PROF Datuk Seri Zaleha Kamaruddin became the first female rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in August 2011.
She has been interested in law since she was young and obtained her Bachelor of Law from Universiti Malaya in 1985.
She then completed a Master’s degree in Comparative Laws and Advanced Diploma in Syariah Law and Practice in IIUM. This was followed by a PhD in Comparative Laws at University College London.
Her career as an academic began after she was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1986.
She then returned to IIUM and worked her way up the ladder serving in various capacities over the last 30 years.
“Before I was appointed as rector, I was the Dean of the Ahmad Ibrahim Faculty of Laws and Dean of the Centre for Postgraduate Studies,” she said.
Prof Zaleha said women make up more than half of the academic workforce at IIUM with 1,029 or 53% being female as of February this year.
“IIUM is now a workplace of choice for thousands of academic, administrative and technical staff. Our staff hail from over 40 countries, with a turnover rate below 2.5%.
“We are not only a team, we are a family, calling ourselves the IIUMyFamily.” she added.
A typical day as a vice-chancellor involves discussions on the ground, and a good deal of strategising to achieve the vision and mission of the university, she said.
“Our main priority is our vision and mission which we base on one foundation - Islamisation.
“To achieve this we focus on key result areas such as teaching; learning, research; innovation, holistic student development, internationalisation, financial sustainability and talent management.
“The transformation of the university is our devotion to move forward in line with the national educational aspirations and the needs of the Muslim ummah,” she added.