A NEW undergraduate course is now available at Taylor’s University’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (SLAS).
The Bachelor of Social Sciences programme offers prospective students the option to choose from two sets of degrees – international relations, and social innovation and change.
With this new offering, the private university has become the first in Asia to offer the degree in social innovation and change. It is also the first in Southeast Asia to introduce a social sciences curriculum that incorporates a work-based learning approach, the varsity said in a press release on Feb 26.
National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, who officiated the virtual launch, said she was heartened to see the university put together an industry-led programme.
“This will allow the young minds to build impactful solutions in addressing social issues not just within the nation, but also at the global level, ” she said.
She added that as future leaders, it is crucial for all young Malaysians to gain a deep understanding of how political institutions, public management and policy implementation work to impact real change in the nation.
Taylor’s University Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management executive dean Prof Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan said redefining leadership has always been a core emphasis of the university.
“With the Bachelor of Social Sciences, we aim to create the right ecosystem for students to become agents of change for the future by incorporating work-based learning and providing them with the opportunity to learn from an extensive network of experienced professionals, industry scholars and national leaders so that they are able to draw relevant solutions for pressing global challenges, ” he said.
The three-year bachelor’s degree programme merges two years of on-campus learning and one year of on-site work-based learning.
It aims to equip students with theories and practices relevant to their respective areas of studies such as social challenges, world economics, diverse political structures and cultural nuances.
It also aims to instil leadership skills that will enable students to draw solutions that will positively impact society.
Industry figure and unity advocate Anas Zubedy has been appointed adjunct professor and the director for the social innovation and change specialisation.
Prof Anas will be teaching a module titled “Politics and Public Issues in Malaysia” where students will shadow eminent Malaysian public leaders as part of experiential learning.
He will also lead workshops and guide students on how to carry out socially responsible activities.
“The students will get a head start being exposed to the dynamic interplay between people, process and structure, and they will be able to develop professional networks within the working world before graduation.
“They will put theory into practice and learn when to make decisions based on principles and when to be pragmatic based on the merits of the situation.
“They will have leaders as teachers and therefore have crucial conversations, opportunities to ask questions, and debates with practitioners through our lectures, contact talks and forums.
“The goal is not just to produce good graduates, but also good citizens, ” said Anas.
Also serving as adjunct professors for both degree programmes are industry leaders such as cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar (Zunar), US-Asean Business Council senior country representative Tina Jamaludin, and Refuge for the Refugees founder and executive director Heidy Quah Gaik Lie.
In addition, the industrial exposure, which will take place during the final year of the programme, will enable students to learn from local and international organisations such as World Volunteer, Women’s Aid Organisation, Zubedy, Yayasan Chow Kit and Me.Reka.
SLAS head Assoc Prof Dr Anindita Dasgupta said the key element of the new social sciences programme is to ensure that students get a well-rounded education.
She said the one-year industry exposure will enable students to have relevant learning experience of the fast-changing needs of the industry and allow them to work with some of the best names in the industry and understand the know-how of organisational operations.
Aspiring students will be able to lay a foundation that will enable them to work in fields relating to policy making, government and foreign affairs, sustainability development, risk management and business consultation upon completion of the programme, she added.