Inauguration marks new era for Malaysian higher education
Official ceremony formally launches UOW Malaysia KDU
A formal inauguration ceremony in Shah Alam, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur today (Monday 18 November 2019) has ushered in a new era for Malaysian higher education by officially welcoming the KDU University Colleges into the University of Wollongong (UOW) global network, launching the new UOW Malaysia KDU brand, celebrating UOW’s establishment as a direct provider in Malaysia’s vibrant education sector and opening up new international education and research opportunities for Malaysian students and academics.
Held at the Glenmarie Campus, the inauguration was an important milestone in the transition of the private university colleges of KDU from Paramount Corporation Berhad (PCB) by UOW subsidiary UOW Global Enterprises under a deal which was approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and first announced in November 2018 and completed in September this year.
Australia’s Minister for Education, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP and Malaysia’s Director General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia, YBhg Dautk Ir. Dr Siti Hamisah, were present as guests of honour to oversee the ceremony.
University leaders attending the event also included UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent AC, Chairman of UOW Malaysia, Mr Noel Cornish AM, UOW Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joe Chicharo, UOW Global Enterprises Managing Director and Group CEO, Marisa Mastroianni, UOW Global Enterprises CEO Asia, Jennifer Ng, and the Vice-Chancellors of UOW Malaysia KDU’s University College, Professor Dr. Hiew Pang Leung and Penang University College, Dr. Professor Chong Beng Keok.
As well as marking the occasion by unveiling of a commemorative plaque, the ceremony showcased KDU’s reputation for hospitality education - revealing the new UOW Malaysia KDU brand in an ice sculpture.
A sample of Australian fauna was also introduced to the urban Glenmarie campus in the form of a set of statues depicting five wallabies, presented as a gift from UOW Australia.
The indigenous Australian marsupial likenesses will be installed on the campus grounds to complement similar statues on display at the UOW’s bushland garden campus in Wollongong, Australia, which houses UOW’s global headquarters.
Professor Wellings said the inauguration was an auspicious milestone for the University that will benefit KDU staff and students as well as Malaysia more broadly.
“The University of Wollongong has a successful 10-year track record providing world-class tertiary education to Malaysian students both onshore and offshore. We are very proud to already have over 5,000 Malaysian Alumni.
“The University of Wollongong is committed to enabling current KDU students to achieve timely, uninterrupted completion of their studies and aims to be an employer of choice for staff in Malaysia by offering development and career growth opportunities.
“We intend to leverage our global profile to introduce new undergraduate and post graduate programs to the UOW Malaysia KDU campuses in the years ahead, as well as creating international education and research opportunities.
“The transition we celebrate today will not only enhance UOW’s global network, but also contribute to realising the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s vision of creating a higher education system that enables Malaysia to compete more effectively in the global economy,” Professor Wellings said.
The KDU campuses comprising UOW Malaysia KDU College, UOW Malaysia KDU University College and UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College, now form part of UOW Global Enterprises alongside University of Wollongong in Dubai, established in 1993 and UOW College Hong Kong, which began with the acquisition of the Community College of Hong Kong’s City University in 2015 and was rebranded in November 2017. UOW has 18,000 students studying at these campuses.
Global Challenges Knowledge Exchange Network launched
Following the official inauguration ceremony UOW Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joe Chicharo, launched the Global Challenges Knowledge Exchange Network (Asia) program.
Part of UOW’s highly successful Global Challenges interdisciplinary research program, the new network aims to increase research collaboration between Australia and Malaysia by bringing academics together from different regions and disciplines to exchange knowledge and expertise, build relationships, share ideas and pursue joint research projects.
The initiative will see eight knowledge exchange scholarships awarded annually to UOW Malaysia KDU academics and UOW Australia academics. The call for 2020 applications will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Over the coming decades society will face many challenges and transformations in the way we live. The University of Wollongong Global Challenges Program recognises the interconnected nature of these transformations and encourages creative, community engaged research that will help drive social, economic and cultural change, locally and globally.
“Our researchers want to make a positive difference in the world, which is why I am very proud today to launch the Global Challenges Knowledge Exchange Network (Asia),” Professor Chicharo said.
Global Challenges was established in 2013 to harness the diverse expertise of world-class researchers from the University of Wollongong to address real-world problems by seeing the big picture, exchanging ideas and working together,
Global Challenges research teams address problems that extend beyond the scope of a single discipline, in collaboration with industry, government and the wider community.
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About the Australian Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP