Everyone is reflecting...Me? Well, 2015 has been an interesting year. Interesting indeed!
I always enjoy being in the circle of academics and work together with them. They are all great people...some with their ego 😊. The academic world is always very exciting. Every day is different. There's no dull moment. No routine. We don't make much money like those people in the business world (but good if the government would revise our salary scheme hi hi). We pride ourselves to take on the responsibility to nurture the future nation builders. We are shaping the young mind that would become the potential leaders of the future.
A lot of people looking at Malaysian Higher Education and simply judging the quality of our university by the so-called world ranking. It's not that simple.
As for next year, well, the economy doesn't look very promising. Now academics have more things to think about, apart from teaching (I want to repeat, teaching, teaching, teaching), research, supervising undergraduates and postgraduates (and postdoc), publications, consultation, community....and now, generate income for the university! Plus administration, for those in the admin post.
For me, despite all the possible challenges and constraints, the year 2016 seems to be even more exciting. I hope to do more for USM in terms of academic development programmes. I hope to do more in my teaching. After 23 years teaching, I'm still learning to improve my teaching practice. There's so much more to learn. It's always a humbling experience when you see what other educators are doing in their teaching, thinking that you have done a lot but actually it's just the tip of the iceberg.
Teaching is always my number one priority...or is it? Hmmm...My students wrote in their feedback, "we would love to spend more face-to-face time with you". Oh yes, me too, my dearest students. I'll see how I can have more time...
Graduate students supervision is something that I need to improve. Being busy with admin and other things, sometimes I find it hard to switch on my 'research thinking' mode. Indeed, in this job you have to be able to switch roles effortlessly. But it's not easy. You have only so much energy, so much time. To my graduate students, I owe you apologies for my shortcoming.
I realize that I now becoming more of an educational administrator than a true food technologist. This is something I need to find a balance. I'm now involved more and more with the Ministry of Higher Education especially in the Malaysia Blueprint for Higher Education (2015-2025), and also with AKEPT. It's exciting to be involved at this level because I can see the big picture and can help USM to position itself in the bigger context.
Next year is exciting because I will team up with passionate educators from other places to embark or undertake a few 'mega' projects. They are young academics who are very passionate and energetic. We share the same passion, the same vision -- that is, to deliver excellence in higher education. We don't want to just talk, but we want to walk the talk. We want to showcase what is possible beyond the classroom. We want to demonstrate what we can achieve by stepping out from our comfort zone.
Research? Well, I like to think that I'm DOING research, not particularly world class research, though. That's my honest assessment. Apart from a string of research papers in Tier 1, the impact maybe minuscule. I may have contributed in a small way for the local sagu (sago) industry, but it's nothing significant to shout about. Yes, I received the Malaysia's Rising Star Award from the Ministry of Higher Education for my publications. In terms of the corpus of knowledge in my subject area, I may have contributed something to the body of knowledge.
Looking for new research ideas requires one to spend a lot of time reading and studying the literature. I used to spend much of my day reading the literature. Did I just say 'used to'?. Hmmm...I must confess now actually I read more about education and higher education. This is another area I need to strike a balance
I want to write more, technical and non-technical. I love to write. Should I say I will try to write more? Hmmm... Master Yoda says, "Do, or do not, there is no try'. Ok master Yoda, I will do. Promise!
Something for sure, I will give my inaugural professorial talk on the 5th of February 2016. "Give your talk, you must", Yoda whispered to me 😁 Yes, I must because it's been long overdue. I got my professorship in 2007! My son just told me, abah, you must read this book, "7 Habits of Effective People". I laughed. I said, I have those 7 habits, plus 3, that make it 10. But I have ONE bad habit that almost nullify the 10 good habits —PROCRASTINATION!! Aarrghhh...."Kill this bad habit, YOU MUST!!" Yes, oblige Master Yoda.