THE latest QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 saw Taylor’s University ranked 16th in the world for the Hospitality and Leisure Management subject, defending its position as the highest-ranked Malaysian university in the world for the fifth time in a row.
This places the institution alongside institutions renowned in the hospitality sector such as the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and the Swiss Hotel Management School, both in Switzerland and the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the United States.
The university also broke into the Top 100 in the world to rank No. 97 for Business and Management Studies, making it the top private business school in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
This latest ranking comes on the back of Taylor’s University’s sterling performance in QS Asia University Rankings 2022 where it ranked 53 in Asia.
Positive trends in the recent QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022 and the QS World University Rankings 2022 also saw the university maintain its position as the top private university in Malaysia and South-East Asia, placing it at the top 1.1% among the most influential institutions globally.
“Our constantly evolving pedagogical approaches and curriculum is evidence that the university is forward-looking,” said Taylor’s University vice chancellor and president, Prof Michael Driscoll.
“We strive to anticipate the needs of graduates in meeting the demand for highly skilled human capital. The rankings is an assurance that our faculties are creating an impact, both in academia and the industry, through our purpose-driven learning and research.”
As part of its Taylor’sphere ecosystem, one way the university emphasises meaningful and innovative learning is through its multidisciplinary learning experience (MLE), being one of the pioneer institutions in the region to implement compulsory multidisciplinary projects across all its bachelor’s degrees.
This is an extension of the institution’s efforts in this field on top of the Taylor’s Curriculum Framework, which allows students to mix and match their subjects, as well as to roll out interdisciplinary programmes that merge components of two or more disciplines into a single programme of instruction.
But why all the effort?
“We are in an era where many traditional jobs will become obsolete and new jobs will emerge to tackle problems that are increasingly complex, and often have more than one right answer,” says Taylor’s University deputy vice chancellor and chief academic officer, Prof Dr Pradeep Nair.
“Such jobs require interdisciplinary education that develops skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, evaluation, synthesis, and integration.”
MLE mimics the working world, adds Prof Dr Pradeep, where one has to work with colleagues of other departments frequently.
Since the pilot projects that began in 2020 despite a pandemic, students have been working on real-world projects across faculties – ranging from designing a virtual science gallery for Petrosains and suggesting fundraising ideas for a non-profit organisation, to creating an app to reward recycling efforts and inventing burger patties out of fly larvae.
“One of the guiding principles of why we have rolled out the MLE is to equip students to live out their mission and purpose, by working on projects that have real world impact,” says Prof Dr Pradeep.
“Our industry partners have praised the results and 88% of Taylor’s students who have experienced multidisciplinary learning say they will recommend it to others.”
School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events student Gordon Loi certainly thinks he has gained greatly from the project he was involved in.
His project team was tasked with creating vegetarian meals and to raise awareness of healthy eating among primary school children, and was the result of a combined effort of students from hospitality, business, education and culinology programmes.
“My role was to create an event to showcase the products presented by the culinology students,” says Loi, adding that students from the Business school had to market the product while the Education students had to come up with educational awareness activities.
“Despite our different backgrounds, we could bounce ideas off each other until we decided on one that suited our potential clients.”
Loi added that initially, this proved to be challenging as their ideas would differ and they had to discard or alter certain ideas, but these experiences sharpened his communication skills.
Ang Jia Jun, who studied the International Business and Marketing programme, found that he had to polish his leadership skills as he had to make important decisions while motivating his teammates to achieve an objective.
“As a business school team, we had to come up with marketing strategies, financial statements, feasibility studies, competitive analysis and so on,” he explains.
“Working across faculties is undoubtedly beneficial as we are exposed to so much knowledge from different aspects, even down to things like nutritional lists,” says Ang.
Bachelor of Science (Hons.) Culinology programme director Assoc Prof Dr Chong Li Choo believes her students are better prepared to enter the industry with such MLE projects.
“In the food development industry, we do not work in silos. Through this MLE, students have the opportunity to experience and handle the challenges of communicating and working with other departments,” she says.
To find out more about Taylor’s programmes and enquire about the university’s June Special Semester, visit http://bit.ly/taylorsuni-QSSR.