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This week, I made my first trip to Malaysia as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading. Arriving on Sunday night, I have been engaged since in a busy round of visits and meetings and hearing and seeing first-hand the progress that University of Reading Malaysia is making.

I began by seeing our impressive facilities in downtown Johor Bahru where we are already offering executive education courses as well as English language programmes. The new facilities feel very much a part of University of Reading, with prominent images of the University all around the building.

Not surprisingly, one of the highlights of the week so far has been visiting EduCity where our campus will open in 2015. It’s in a prime location at the entrance to EduCity and, will, I am sure become a landmark building in the area.

UoRM plot at EduCity

University of Reading Malaysia plot at Iskandar Malaysia EduCity where building is to commence in early 2013

The rest of the facility is already taking shape with University of Newcastle offering medicine and University of Southampton just receiving their first engineering students. The student accommodation block is now open and the sports stadium should be completed by the end of the year.

I am delighted that there is considerable interest in the plans for University of Reading Malaysia in the region, and as part of my visit, I have been delighted to be interviewed by the New Straits Times, Star and Sin Chew Daily newspapers. I have also attended dinners in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur where I have met many influential figures from business and commerce, including University of Reading and Henley Business School graduates.

Sir David Bell with invited guests at formal dinner in Singapore

Sir David Bell with invited guests at formal dinner in Singapore

It has also been very useful to meet key contacts in the Ministry of Higher Education and the University of Malaya as we develop partnerships in Malaysian higher education.

Throughout my time in Malaysia, I have been very well supported by our enthusiastic project team. It was clear to me that they are held in high regard locally and are great ambassadors for the University of Reading.

My main impressions from the short visit to Malaysia and Singapore are that:-

There is a palpable sense of ambition surrounding higher education in the country. We are part of the expansion effort, as well as contributing to the enhanced status of HE in the country. I am delighted that we are already considered as having an important contribution to make in this regard.

Secondly, I have seen for myself the potential for Malaysia to become a great education hub. It is located in a region with a hunger for education and a huge potential market.

Thirdly, the University already has many friends here. I mentioned the alumni I met and it will be marvellous to be working with them in the future. Our team in Malaysia has also developed strong relationships with the High Commissions of both Malaysia and Singapore as well as in the British Council. It was good to hear the UK Universities Minister, David Willetts, talk so positively about our work in Malaysia at the Universities UK annual conference last week.

I look forward to my next visit and to hearing of further success as we approach an important milestone for the University, the full opening of University of Reading Malaysia.

SIR DAVID BELL
VICE-CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF READING

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The University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) has achieved a major milestone with the opening of its brand new teaching and office facilities in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in June 2012.

The premises are within the Menara Kotaraya building in central Johor Bahru and feature five teaching suites, equipped with audio-visual and smartboard technology.

Large classroom at University of Reading Malaysia

There is a large learning resource centre housing a 24-station PC lab which serves as both a dealing room (for ICMA Executive Education training on capital markets) and language laboratory. The 9,000 square foot space boasts a resource library and a cafeteria-social area as well as a reception and administration offices, for our burgeoning staff on site.

Cafe Area at University of Reading Malaysia

The facilities are also equipped with the latest internet and telephone services with Wi-Fi throughout and a touchdown space for recharging laptops. To support the new office, Mr Nandan Ramachandran, the first locally employed member of staff of UoRM, has been appointed as Office Manager.

Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “The University is exceedingly proud to be able to open our first teaching facilities in Malaysia. Our links with Malaysia go back many years and we are excited at the prospect of cementing these relationships through our new facilities and programmes in Johor Bahru. UoRM’s initial academic offering in Malaysia will provide excellent quality English language and business programmes, taught by faculty with extensive international experience, and delivered in the first-class facilities to be expected from one of the world’s top 1% of universities.”

This is the first phase of major investment in Malaysia by the University. In 2015, the University will open its main campus in the Iskandar Malaysia with the intention of delivering a wide range of degree programmes in business and law, pharmacy, chemistry and the built environment (applications are being prepared now for approval by the various governmental and professional bodies which are required to approve all our programmes offered on the campus).

Delivery of programmes at Kotaraya has already begun with the University’s Henley Business School providing programmes for business leaders and you can read more about Henley Business School Executive Education programme in Malaysia here.

Pre-sessional courses for students wishing to raise their English language and academic levels before starting a university degree course are also planned for Kotaraya along with a Foundation in Business programme. You can find out more about Programmes at University of Reading Malaysia here.

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English Language teaching is part of the first wave of programmes offered by the University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) at its new facilities in Johor Bahru.  Sebastian Watkins, one of the University’s most experienced English Language lecturers, has temporarily relocated to Malaysia to get our English language programmes up and running. Seb is ensuring that the teaching and learning experience offered to students in Malaysia is of the same high quality as that delivered at our UK campus in Reading.

Seb has extensive international teaching experience and has taught English as a Foreign Language in Europe and the Middle East. He is highly qualified, with a BA (Hons) English Literature from the University of York, an RSA Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and an MA in English Language Teaching (ELT) from our own University of Reading.

