Sunday 20 April 2014


Sources:Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) at

PENANG, 14 April 2014 – Career success depends on graduates with an ability to understand and work effectively with others of different cultures and backgrounds, Professor Dr. David W. Chapman said in his talk Crossing Borders and Bridging Minds in Higher Education.

The public talk, the first in a series on higher education organised by the National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN), was delivered at the University Conference Hall by Chapman who is a Distinguished International Professor and Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Minnesota. He is also a Fullbright visiting professor to IPPTN.  

He said that universities have to create opportunities within their curriculum that connect their students and faculty members to their peers in other countries and other cultures.
Such opportunities are in the form of partnerships and collaborations that Malaysian universities have created with universities in other parts of the world.

“Many countries want to strengthen their higher education system as a means to national economic development,” he said.

On the other hand, international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, United States Agency for International Development, World Bank, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation need to disburse and seek strategies that can be used to strengthen the quality of instruction and research in universities.

Chapman pointed out that international university partnerships have grown in popularity with more than 1,000 cross-border university partnerships among universities with Asia alone.         

He added that it is often assumed that if weaker universities work with stronger universities, they will be able to raise the quality of their universities.

This subsequently led to surveys and modified focus group discussions with universities and government administrators across Asia to garner their views.

“It was found that they feared that the greatest benefits of university-to-university collaboration can also be the greatest risks because, while there are opportunities for quality improvement, there is also a risk of low quality instruction.

On the question of whether cross border partnerships can actually help universities, Chapman said that the prevalent view of those questioned is that the benefits outweigh the cost of collaboration but none of those questioned can agree on what models of collaboration work best.

It was found that research collaboration is mostly limited to top tier universities and that there is some scepticism about the motives of collaboration, mostly concerning about the profit orientation of partners and universities often sought partners of equal standing.

Earlier, the Organising Chairman Professor Dr. Wan Fauzy Wan Ismail highlighted that IPPTN aimed to promote knowledge dissemination, share issues, solutions involving higher education in local and international institutions of higher learning, and collaboration and specialisation in higher education policy.

Professor Dato’ Dr Susie See Ching Mey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry & Community Network) said on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Professor Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman that globalisation has opened up opportunities for countries to share their experiences and learn from one another.

She added that in keeping touch with globalisation and the borderless world, USM is committed to enhance and produce graduates who are not just intellectuals, knowledgeable in technical and professional skills but also meet the needs of the global society.
Also present at the talk were Professor Dr. Ahmad Nurulazam Md Zain, USM IPPTN director; and Professor Dato’ Dr Norzaini Azman, an associate research Fellow from the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. 

- Text: Yong Check Yoon/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

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