The Faculty of Civil Engineering UTM (known as FKA) achieves top rankings in Mineral & Mining Engineering and Civil & Structural Engineering, earning the 1st spot in Malaysia. UTM Newshub interviews Prof. Dr. Edy Tonnizam Mohamad, the former Dean of FKA and current Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) of UTM, to gain insights into the faculty’s vision, mission, and aims. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
UTM NewsHub: Prof., can you share the current enrolment (undergraduate, postgraduate, local, and international students) in the Faculty of Civil Engineering (FKA)? How has the enrolment of FKA students changed over the years, and what factors have influenced these changes?
Prof. Edy: As of the 2022/2023 session, FKA’s total enrolment was 1,716 students, including 1,010 undergraduate students (897 local students and 113 international students) and 706 postgraduate students (440 local students and 266 international students).
International students make up a significant portion, approximately 22% of the FKA’s total student population. It is worth noting that Malaysia has been a popular destination for international students, especially from Asian countries (Indonesia, China, and the Middle East).
In addition, initiatives such as the UTM VC Asia Tour and the establishment of UTM Regional Satellite Labs and Office have been part of the university’s strategy to attract talented students globally and provide support services and resources to help them thrive academically and socially on campus.
However, we have observed a decline in the numbers of postgraduate students for both PhD and Masters programs recently, especially after the Covid-19 Pandemic. To cope with that, FKA will commit to the university’s plans to have more strategic engagements to establish and intensify international collaborations to attract more students.
UTM NewsHub: Congratulations to FKA for being ranked in the Top 100 QS World University Ranking by subject in Mineral & Mining Engineering and Civil & Structural Engineering (both ranked 1st in Malaysia). What makes FKA stand out, especially in Mineral & Mining Engineering and Civil & Structural Engineering, compared to other institutions that offer the same courses?
Prof. Edy: We thank all the professors, lecturers, staff, students, and stakeholders for this outstanding achievement. We consistently cultivate the advancement and progress of research and publications in multidisciplinary areas.
In addition, we also engage and have good cooperation with prominent researchers from all over the world. In particular, apart from cultivating individual capabilities, we continuously develop institutional strength in research and networking.
Furthermore, we continuously ensure that our academic quality is progressive, well-monitored, and accredited. On the other hand, we also provide facilities for the faculty to support the educational agenda and always maintain them in excellent condition.
We also believe that integration and synergy across all departments, centres, laboratories, and units are crucial in the faculty and are flourishing well.
UTM NewsHub: Maintaining excellent achievement must be challenging for FKA’s management. Is there any particular strategic plan to maintain and further improve the quality, especially in teaching and research?
Prof. Edy: We always believe in honest self-reflection. Our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that lie ahead of us are meticulously analyzed and considered. Pragmatic steps are taken and monitored periodically to ensure progress.
As a Research University, we always encourage our academic staff and students to become part of the multidisciplinary, synergized, and vibrant UTM research ecosystem known as UTM Nexus, where the outcomes of research are actively conveyed to our students through the connection of top minds with state-of-the-art equipment and ground breaking research.
With this, the teaching-learning experience is up-to-date and lively. Students will be trained in fundamental knowledge and understand the current development of expertise, especially in Mineral & Mining Engineering and Civil & Structural Engineering.
UTM NewsHub: This excellent achievement makes UTM one of the best global universities in producing civil and structural engineering talents worldwide. How well are our FKA graduates being recognized and acknowledged in the industry?
Prof. Edy: Our graduates are typically sought after by industries, locally and globally. In fact, according to UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Datuk Ir. Ts. Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, UTM recorded a 97.9% graduate employability rate last year.
Moreover, 31.2% of the graduates received a premium salary (RM4,000 and above), which proves that UTM is more than capable of producing holistic graduates as outlined by the Ministry of Higher Education.
At FKA, we greatly emphasize the holistic aspect of student development and do not focus solely on academic performance alone. Employers always evaluate their potential employees regarding personality, self-identity, and emotions.
Therefore, we always strive hard and put immense effort into our graduates to grasp the desired attributes. Our graduates are not only scholars in their field of study, but they are also expected to have good moral values, excellent social skills, enterprising skills, possess innovative talents, and be trained to be constructive citizens.
UTM NewsHub: UTM is always proud of its alumni as one of the nation’s greatest assets. Can you share a few notable FKA alumni who play leading roles in industry and institutions? What are your hopes for FKA’s current students and graduates?
Prof. Edy: We have existed for more than 50 years. Our alumni are not only our former students but also former staff. They are our pillars of strength. We continuously engage with them and welcome them to contribute further to the faculty.
FKA is known for producing national leaders in academia, public sectors, and private institutions. Our alumni in their home country always become our delegates, connecting the faculty to the global arena.
We are proud to have notable alumni who play leading roles in industries, agencies, and institutions, such as Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani bin Haji Abdullah Sani; Former Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Ir. Dr Wee Ka Siong; Former MOSTI’s Secretary-General, Datuk Ir. Ts. Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir; the UiTM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Emeritus Datuk Ir. Dr. Mohd Azraai Kassim, and the former UTM’s Vice Chancellor, Datuk Ir. Dr. Wahid bin Omar.
We always hope that our alumni staying engaged and involved helps strengthen FKA as their alma mater and supports the next generation of students, especially through knowledge and experience sharing with students, helping them navigate their career paths in the future.