Leading home-grown programmes

SINCE its status upgrade in 2015, First City University College (First City UC) has begun rolling out its own home-grown programmes. These specially-designed programmes strive to be more industry-relevant which will prepare undergraduates for real-world needs.

"We want to look at industry needs to keep our fingers on the pulse and see what are the market requirements – and that connects back to the students who want to be able to have jobs. We balance between the two – what students want and what industry wants," said Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (FASS) Dean Dr Anne Ho.

Among the programmes FASS will be introducing are the BA (Hons) Mass Communication, BA (Hons) Entrepreneurship, and BA (Hons) Human Resource Management.

"Entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly relevant and strikes a note with the current generation. Entrepreneurship is all around us and our kids are staring it in the face. We are very proud to be able to offer this course which we are hoping to roll out in September.

"The other is human resource management which is so much more important now because everyone is competing for human capital. We can imitate each other very easily, but the one factor that is very unique and hard to imitate is the person. Competition is very much on human assets, and we believe this programme is highly relevant in today's market and in the future," Ho said.

In the Faculty of Design & Built Environment (FDBE), they are talking about upgrading individual qualifications and capabilities.

The market is no longer just looking for hands-on artists, but individuals called designers.

"It is a change of the game, I would say. Previously, you have the manufacturers, the marketeers and then the consumers. Now the trend is different. The consumers come first before the designers; it is a complete reverse process. The designers' role is getting more important," said FDBE Dean Siow Yin Yoong.

Previously, we spoke about the internet but today, there is a term called the internet of things and cloud computing which has been around – and because of these terms, people are looking into applications and services with the key thing being security.

"Our programmes are industry and market driven. Our home-grown programmes have incorporated the IBM curriculum which provides a good platform for students. Students are able to learn industry-relevant tools and have internship opportunities with their partners," said Faculty of Engineering & Computing (FEC) Dean Dr Christine Lee.

Additionally, the university college will also be introducing cross-faculty programmes and an example is the Bachelor of Information Systems (Hons) with Business Management.

"We are exploring inter-faculty collaborations where relevant modules across the faculties are incorporated into a programme. There will be more to come, and I think it is beneficial as programmes become more and more holistic," Ho said.

There are a few key indicators of the difference between being a college before and a university college now – which is identified through its research activity. Each faculty has to be involved at different levels from scholarly activities to publishing papers, and so on.

"One of the key requirements for a full-fledged university is its research area, and we have set up the Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation. We have a three-year plan where we will engage staff in research activities, scholarly work, conferences, publication, reviewing papers, and getting funding.

"An area the centre will look into is commercialisation. Eventually we will come up with proposals on how to go about registering patents and trademarks. In the first year, we will be looking into policies and standard regulations. Now, we hope to kick-start our research," Lee said.

Besides this, staff development is also hugely important as their partners and collaborators would want to know how their academics keep themselves up-to-date, skilled and knowledgeable about their jobs to produce favourable outcomes for all.