WOU is focused on activating its transformation plans and improving on staff engagement this year to further enhance the profile of the University. In fact, the management has declared 2018 as the ‘Year of Staff Engagement’ and the subsequent year as ‘Year of Student Engagement’.
These were among the announcements from Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas during her maiden town hall session titled ‘WOU Transformation for the Next Decade’ at the main campus on March 6th. “WOU is about to transform itself into becoming a greater institution in the next decade, after a challenging past decade,” she remarked.
She highlighted 4 selling factors of WOU, “A University by the Sea, A University with a Garden, A University with a Heritage Building, and A University with Student Diversity”. She continued, “We are the people’s university. We can do more to become, truly a people’s university by putting the students first in our minds and in our hearts.”
She also presented enrolment statistics and financial highlights from 2007 to 2017, proclaiming to the loud applause of the staff that WOU “more than broke even for the first time” with an Expense over Income ratio of 99%.
She asked the academics to consider the potential workload of the part-time students who have to juggle job, family and other responsibilities, with little time left for revision every week. She revealed that an analysis of the top 11 failing courses at WOU showed that the instructions of the TMAs were not clear or confusing, had too many questions or questions above the expected learning outcomes. She spoke on the need to tweak the TMAs and make the course materials more learner-friendly.
She said the University will implement measures to improve enrolment through its transformation activities and general operations, adding that as a start, WOU’s mission statement is being revisited with input from the Deans and the Management Board.
Prof Zoraini informed that the University has already set up a Transformation Steering Committee headed by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU Board of Governors, and a Transformation Working Committee chaired by her which has 8 working streams. The streams are Digital Transformation, Pedagogical Transformation, Student Engagement, Staff Engagement, Marketing Stream, Financial Stream, Tutor Management, and Dual to Tri-semester Transformation.
She also announced that in line with the Year of Staff Engagement, there will be activities facilitated by the Human Resources department this year to contribute to the overal staff engagement, and in turn increase employee productivity and achieve targets.
She urged all staff to be passionate, engaged employees and to work as a team if WOU is to achieve its transformation, staff engagement, student engagement and other objectives. “Team is important, as Together Everyone Achieves More. When we work in a team, we will achieve the success faster and better, more efficient and more effective.”
Earlier, Tan Sri Dr Koh spoke at length about WOU’s history, stressing the importance of increasing student recruitment and retention, and for the University to leverage on its assets, like being a campus by the sea, and to distinguish itself among its competitors.
During the Q&A, quite a few questions were posed on medical benefits, annual leave, assessment and related academic matters. WOU’s first town hall ended on a positive note. It was not only engaging. The way forward was clear.