It is very often said that the core functions of a university is to create new knowledge through research and to disseminate knowledge by imparting it through student learning, presentation at conferences, meetings as well as publications in scientific journals. The university is well organized to serve the stakeholders involved in these activities, mainly the students, academic faculty and administrators. Another function which is giving service to the community is often cited but appears to be less well organized at the university level. However, from the perspective of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), University Social Responsibility (USR) for community and outreach program is one of the critical agenda that needs to be done effectively.
Community Engagement or Social Responsibility is a concept whereby a university takes all necessary steps to improve the quality of life for all its employees and their families, its students, its faculty, and the local and international community as well as society at large. Community engagement and participation is the mechanism through which UTM achieves the goals that have been articulated in relation to specific communities in terms of UTM’s trinity basic functions, that is research, teaching and service, whether at the UTM strategic level or in project-specific contexts.
Our vision is that “ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE”, in which all individuals are recognized both as productive, educated citizens and as potential agents of change. Since the our community engagement programmes involve research, technology transfer, educational or student activities, they may involve separate parts of UTM’s organization. Realizing that the community development aspects may not be well organized or followed up for impact and effectiveness, UTM has taken the step of establishing one unit called Community Engagement unit under the Office of Corporate Affairs. The unit is responsible for planning and implementing multidisciplinary, university-level community initiatives and acts as a one-stop centre for community outreach nationally and internationally.
While much lip service is paid to the universities’ role in community development, there is still room for improvement in terms of actual behavior. “The university gains” according to community engagement concept is “by enhancing the quality, relevance and effectiveness of the educational and research programmes through links to the ‘real’ society/world.
It is hoped that the community will get benefits through direct engagement of UTM’s expertise, resources and research outputs in participatory, bottom-up, top-bottom, people-centred development.”.
For further enquiries, please contact The Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs (Community Engagement & Corporate Planning), UTM or send an email to: Dr. Nurnaha bt. Abu Mansor firstname.lastname@example.org