Miri – 9 June 2014 – Curtin University’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, who assumed office in February this year, was recently in Malaysia to attend the seventh graduation ceremony and 15th anniversary celebration of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) in Miri, Sarawak.
During her visit to the campus, Professor Terry gave an interview during which she gave her views about Curtin’s international engagement and the future of its international campuses, particularly its Sarawak campus.
Curtin Sarawak is Curtin’s largest international campus established in partnership with the Sarawak State Government in 1999.
Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest and most multi-cultural university. The University has a strong commitment to international engagement, and currently has Australia’s third-largest international student population with campuses in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Professor Terry indicated that Curtin University’s international achievements are well regarded across the sector, and that Curtin Sarawak has played a key role in building this strong reputation.
“As we celebrate 15 years of Curtin Sarawak, we need to reflect on and acknowledge the significant foresight, commitment and hard work by many from both the Sarawak Government and Curtin University that led to the establishment of Curtin Sarawak,” she said.
When asked for her impressions of the Curtin Sarawak campus, Professor Terry indicated that she was delighted to have met so many highly committed students and staff. She was also very impressed with the physical infrastructure which has many elements in common with the Bentley Campus, but at the same time, has a number of distinctive features that are compatible with its setting.
She indicated that she believes there is capacity for Curtin Sarawak to grow from its current cohort of 3,500 students.
“We need to look at the option of offering a broader range of degree programs on the campus. There is also capacity to grow research and development at Curtin Sarawak. There has been really good work in this area in recent years but there is more that can be done,” she said.
“Curtin’s vision is to be a leader in both education and research. That is absolutely essential if we are to strengthen our global reputation – the stronger our reputation, the more we will be able to attract and retain the type of students and staff who will strengthen the University’s reputation in the future,” she commented.
Professor Terry said that Curtin University has research strengths in a number of different areas and it is seeking to ensure that those strengths are as deep as possible. She added that the University is very committed not only to excellence in its research but also in ensuring its research is industry-focused and that it has an impact.
She congratulated Curtin Sarawak on its recent achievements in research, noting that it has a number of areas of emerging research strengths, particularly in the engineering and science areas. She commented that they are very compatible with the research strengths on Curtin’s Perth and Kalgoorlie campuses. She added that she was very keen to see the campuses working together to ensure those areas of research are strengthened even further into the future.
As the new Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, Professor Terry looks forward to seeing Curtin achieve its vision of being an international leader in both research and education by 2030.
“To achieve our vision, we will need to maintain our focus on teaching and learning excellence and strengthen our global partnerships and profile. We will also need to become more research intensive, at the same time as ensuring that our graduates continue to be highly sought after by employers,” she remarked.
Having attended Curtin Sarawak’s annual Award & Scholarship Ceremony dinner during which a number of the campus’s industry partners presented awards to its top performing students, Professor Terry said she was very pleased to see that the campus has fostered such strong partnerships with industry, business and government to enhance the quality of its scholarship, teaching and research.
“It is very clear that the success of Curtin Sarawak is in large part due to strong commitment of government, industry and business over the past 15 years,” she said.
She gave her assurance that she would do everything she can do to ensure that such ties remain very strong into the future.
On preparing graduates for an increasingly global labour market, she said that Curtin University is paying a great deal of attention to how it prepares its graduates to ensure that they have the necessary skills, attributes and knowledge to be successful in their chosen careers.
“What we are focusing on at Curtin is complementing students’ discipline-specific knowledge with opportunities to engage in work-integrated learning, so that they are job ready, and with opportunities to gain the skills that employers are seeking, through access to both leadership development opportunities and global experiences,” commented Professor Terry.
She added that one of her ambitions as Vice-Chancellor is to have an increasing number of Curtin students studying overseas, from whatever campus they are based in. She would like to see more students from Curtin’s main campus in Perth spending a period of time studying abroad, particularly in Asia, and that Curtin Sarawak is ideally placed to assist with this goal.
Originally from Western Australia, Professor Terry had a distinguished career at the University of Queensland since 1990, initially as an internationally recognised scholar, before progressing through a number of senior leadership roles to the position of Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
According to Curtin Chancellor Mr. Colin Beckett, Curtin conducted an extensive international search for the position of Vice-Chancellor and was very pleased when Professor Terry accepted the role. He said Professor Terry is well positioned to lead Curtin in the next stage of its growth and towards its vision of being a recognised international leader in research and education.
“Her many years of senior leadership experience at the University of Queensland – a world top 100 university – will place her in an excellent position to strengthen Curtin’s ability as a research-intensive university, to lead in innovative education, and evolve as an agile, responsive organisation,” he added.
Professor Terry completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the Australian National University. Her leadership career commenced in 2000 when she was appointed Head of School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, before moving on to the positions of Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She was Acting Vice-Chancellor at the University of Queensland from January to October 2012.
Curtin is a university with a global outlook with well-established campuses in Sarawak and Singapore. It has more than 46,000 students studying all over the world, including over 10,000 international students from 120 countries studying at its Perth, Sydney and other Australian locations.
For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, its Facebook page at facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia, Twitter profile at twitter.com/curtinsarawak, YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/CurtinUniSarawak, or Instagram at instagram.com/curtinsarawak.