Wawasan Open University marked another significant milestone with the offical appointment of Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye as the new Vice Chancellor.
Prof Ho, 67, takes over from Prof Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng who had held the Vice Chancellor position since Dec 6, 2009 and retired early last month to focus on family and health.
Prof Ho, WOU’s third Vice Chancellor, brings with him over 40 years of university research and teaching experience in both conventional face-to-face and in open and distance education.
He is a familiar figure to the WOU community, having held several key positions since joining the university in 2007. He was Director of the Centre for Graduate Studies, Dean of the School of Science and Technology, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support) and – since December 1st, 2010 – Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs).
He is presently the Secretary-General of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) which has a membership of 74 higher education institutions distributed across Asia.
An aquatic ecologist by training, Prof Ho is an alumnus of the English College in Johor Bahru. He received his BSc (Hons) in Ecology in 1970 and MSc in Limnology in 1973, both from Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He earned his PhD in 1979 from the Christian-Albretchs University in Kiel, Germany.
He served as a faculty member of Universiti Sains Malaysia for 28 years (1973-2001), rising to become Professor and Dean of its School of Biological Sciences. While at USM, he played an active role behind its off-campus programme initiated in the 1980s.
In 2000, Prof Ho was appointed by the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MOSTE) to establish the National Oceanography Directorate in Putrajaya. He served as its first Director until 2006, promoting the national agenda of developing marine sciences research in the country.
An ardent practitioner of environmental conservation, Prof Ho was once the National Vice President of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), as well as a member of the Malaysian Society of Marine Science Council (MSMS) and of the Board of Directors of Wetland International Malaysia (WIM).
In recognition of his vast contributions to the university, State, nation and society, he was bestowed the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri award which carries the title of Dato’ by the State Government of Penang in 2006.
On leading WOU, Prof. Ho stated, “I am committed to upholding and building on the strong foundation and excellent work done by my two predecessors. By working closely with colleagues at all levels, I aim to ensure that WOU continues to provide the enabling environment and learning opportunities to as many Malaysians as possible.”
“One of my main goals is to make WOU the preferred institution of higher education for those working adults who wish to further their studies, or pick up new knowledge and skills while still hanging on to their jobs” he added.