are the precious memories that will be part of your life. We are also now in a competitive era, so make use of your time to participate in clubs and societies so you can develop important soft skills and stand out from the rest. Respect each other, be resilient and keep a positive mind. Every process is a learning opportunity, and every experience you gained is a stepping stone. When you apply the correct attitude and mindset, you will be successful in every aspect.”

Sharing his sentiment with Ng was SRC Sungai Long Chairperson Koh Ling Xian, who advised the freshmen, “Balance your time between your studies and curricular activities. Be responsible in your studies and step out of your comfort zone. Work hard and don’t leave any regrets. As you advance in your achievements, remember to give back to the society and contribute to their development.”


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