Five Minutes with AP Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang
Acting General Manager(Business Development & Support Services)
By Dr David Lim
Dr David Lim (DL): AP Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang, thank you for taking time out to respond to a few questions for this “Five Minutes With …” column. To start off, please could you tell us about your main areas of responsibility at OUM?
Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang [IA]: My pleasure, Dr David.
On work duties, I am currently in charge of Business
Development and Support Services. This portfolio covers
five areas: business development; property development and
maintenance; security; information technology; and quality
Business development is relatively straightforward. Here I am responsible for expanding business opportunities for the University, be it locally or abroad. For this scope, besides strengthening ties with OUM’s current partner institutions – in Vietnam and Maldives, for instance – I am also exploring new partnerships with potential international partners. The ultimate aim is to expand the offering of OUM programmes to a global community of learners.
As for Support Services, I oversee the development, maintenance, and security of the University’s properties located across the country, as well as security for the staff. The mandate is to make sure that all OUM buildings are properly maintained and optimised to provide conducive facilities for the learners.
On the IT side of things, my role is to ensure that OUM delivers the best IT support and online systems for its staff and learners, and to provide continuous online system improvements for all departments. As well, via OUM’s Institute of Quality Management, I oversee periodic quality audits across all units within the University.
Lastly, as a member of the Group Management Committee [GMC], I partake in the decision-making process and the setting of policies for the University
DL: These are indeed hefty portfolios, with academic work on top?
IA: Yes, as an academic at OUM, I also fulfil academic responsibilities every semester. These include assignment grading, examining of final exam scripts, reviewing master projects, and serving as a panel member for viva voce.
DL: What’s the latest on the internationalisation front?
IA: We are grateful and humbled that, wherever OUM has
ventured to around the globe, we have been warmly received
and have had enviable success in attracting international
learners to follow our programmes.
With the increasing number of OUM programmes being offered in fully online mode, we anticipate that international demand, too, will increase in tandem. Numerous overseas institutions of higher learning have sought to establish partnerships with us. Many are particularly keen on our postgraduate programmes.
But we have to bide our time while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Intercountry travel restrictions are hindering us from physically visiting potential partner institutions. Although all necessary groundwork may have been completed, we still need to inspect the facilities abroad in person – this being part of the requirements of the Malaysian authorities. We are confident, nonetheless, that, within the next year or so, we will have established new partnerships with overseas institutions. More will be shared at an opportune time. Meanwhile, we are appointing marketing agents abroad to promote OUM’s fully online programmes to prospective learners in the respective countries.
DL: What is your take on online higher education in general as well as in the particular context of Malaysia?
With the increasing number of OUM programmes being offered in fully online mode, we anticipate that international demand, too, will increase in tandem.
IA: Even before the advent of the current pandemic, numerous
conventional institutions of higher learning around the world
have, in varying degrees, ventured into online teaching and
learning. Even then, there was, despite some reservations,
general recognition that online higher education was attractive
to working adults who wished to study part-time.
Fast forward to the current pandemic times and we find that online higher education has become an absolute necessity, irrespective of whether the providers are conventional or open by design.
DL: On that note, Dr Izanee, thank you again for your time, and insight.
Five Minutes with AP Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang, Acting General Manager(Business Development & Support Services)