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Inputs from administrators, students and faculty critical to tackle challenges

As universities deal with challenges in education, perhaps they should begin by asking the key participants - students, faculty members and administrators - what they would like changed and how (Facing up to challenges in higher education; Feb 4).

Regular exchanges among them will generate many ideas to effect change.

Students should not be intimidated, nor should they feel shy about speaking up. They are the reason universities exist.

As recipients of the programme, they have the right to get what they want in terms of content and ways of engagement.

They also owe it to themselves to get a relevant education to secure their own future.

They must ask themselves if they are getting enough face time with their lecturers beyond class time and consultation hours.

Are they attending classes and participating in discussions? Are they taking part in activities and discovering their strengths and weaknesses?

Faculty members also play a key role in the university and should like how both teaching and research are conducted, regardless of the incentive system.

Can they engage students and seek a balance in teaching, research and administrative duties? Are they able to share their research work with students and also tap their ideas on improving content and methodologies?

Putting all this together and making things happen are the administrators.

The college president sets the vision and puts in place all the parts to realise this vision. He should be in touch with students and faculty members. Administrators should welcome interfacing with students.

Continual interactions between these three groups would help universities face new challenges amid rapid change.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 11, 2018, with the headline 'Inputs from administrators, students and faculty critical to tackle challenges'. Print Edition | Subscribe