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Following the success of Phase 1 of University Utara Malaysia (UUM) Strategic Plan, 2016 is seen as the year to spearhead and step up efforts to bring UUM to the international arena through Phase 2 of the UUM Strategic Plan (2016-2020).

The various achievements and accomplishments helped to set the stage and map out the journey for the university to continue to forge ahead to the international arena after attaining numerous successes at the national level.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Annual Address 2016 opened with a recollection of achievements attained by the university and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Seri Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, foresee that this year would be a challenging year for the university, not only from the financial aspect but also other challenges that we must face in order to be the Eminent Management University; not only recognised at the national level but also at the international level.

Prof. Dato' Seri added that, UUM employs its own strategies to develop the university as an outstanding campus and the approaches are tailored to concur with the standings and the current circumstances of the university, which was set in motion by the UUM Strategic Plan Phase 1 (2011-2015).

"In 2016, we will put our focus on Phase 2 of the UUM Strategic Plan which emphasised the four core thrusts i.e. Thrust 1(Enhancing Scholarship and Internationalisation); Thrust 2 (Developing Human Capital and Talent Management); Thrust 3 (Focusing on the Holistic Development of Students) and Thrust 4 (Generating/Creating Wealth).

"Therefore, in order to facilitate the execution of this strategic plan, we have outlined six (6) Key Result Areas (KRA) which include “research and high-impact innovations, high-impact teaching and learning activities, high performance students, exceptional human capital and institution, optimum and strategic wealth creation as well as conducive infrastructure and learning environment," said Prof. Dato' Seri in his annual address to the staff of UUM at Mu'adzam Shah Hall.

UUM Strategic Plan Phase 1 (2011-2015) strived to establish this university as the Eminent Management University at the national level. UUM has succeeded to attain 60 percent of the KPI listed in Phase 1 of the plan.

UUM has also demonstrated a steady increase in the number of academic staff with PhD, the number of international staff and international students as well as an increase in research funding, increase in the number of the principal researchers, revenue from consultation activities and wealth creation over the period of 2011 to 2015.

He added, the challenges and obstacles in setting the path for UUM to be recognised at the international level are certainly not a walk in the park. We will face obstacles and challenges in our journey before we achieve any level of success. As a consequence, Phase 2 of the UUM Strategic Plan has been meticulously planned and prepared; taking into account the financial constraints faced by the university. Thus, the campus community must be prepared to encounter difficulties and hardships before achieving the eventual success.

"In my annual address two years ago, I emphasised on the magnitude of the 'Sense of Urgency' in carrying out duties or completing tasks at the university but to this day, I do not see much evidence of change. Many staff still need to be instructed and closely monitored when performing their duties.

"We should be quick to act and react. UUM was established more than 30 years ago and the university has experienced numerous transformations. In this strategic plan, we have taken a proactive approach to improve the mission and vision of the university so that we can change for the better,” he added.

As a result, the university has taken a bold step to rebrand two schools as well as introducing a new one and new academic programmes.

Furthermore, in order to strengthen UUM standings at the national and international levels, the university has set an explicit target that by the year 2020, UUM aims to be listed among the 'World Top 200' in the QS World University Rankings, 'Asia Top 50', 'SEA Top 10', 'Malaysia Top 5' and 'OYAGSB-World Top 100' (Business School) in addition to intensify the effort to improve on the Research Centre of Excellence by instituting and strengthening the niche areas at UUM COB, UUM CAS and UUM COLGIS.

Prof. Dato' Seri  also shared the overview of the New Year Address by the Minister of Higher Education, Dato' Seri Idris Jusoh. The Minister of Higher Education drew attention to the concept of 'Flexible Education', the rankings of public universities in the QS University Rankings, in addition to the issues and challenges encountered by students and lecturers in 2016.

At the event,  Dato' Seri  Vice-Chancellor also presented the KPI awards, excellence awards 2014-2015 and he also unveiled the brand-new name of the School of Social Development (SSD) – which is now identified as the School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy (SAPSP). Dato' Seri also launched UUM Mobile for staff.