UTAR holds cyber mass call to welcome newcomers

UTAR holds cyber mass call to welcome newcomers

UTAR warmly welcomed new students of October 2021 with open arms by holding a virtual orientation programme to facilitate the new students’ transition into university life. During the orientation programme, the new students were briefed on university policies, rules, procedures, personal safety, financial assistance as well as the university’s facilities, curricula, clubs and societies, and events.

As part of the virtual orientation programme, a cyber mass call for new students from both Sungai Long and Kampar Campuses was held on 13 October 2021, where the event was specially designed for the new students to meet the University President, the senior officials as well as the deans and deputy deans.

Prof Ewe encouraging the new students in his welcome speech

UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat delivered a talk titled “Your Academic Journey in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era” at the mass call. In his remarks, he first gave a brief introduction of both Sungai Long and Kampar Campuses and shared the background and educational goals of the University. According to him, UTAR now has more than 21,000 active students who are pursuing their studies in over 120 academic programmes from Foundation studies, bachelors and masters to PhD degrees. “So far, we have produced 72,386 graduates and they are all working not just in Malaysia but other economies in the world. Hopefully, once you graduate, you can join the UTAR Alumni Association and also the UTAR community,” said Prof Ewe.

He further focused his speech on the aspects of technology revolution and gave an idea about how the Fourth Industrial Revolution came about. He emphasised the need for knowledge workers with a growth mindset and empathy. “Every day, there will be new technologies, new business processes and new innovations coming out. So whatever we learn in the university may not be enough for you 10 years from now or 20 years from now. But you can take the opportunity given by the University, and be willing to learn beyond what the curriculum teaches you. Developing such an attitude and passion—wanting to learn more is what we say a ‘growth mindset’. With a growth mindset, you will be able to continually improve yourself and prepare yourself for challenges, even with the challenges of artificial intelligence, robots and others. The other thing is empathy. When we move to the cyber world, how we touch people’s hearts or communicate well is always a challenge. For example, with empathy, we will be able to provide customer service which will touch the hearts of consumers or be able to come up with a solution which is acceptable by everybody,” he said.

Prof Ewe describing education as organic farming where it is a dynamic process

He also talked about the next wave of technologies, explaining how the growing utilisation of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, brain connectome, robotics, big data analytics, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, and advanced wireless technologies, among others—has ushered in a new era of technology disruption. As the development of technologies generates the knowledge economy, he mentioned that AI automation disrupts certain jobs in the future, “If your job is only focusing on the collection of data, it will be replaced in the future. But if your job is focusing on how to use your intelligence to solve problems or how to apply your knowledge, then this will not be easily replaced by AI.” He also talked about the challenges of the 21st Century and said, “It is important for us to acquire essential skills so that we can continue to improve ourselves.”

Prof Ewe introducing the OECD Learning Compass 2030 which could help students develop competencies and navigate towards future well-being

He also highlighted the importance of higher-order thinking skills and multiple intelligences, and advised students to equip themselves with these 21st-century skills. He further shared the top 10 skills of 2025 and particularly emphasised another two skills needed for the future—adaptability and keep learning as well as mental balance and emotional intelligence. He also shared key skills that all CVs need, which included transferable skills, job-related skills and adaptive skills. He encouraged students to join the University programmes and projects as well as club and society activities to develop knowledge and skills.

Prof Ewe sharing that the University supports SDG in pursuit of sustainability and responsibility for the future generations

Prof Ewe sharing some techniques about learning

In his welcome speech, Student Representative Council (SRC) of Kampar Campus 2021/2022 Chairperson Khor Jia Cheng said, “When you encounter failure, be resilient to it. When you have a chance, don't miss it. The University creates an environment for you to gain knowledge, however, do not only focus on your academic journey. Step out of your comfort zone, try something new, you will know yourself more and know where your limit is. Don’t let the University be a place only to study, but a place for you to meet more people and create wonderful memories in your life.”

On the other hand, Student Representative Council (SRC) of Sungai Long Campus 2021/2022 Chairperson Hoong De Shan said the first-ever lesson that the new students may need to learn at the University was adaptability— to changes brought by the pandemic and the era of rapid change. “I hope that all of you can keep the enthusiasm and never lose your imagination, although this pandemic made us unable to feel the atmosphere of being at the university physically,” he said. He added that physical distance constraints will not stop students from pursuing knowledge and skills, “As long as we are willing to do so, we can definitely make it as we have education learning resources, and experienced lecturers who are dedicated to providing us with the best learning outcome.”

Khor (left) and Hoong delivering their speech

Also present at the cyber mass call were UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang, Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman, Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, Faculty of Accountancy and Management Dean Dr Sia Bee Chuan, Faculty of Arts and Social Science Deputy Dean for Student Development and Industrial Training Kok Hui Meian, Faculty of Business and Finance Dean Assoc Prof Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, Faculty of Creative Industries Dean Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng, Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology Deputy Dean for Student Development and Industrial Training Dr Tan Kok Tat, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology Dean Assoc Prof Ts Dr Liew Soung Yue, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Deputy Dean for Student Development and Industrial Training Assoc Prof Dr Leong Pooi Pooi, 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, Centre for Foundation Studies of Kampar Campus Director Ts Tan Lee Siew, and Centre for Foundation Studies of Sungai Long Campus Director Melissa Stefanie Netto. 

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