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An Interview with the Dean

Q. How do you feel being the first Dean of the newly-established Centre for Language Studies of UTHM?

A. Being the first Dean is really an honour, nevertheless it means becoming the pioneer with great responsibilities. Everything needs to be in place, even the setting up of the office, getting new staff, planning as an independent entity and meeting the challenges to be at par with the other faculties and centres. I think, becoming the first, means setting up the qualities to be followed by the successors. Setting the qualities that later become the norm is the real challenge. Among the qualities that certainly will be in place are to be able to become as an independent centre, able to stand on its own, able to generate enough revenue either from demands for language courses, translations, editings or proof readings

Q. What direction would you like CLS to go in?

A. I think, a new centre such as CLS can be metaphorically regarded as a living organism; it needs to survive, reproduce and diversify to create a new colony, which I am convinced that the centre will grow to become a much bigger 1 entity. The first stage is the most challenging, as we start with nothing. We need to be able to survive, fighting for every bit of space and opportunity; even we need to sacrifice of having comfortable and leisure moments. The second stage, definitely we need to reproduce, thus we need to have our own academic programs. We need to have our own degree and postgraduate students. The third stage, I think, where we will diversify, creating new areas such as department of Aboriginal Languages, where we would record all the ethnic languages that we have.

Q. What are your priorities over the next few years during your tenure as the Dean?

A. We will focus our energies on five enduring priorities: 1. Providing language courses and trainings especially for learners 2 not specializing in languages. 2. Using appropriate technology for language learning. 3. Conducting research and development in the field of language teaching and learning. 4. Forming collaborations with other local and foreign universities. 5. Reaching out to the community through various events and programs.

Q. What are your plans to strengthen the teaching and learning of languages in this University?

A. 1. Through effective human resources that all other functions in the language centre – finance, programs, materials, planning can be handled. 2. Staff of language centre to work constructively to resolve issues of common concern (eg. MUET). 3. Academic commitment to developing staff’s expertise through applied UP, CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH...CLS DEAN 3 3 research and willingness to innovate in answering the needs of the University. 4. An emphasis on integrated technology, interaction, ease of access, aesthetic and comfort in highly sophisticated, modern language labs.

Q. As a new entity in the University, what challenges do you see the centre would face in the coming years?

A. The challenges would be: 1. convincing key decision makers among senior university management to support us in our future 4 tasks in developing new programmes, resolving logistical issues, raising money, acquiring and refurbishing space. 2. Motivating staff to co-operate in new ways, overcoming problems and achieving shared goals. 3. Putting twice the effort to be at par with the other faculties and centres. They will always have the advantage, while we will always have a handicap because we start a bit late than them. Therefore, I hope my staff will realize that we simply need to “run” even faster, just to stay with the pace.