Taylor’s ‘purpose learning’ earns global recognition


Well done: Taylor’s University pro-vice chancellor Dr Thian Lok Boon (centre) receiving the mock cheque from QS Rankings Institutional Performance Communications director Simona Bizzozero (left) and Strategic Partnership and Engagement for Global director Monica Hornung Cattan (right).

Taylor’s University has been crowned the “Overall Education Winner” at the 10th Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Reimagine Education Awards.

The award, announced on Dec 13, was an acknowledgement of the varsity’s 13 Impact Labs, which are in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and thereby contributing significantly to the advancement of sustainability education.

Notably, the varsity outshone projects from renowned institutions such as the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, the University of Hong Kong, and the Australian National University, securing a US$25,000 (RM116,300) cash prize in the process.

The varsity was also presented with the gold award in the “Sustainability Education” category.

Over 600 international independent judges, and a jury panel comprising representatives from renowned institutions like Harvard University, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, Intel Corporation, and Amazon Web Services, participated in the evaluation process that saw Taylor’s University edging out more than 1,200 submissions across 17 categories.

Taylor’s University, said its deputy vice-chancellor and chief academic officer Prof Dr Pradeep Nair, set out to become a “purpose-driven university” in 2022, whereby its education and research would focus on crafting solutions to real-world problems.

Prof Siti HamisahProf Siti Hamisah

In addition to acquiring the essential qualifications for entering the workforce, students today seek meaning in their education, he said.

“The new generation of learners is increasingly purpose-driven and socially aware; they desire education that is not only relevant, but also personalised, aligning with their unique identities, passions and goals.

“In light of this, we took proactive measures by establishing Impact Labs. These labs aim to engage our students in social and environmental initiatives, where they can actively participate and contribute positively to their communities,” he said in a press release.

In just one year, the varsity’s Impact Labs approach has witnessed the integration of 106 Impact Projects into its curriculum with over 4,000 students actively engaging with and impacting the lives of beneficiaries – reaching 3,194 individuals, 43 organisations, and 13 diverse communities.

Spanning urban and rural landscapes, these communities encompass small and medium enterprises (SMEs), teachers, children, farmers, refugees, single mothers, victims of domestic violence, cancer patients, senior citizens, tourists, and more.

This collaborative effort, embracing academics, practitioners, partners, beneficiaries, and students, has yielded tangible and practical solutions that make significant contributions to People, the Planet and Prosperity (3Ps) on a global scale.

It intricately aligns with specific SDGs, embodying a holistic integration of education, research and advocacy.

The transformative approach also saw the varsity ranked among the top 10 Malaysian institutions in the recently announced QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024, with an overall score of 73.6% in the “Social Impact” category.

UCSI University, which emerged as Malaysia’s top private university in the rankings released on Dec 5, placed fourth in the world for “Environmental Sustainability”, and was the highest ranked in Asia.

UCSI University vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir said the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 acknowledged the institution’s long-term commitment to sustainability.

“UCSI is ranked fourth in the world for environmental sustainability. We are encouraged to know the impact we are making,” she said.

“We will do more as we advance research on renewable energy and eco-friendly solutions that reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“Our students and staff are leading the charge. From empowering refugee communities to conserving life below water, they engage communities, industries and the government to drive consequential change.

“Many of them have been recognised for their efforts and four of them stand out as ‘Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia’ inductees for their contributions to social entrepreneurship, economic growth and gender equality.”

She added that UCSI would continue driving change through its two Regional Centres of Expertise – centres entrusted by the United Nations University to spearhead education for sustainable development at the local level.

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