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UNIKL: TRANSFORMING LEADERS

NORA ASYIKIN BINTI ZULKIFLI 930211055142 15, JLN 4/12E, SEKSYEN 4, BANDAR BARU BANGI, 43650, SELANGOR zsyikin@gmail.com 0193989254 55201112036

UNIKL: TRANSFORMING LEADERS


When I first got the offer to enrol in Universiti Kuala Lumpur or commonly known as UniKL, I was truly overwhelmed by the profound irony of its name. Universiti Kuala Lumpur. Although the name clearly states Kuala Lumpur, but in reality, my campus is situated at a small, quiet, slightly isolated part of a town, approximately 73 miles away from Kuala Lumpur. So why does the name has to be Kuala Lumpur? Although the mystery of the name is still unravelled until now, I have at least known a lot about the university I am studying in currently. Established in 2002, UniKL is now one of the most rapid-developing universities in Malaysia, withholding 12 institutes within 10 campuses, ranging from Pasir Gudang, Johor to Kulim, Kedah. The main campus called UniKL City Campus in Kuala Lumpur is widely acknowledged as the tallest university building in Malaysia and ASEAN countries, looming 31-storey tall with 228,534sqf of working space. These are some of UniKLs facts that I find very interesting indeed. However, what appeals to me most is the distinct features of UniKL that clearly distinguish the university with others. While most universities deal more on theory and knowledge, UniKL is however, one of the countrys leading technical university which clearly focuses more on practical applications and technical tasks rather than simply memorising a bunch of equations. This approach benefits many parties simultaneously in various aspects, but what I truly believe is the most important part would be the leadership criteria that UniKL subtly emphasise. Although many people might not realise this, but UniKL offers various opportunities for its students to excel not only academically but in leadership areas as well. Through UniKLs independent methods of learning, students are not only exposed to basic studying skills but they are also encouraged to participate more in group works. This is especially true since as mentioned before, UniKL focuses more on practicality instead of simply theoretical learning. So, in doing practical works such as experiments and lab works, students are indirectly taught to be resourceful, responsible, meticulous and most importantly, cooperative. These are all important criteria needed in any types of leadership. Although most universities do promote leadership among their students, UniKL is particularly special since it does not only emphasise students to develop into a typical, tyrannical leader, instead, UniKL aids its students into becoming much more than that. It teaches students to be a fair, sociable leader. Someone who does not only possess rational ways of thinking but who can also judge a situation fairly, who knows the right ways to

approach the person under him. Someone who has integrity as well as empathy. Because a good leader does not simply leads his people. He walks with them. Among one of UniKLs unique specialty would be its learning environment. According to nineteen-year old Nurzhan Ulikpanov from Kazakhstan, UniKLs open learning environment and teaching style is perfectly suitable for everyone particularly for those who prefer learning in an independent, relaxed way. According to him, At Universiti Kuala Lumpur, you get guidance but there is the opportunity to think for yourself. You can reflect on what you have learnt and have independent thoughts (Nurzhan Ulikpanov)

Nurzhan Ulikpanov, a student of UniKL-International School of Entrepreneurship

This thought alone proves the significant importance of UniKLs learning methods. Instead of merely letting the lecturers the do all the work, the students are also expected to perform by their own, thus providing them with sufficient independence. The students are encouraged to give their own opinions, work together in a team, participate in various presentation projects and allowed to study and do researches on their own. These simple acts will not only prepare students to become much more independent and responsible with their own tasks, but they are also, gradually, learning to become more interactive in terms of social skills. In other words, they are slowly being transformed into leaders. For some people, the connection between leadership and social interactions might be questionable. What is the significance of a good communication with leading skills? According to UniKL Chairman, Y.B. Datuk Dr. Adham Baba,

student leaders of UniKL must play proactive role by sharpening their skills, enhancing their knowledge and focus in their studies. 2011) Knowledge is of course vital for leaders. After all, even Plato (Republic pp.473c-d) said in one of his priceless books that reason and wisdom should govern. "Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,... nor, I think, will the human race." (Plato, n.d, Republic pp.473c-d) Regardless of what the majority think, there is also another important aspect of a leader that people always overlook. This aspect is what we call as empathy. Empathy. No matter how laughable it seems, no matter how the world evolved, history has always been there to tell people stories of how civilisations crumbled under the hands of cruel, irrational leaders. Names like Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Genghis Khan and Adolf Hitler have long brought terror to people although at the same time, they cant help feeling impressed with the success they had obtained. But wouldnt it be better if they were understanding and fair? Justified and dignified? Although this type of leadership wont get the leader much in terms of fame, this is what I believe as the most efficient, reliable type of leadership the world should have. We have experienced too many autocratic and Laissezfaire leaders, most of who failed to work out well. What we need now is either a better democratic leader or a transformational leader. A leader who can be a part of the society and voice their opinions well. In short, we need a leader with empathy. Mahatma Gandhi once quoted; I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. (Mahatma Ghandi, n.d) This simple sentence carries a meaningful message to the future leaders, the ones who determine their nations own fates. Right now, this means us, the people who are currently living as students, the very living souls who make up the constituents of UniKL. What better way to nurture empathy and leadership under one roof if not under learning institutes such as UniKL? Through UniKLs various features and specialties, students are better exposed to such leaderships although the methods are quite indirect. (Y.B. Datuk Dr. Adham Baba,

Therefore, apart from producing excellent, technical work forces in engineering courses mainly, UniKL also strive to produce the best there is, whether in academics, technical tasks or leadership. The students are ensured to be fully equipped in knowledge, practical skills, soft skills, and communicative abilities once they graduate. These are fully enhanced by the carefully constructed curriculums and activities provided. For example, as a compulsory rule, the students should participate in at least one club activities as well as participate in the events sanctioned by the campuses themselves such as the annual English week or the KSSM, a UniKL level sports competition held each year involving all campuses. Although leadership is not directly taught in UniKL through its various courses, the principles are there, the methods are done, the opportunities are widely given, the students are carefully selected and recognised, the lecturers and staffs are supportive and encouraging. We have everything here in UniKL to provide the essential guidelines for a perfect leader. Now, what is left is to hope for the best. If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants. (Isaac Newton, n.d)

BIBILIOGRAPHY
Universiti Kuala Lumpur [online] Available at: http://www.unikl.edu.my/ [Accessed 10th April 2012]