Thursday, 15 January 2009

UBD Set To Be First-Class College

By Sonia K

Bandar Seri Begawan - Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) will be setting up a new unit and establish a new institute to drive the change the university needs to become a first-class international college.

This was said by UBD Vice Chancellor Dr Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi during his address to the academic staff of the university on Monday during the opening of the new semester.

The unit, he said, will be responsible for the continuous professional development of all UBD staff.

The Senate has also approved the establishment of the Institute of Leadership, Innovation and Advancement, he said.

Dr Haji Zulkarnain also emphasised on the need to develop a culture that constantly strives for excellence, adding that the changes will ensure
that UBD stays relevant.

"We should not be afraid to be self-critical," he said. "We must be willing to audit ourselves as an organisation, faculty and individual, and to continuously scan for gaps, hazards or opportunities if we are to achieve our vision of becoming a first-class international university."

He vowed to commit to the development of newly appointed deans and directors, who began on January 1, through a continuous professional development programme.

"In return, I expect them to make the development of colleagues, students and their respective faculties as their key deliverable," he said, adding that he also expected them "to propagate a culture of leadership and continuously excel themselves as core values of individuals in the university".

The vice chancellor noted that the chancellery will commit to bringing positive changes to the UBD administration, adding that such an initiative will require knowledgeable and talented team.

To be a first-class international university, he said, UBD will need a first-class administrative system and executives.

"It needs to be rigorous and yet adoptable and facilitative," he said. "We will make sure that our administrative executives will also undergo continuous professional development through programmes."

Dr Haji Zulkarnain said UBD will this year be implementing a number of projects in its bid to upgrade its infrastructure.

"Funding has been made available through the National Development Plan and the projects are expected to be completed between now and 2012."

The upgrades will include the ICT network and the expansion of internet bandwidth; teaching and learning areas, as well as the construction of new teaching and learning sites; extension works on a number of existing buildings as well as the setting up of a central science research facility; refurbishment of the library; and the construction of a swimming pool.

He also said, "The UBD Strategic Plan has identified `strengthening of research profile' as one of the objectives to meet our vision.

"Institutionalising research for students and academicians, by integrating teaching and learning, creates a culture of inquisitiveness and resourcefulness," he added.

The vice chancellor called for collaborative and cross-disciplinary research to "enable us to develop a talent pool, which can be tapped by our stakeholders for the benefit of the community".

Last year, he said, everyone saw a strong commitwent from His Majesty's Government in supporting research in energy, biodiversity and agrotechnology.

"This is the first time - and hopefully not the last -that our researchers have access to bid competitively for substantial research funding," he said. "I understand that the selection process is in its final stages, and I look forward to UBD research teams being awarded a fair share of the funding."

Dr Haji Zulkarnain also proposed a substantial increase in UBD's budget allocation to support research in disciplines other than science and technology.

In the meantime, he said, alternative sources of funding are sought for research, adding that announcements will be made from time to time regarding the availability of such funding so that appropriate bid can be made. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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