THIS year HELP University celebrates 21 years since the founding of its Centre for Psychology, which has evolved into the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences comprising the Department of Psychology, CAREERsense@HELP, and the Centre for Counselling and Psychological Services.
HELP is the first private institution of higher learning in Malaysia to offer a viable pathway in psychology for students who wanted to study in Australia and New Zealand through transfer programmes with institutions like the University of South Australia, Curtin University, and Otago University.
While there is great interest today to do psychology, it was not always the case 21 years ago.
To help create awareness of the full benefits and applications of this field of study, the Centre for Psychology conducted flagship programmes such as “The 10 Keys to 10 As” and “The Psychology of Peak Performance” in every major city in the country.
Today, the centre runs an annual psychology school convention that attracts close to 1,000 participants each year.
“In the early years, we also reached out to parents by conducting parenting seminars alongside our student sessions and ran statewide conferences for school counsellors to help them in their professional roles as guidance-counsellors, ” said HELP University’s Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Education and Languages and Pro Vice Chancellor (Mental Health), Dr Gerard Louis.
“Finally, we established CAREERsense@HELP to help us organise career fairs and introduce our psychology students to industry.
“These initiatives and many others in the last 21 years helped create job openings in Malaysia for students with a degree in psychology that extended beyond the regular mental health occupations.”
He added: “A key part of the development of psychology in the country was the engagement we had with different partners in the community. We were involved in critical research work with organisations and agencies such as Unicef, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Education Ministry on projects like child sexual abuse research and bullying in schools.
“We partnered with World Vision on the 30-Hour Famine campaign annually for many years.
“In the last 10 years, we helped the Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise develop their mentoring programme that supports financially deserving students in public secondary schools achieve academic success, which has gone on to win this club international recognition.
“Most recently, we partnered with the Malaysian Mental Health Association to set up the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, an initiative to promote emotional health and wellbeing in the community.”
Another recent contribution to society can be seen over the last year of the pandemic. Since March last year, the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences has been at the forefront reaching out to the Malaysian public with radio shows, podcasts and webinars on dealing with the psychological impact of the pandemic and providing insight into how both adults and children can cope with stress and anxiety. Visit the Empowering Lives website to view the resources produced by the faculty at https://university.help.edu.my/empowering-lives-resources/.
The academic programme today at HELP continues to provide that quality of learning experience that helps to make its psychology graduates career and future-ready.
It is often said that no educational institution can exceed the quality of its teachers and leaders. This is certainly true of the leaders and staff – past and present – of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences.
In terms of leadership, one name stands out as legendary – former Faculty of Behavioural Sciences dean Dr Goh Chee Leong. He was responsible for many initiatives over the years that set a solid foundation for the growth of psychology studies in Malaysia.
HELP University founders Datin Chan Kam Yoke and Prof Datuk Dr Paul Chan whose vision and support for the initiatives and work of the faculty throughout these 21 years have been a major reason for the growth and development of this field of study in Malaysia.