When not working for UoRM, Seb is Programme Director for Short Courses at the University’s International Study and Language Centre (ISLC) and has been a lecturer in English for Academic Purposes at the University of Reading since 2002. He teaches on a range of courses, including pre-sessional courses, in-sessional courses and tailor-made short courses for a variety of external sponsors. He is also part of the team developing English for Academic Purposes tests and is co-author of Speaking in the English for Academic Study series, published by Garnet Education. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, doing crosswords and hill walking.

Seb has been in Malaysia since April 2012 and has been extremely busy during the last few months. A great deal of his time has been spent on marketing our English language and Foundation programmes. He has been visiting the principals and staff of schools in Johor, to raise the UORM profile, and offer free taster sessions for students.

Seb Watkins and school pupils

University of Reading Malaysia lecturer Sebastian Watkins (back row, centre) with Form 4 and 5 pupils from Taman Johor Jaya 1 Secondary School, Johor Bahru

Seb has attended recruitment fairs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to publicise both UORM and the programmes available in the UK. When not out and about, he has been busy developing a range of information to be given to students based in Malaysia, as well as setting up the physical premises with books for our Learning Resource Centre and testing our IT facilities for teaching purposes.

When asked about his first impressions of Malaysia, Seb says “It’s a vibrant place, with a colourful mix of cultures and great food! It’s also a stimulating place in which to work. The students I’ve come into contact with so far have shown a very positive and enthusiastic attitude to learning. They seem determined to succeed.”

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The University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) is proud to announce the opening of its brand new teaching facilities in Johor Bahru.

Press release

UoRM will deliver programmes for future business leaders through the University’s Henley Business School, one of the world’s leading business education providers. The University will also be running pre-sessional courses for students wishing to raise their English and academic levels before starting a university degree course and a one-year International Foundation Programme preparing students for an undergraduate business degree.

The programmes, which start in June 2012, are taught by University of Reading faculty in the brand new purpose-built University of Reading Malaysia facility in the Kotaraya Office Tower in central Johor Bahru. This is the first phase of a major investment in Malaysia by University of Reading Malaysia¹. In 2015, the University will open its permanent campus in EduCity, Nusajaya within the Iskandar Development Area to deliver a wide range of programmes, from law to chemistry, construction and finance.

The new business courses are designed for managers who want to get ahead in business. Programme members on UoRM’s Henley Business School courses will benefit from some of the best executive education in the world. The programmes include the study of capital markets, real estate and planning and leadership and coaching.

Henley Business School was established by business, for business, and as the UK’s oldest business school, has over 60 years’ experience in developing managers. One of the world’s few business schools to hold triple-accredited status, Henley Business School is also ranked in the European top 20 business school for Executive Education, in Open and Custom programmes (FT European Business Schools ranking, 2011).

The pre-sessional programmes and International Foundation Programmes will be delivered by the University’s internationally-renowned International Study and Language Centre. The International Foundation Programme is an intensive one-year access course which draws on University of Reading’s long-established reputation for academic excellence and student support. The course has been designed especially for international students without British A level qualifications, or the equivalent, who plan to do an undergraduate business degree. UK-based teachers will be delivering the excellent quality English language teaching.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “The University of Reading is exceedingly proud to be able to open our first teaching facilities in Malaysia. Our links with Malaysia go back many years and we are excited at the prospect of cementing these relationships through our new facilities and programmes in Johor Bahru. UoRM’s initial academic offering in Malaysia will provide excellent quality English language and business programmes, taught by faculty with extensive international experience, and delivered in the first-class facilities to be expected from one of the world’s top 1% of universities.”

Full details of all the programmes can be found at www.reading.ac.uk/malaysia

ENDS

Further media information from University of Reading press office on +44 (0)118 378 7115, media@reading.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

¹The University of Reading Malaysia’s brand new campus in Iskandar is expected to be completed in 2015, with an initial intake of 500 students. Enrolment will rise to 1,800 students by 2018, with long-term numbers thought to be around 2,000. Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are being developed¹ to include programmes within real estate, construction, finance, law, chemistry and pharmacy. The new campus was formally launched in December 2011 in partnership with Education@Iskandar Sendirian Berhad (EISB in the presence of Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

New teaching facilities – contact details
University of Reading Malaysia, 7th Floor, Menara Kotaraya, Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Tel: +60 7 295 5000 or by fax +60 7 221 1762.

The facilities at Kotaraya include 5 teaching suites and a large learning resource centre with a 24 station PC lab, each room with the latest smart board technology. Within the 9,000sq ft of space the UoRM also provides a resource library, a touch down space for recharging lap tops and a cafeteria/social space as well as a reception and administration offices. The facilities are also equipped within the latest internet and telephone services with Wi-Fi accessible throughout.

About the University of Reading
The University of Reading is one of the UK’s top research-intensive universities. It was established as an extension college of Christ Church, Oxford in 1892, and received a Royal Charter in 1926.

The University is one of the UK’s top research-intensive universities and is ranked in the top 20 UK higher education institutions in securing grants worth over £10 million from UK research councils.

The University of Reading is ranked 164th in the world in the Times Higher World University Rankings 2011 and consistently rates highly in measures of student satisfaction – the UK’s National Student Survey 2011 (top 20 ranking) and the International Student Barometer.

The University of Reading has around 100 Malaysian students studying each year at the University’s Reading campus and has been in partnership with Taylor’s University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since 2002.

The University is a member of the 1994 Group of leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience. www.1994group.ac.uk

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