IN JUST a few years, Stamford College will have two purpose-built campuses – one in Bangi to cater for undergraduate programmes and the other in Petaling Jaya for postgraduate programmes.
''Our new campus in Bangi is expected to be ready by 2005 or 2006. The campus will be fully equipped with all facilities such as laboratories for engineering and computer science, and will also provide accommodation for our students.
''We have already purchased the land,'' shares Stamford College centre director Dr Leong Yin-Ching.
The campus in Petaling Jaya, on the other hand, will be known as a city campus. ''We believe that working adults who are studying our postgraduate programmes will not want to rush to Bangi after work and would prefer to come to our city campus. It will be located opposite Armada Hotel in Petaling Jaya and should be ready in 2007,'' she adds.
Dr Leong says the college's intention of building its campuses is part of its plans to apply for university college status.
In the area of student welfare, Stamford is introducing a Caring Programme in May. This will be counselling sessions where students are welcome to speak to a member of staff about anything, be it academic or personal.
''Sometimes students just need someone to talk to. As someone who is a friend, teacher, mother and now grandmother, I know we can relate to our students. We want to help our students to cope with issues in life,'' she adds.
She explains that staff will be assigned as counsellors and confidential records will be kept to track common problems and check on how students are coping.
''We want to focus on providing pastoral care to our students. Getting a degree is not just obtaining a piece of paper as we want them to be able to contribute to the community too.''
The college is also planning to track how its students who have graduated are doing in the workforce.
''We are working on questionnaires which will be given to our graduates as we want to know whether what they have learnt is applied at work. Our largest group of graduates is our business students so we will pass the questionnaires to them first before approaching the rest,'' she says.
Since February, the college has also started ''classroom observation'' of lecturers.
''We have a committee comprising six staff including myself who sit in during the entire lecture, be it the full-time classes or ones for the part-timers. So we are there even for classes between 6.30pm and 9.30pm.
''What we do is to attend these lectures in teams of two. One person will look at the pedagogical aspect while the other concentrates on content,'' she says.The team sits in for the full lecture and then each person will make an independent evaluation.
''We will then meet with the lecturer concerned who will read our reports and discuss how to tackle any weaknesses that may arise. The feedback we have received from our lecturers is very good so far. Even the officers from the National Accreditation Board (LAN) have been impressed,'' she says.
These classroom observations take up a lot of time but the college thinks it is time well spent.
''At least we can stand behind our lecturers because we know they are effective teachers. So far the committee has observed 65 lecturers, with another 62 more to go,'' she says. The committee observes both full-time and part-time lecturers to ensure quality teaching.
On Stamford's programmes, she says students can choose from a wide range including accounting, business administration, engineering, computer science, management and secretarial studies.
Stamford's senior manager of operations Dr Tan Hock Meng says students who are in the computer science degree can now opt to gain a professional qualification in networking as a Cisco certified networking associate or a certified Sun Java programmer at the same time.
''So our computer science students will get the opportunity to obtain these professional certifications that are internationally recognised. Certification is independent verification of skills and competencies that meet industry standards,'' he says.
Dr Tan says the college has also introduced a two-year diploma in information technology since January this year. This programme helps students to obtain a strong foundation in IT as well as specialist knowledge in some computing subjects.
Upon completion of the diploma, students can also transfer to the Bachelor of Information Technology at Griffith University in Australia.
Sharing her experience as a “newcomer” to Stamford, Dr Leong, who joined the college four months ago, feels like everyday has been “like a discovery channel for me as I learn and discover new things about the college.”
A trained teacher, she decided to go back to university for her first degree at the age of 30 in 1970.
''I am believer of lifelong education and I always share with my students that nothing is impossible as I was married when I decided to go back to university. Back then I was only one of two married students and the rest were 19-year-old students.
''I understand what it's like to be a part-time student; as an assistant lecturer at Universiti Malaya (UM), I studied for my Masters in Education part-time on weekends,'' says Dr Leong who later completed her PhD at the Institute of Education in London and was professor of education at UM.
''Although I am now in my 60s, there is great satisfaction when I see our students become better individuals,'' she says.
Stamford College has contributed six awards worth RM202,980 to the Star Education Fund this year.
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