Passion for education

CAREER progression is something one would always look forward to – be it the perks or the increase in pay as well as the title that comes along with it. But the promotion comes with additional responsibilities at work.

For SEGi University vice chancellor Prof Dr Patrick Kee, helming the post as VC of the institution since the beginning of this year is not only a challenge, but something he personally took upon himself to ensure that the university would reach higher standards in Malaysia.

Prior to helming the position, Kee was the deputy VC (of academic) of the university since July 2012.

But his experience in the tertiary education goes way back to 1985, when he began teaching, as a resident tutor, in Queen's College, University of Melbourne in Australia.

Aside from teaching, Kee, who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial with First Class Honours) and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, had worked as a plant engineer and worked his way up to become a production planner in Ericsson Australia Pty Ltd between 1989 and 1993.

He then took up a job as a lecturer in Industrial Engineering at the Monash University in Australia until 1995, when he returned to Malaysia to be a senior lecturer at the MARA Science College Trolak in Perak, and later to head the School of Engineering at the Sepang Institute of Technology (now known as HELP College of Arts and Technology) in Klang.

"It has always been my passion to be an academician. If I wanted to be engineer, I would not pursue for my PhD.

"I worked four years (as an engineer) to bring in industry experience into the classroom to benefit the students," he said, noting that he has been in the tertiary education industry for about 21 years.

Since then, Kee has been teaching in several colleges and universities, before arriving at SEGi University and being what he is today.

"Being a VC (of a university), the burden is definitely heavier.

"Under the Private Higher Education Institution Act 1996, I have to ensure that the university complies with all the regulations and policies enacted in the Act," he told theSun.

With SEGi achieving its university status for slightly over four years, Kee also noted that a lot of effort needs to be put in to ensure the institution goes to the next higher level.

"One of our major strategies now is to go for Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University rating and ranking.

"Based on the recent QS World University announcement, the university achieved a 87.5% satisfaction rate among students, and 88% satisfaction rate with the teaching and learning in the university.

"This survey was conducted among 1,000 of our students in August this year," he said.

Noting that the other assessment in the QS includes the university's academic reputation, employer reputation, and the number of international students in the campus, Kee expressed hope that the university would be able to achieve good scores.

"During my tenure as the deputy VC, I have worked closely with deans of the faculties here to oversee more than 60 home-grown degrees in the university – from Foundation to PhD programmes.

"For the last four years, we were doing well in becoming a comprehensive university offering various types of courses," he said.

He noted that the university's strength lies in their health science programmes, including Bachelor of Optometry (Hons), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) and Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons).

On the question whether SEGi plans to enter the foreign market, Kee said, "we have no plans to establish universities overseas – SEGi's plan is to strengthen in Malaysia, in our four campuses in Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya, Penang and Sarawak."

However, Kee noted that SEGi looks to collaborate with groups and universities overseas in franchising its programmes abroad.

"We have started to franchise our MBA programmes in two universities in Vietnam, namely Hanoi Open University and Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics and Finance," he said.

SEGi also plans to increase the number of international students from 5,000 to 10,000 in the next three years.

"Our strategy is clear – to bring in more students and franchise the programmes from the university."