Malaysia: 10 years of excellence

November 30th, 2010

Members of the Malaysian royal family joined with senior figures from The University of Nottingham to celebrate 10 pioneering years in global higher education.

The University of Nottingham made history in the year 2000, building on a strong and longstanding relationship with Malaysia to open The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) — the first British institution to open a fully operational overseas branch campus.

Ten years on, the University celebrated a decade of international excellence with a gala dinner in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, to recognise guests who have played a key part in the foundation and development of UNMC. Honoured guests included the Sultan of Perak, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah, a member of the Malaysian royal family; and members of the Malaysia Nottingham Graduates Association, who are celebrating an anniversary of their own in 2010.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, welcomed guests to the event at Kuala Lumpur’s Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Prof Greenaway said: “Your Royal Highness, we are deeply honoured by your presence at this event, to celebrate 20 years of the Nottingham Graduate Association and 10 years of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

“For us these are important anniversaries — symbolic landmarks in Nottingham’s long and close relationship with Malaysia. Your presence makes a memorable occasion even more special.

“Our relationship owes much to a group of students who came from Malaysia to Nottingham 60 years ago. They included yourself, Tuangku Ja’afar and the Chairman of our Board, Tengku Rithaudeen. You were pioneers who began educating us about this country’s rich cultural heritage and its talented and enterprising young people. You brought back to Malaysia an affi nity for our University which you shared widely and enthusiastically.

“Many, many more students have followed in your footsteps. Nottingham now has the largest community of Malaysian students in the United Kingdom, over 600 at present. They support a vibrant Nottingham Malaysian Society, which for the last 25 years has organised the annual Malaysian Student Games. These bring 6,000 Malaysians from all over the UK to compete at our University every November.”

UNMC’s 125-acre parkland campus near Kuala Lumpur takes its design cues from University Park, Nottingham — with a signature lakeside building that echoes the UK’s Trent Building. All UNMC students study in English, for University of Nottingham degrees that are taught and assessed in the same way as those at Nottingham UK.

Prof Greenaway added: “Our alumni community in Malaysia now numbers almost 4,000. They have also been pioneers in setting up the Nottingham Graduates Association, 20 years ago. This is an example which our alumni groups in other countries are following.

“Ten years ago our relationship deepened in a very profound way, when in September 2000 the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus admitted its first cohort of just over 70 students. To give ourselves the best possible chance of succeeding, we did not attempt to do everything at once, but have built gradually. We want a University which will endure; we are here to stay and contribute to the success of higher education in Malaysia.

“In September 2000 we could scarcely have imagined that 10 years on we would be a multi-faculty University, with 4,000 students, a beautifully landscaped campus in Semenyih, selfaccreditation status from the Malaysian Qualifications Authority and some 2,600 alumni. The progress which UNMC has made is remarkable, in large measure due to the dedication and commitment of our staff here in Malaysia, those who support it back in Nottingham and of course the quality of our students and alumni.

“Our ambitions grow from year to year, as we enrich our teaching and learning by adding new programmes, grow our research base with exciting new initiatives like Crops for the Future, promote our partnerships with Malaysian business and embed our community engagement. We have a bright future.

“Nottingham has been welcomed with open arms and embraced. It has been a warm embrace and one which has helped drive and sustain our ambitions for UNMC.”

The maturity of UNMC as an academic centre of excellence has recently been recognised with a double accolade from the Malaysian government. Summer 2010 saw UNMC rated ‘excellent’ in The Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education, known as Setara. This accolade followed the conferment of ‘Self-Accrediting Status’ on UNMC by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, in spring 2010. This highly significant move granted UNMC the power to approve and accredit its own degree programmes. Self-accreditation is a new initiative by the Malaysian government, and is only awarded to mature institutions with a well-established reputation for delivering the very best degree programmes.

UNMC now provides Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in: Applied Psychology, Biosciences, Business & Management, Computer Science & Information Technology, Economics, Education, Engineering, International Communications, Law, Modern Languages, Pharmacy, Politics, History and International Relations and Psychology.

The University’s campuses in Asia — it also has a campus in Ningbo, China — and its ambitious internationalisation strategy prompted The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 to describe Nottingham as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’.

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