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New Academia

The changing dynamics of university education in response to a competitive global environment call for a redefinition of the role of universities in relation to institutional goals, functional operations and service offerings.  Within the context of a knowledge-based economy, universities are expected to play a significant role in wealth generation and economic development and not just confined to knowledge creation and human capital development. This paper presents a comprehensive institutional transformation occurring in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) that promotes mindset change and more impactful working functions and strategic engagements within and across disciplines, institutions and geopolitical boundaries.  Based on the concept of the ‘New Academia’, UTM is set to become an Entrepreneurial Research University characterised by quality education rooted in deep knowledge culture, high impact contribution and value-driven initiatives.  The notion of the New Academia adopted by UTM promotes new and fresh dimensions to knowledge culture which view knowledge not as a mere ‘commodity’ or ‘technique’ towards achieving short term goals, but as an integrated model of knowledge advancement across disciplines and beyond boundaries where knowledge acquisition, application and dissemination happen in a more dynamic, vibrant and enriching way based on practicality, smart partnership, meaningful engagements and relevant exposure that would bring benefits beyond conventional paradigms. The ‘New Academia’ aims to make higher education more efficient and effective, and integrated into socio-economic development for many countries, particularly developing nations. The criteria of the ‘New Academia’ are summarised in the table below:

Criteria of New Academia




New Academia
1. Faculty Professor Professors, entrepreneurs, inventors, policy makers, practitioners.



Books, journals Books, journals, experience, case study, failures, internet, field work.



Specialisation, sub- specialisation, expertise Integration, meaning, wisdom
4. Funding Government grants, study fees Government grants, study fees, endowment, venture captital, investment income, joint ventures.
5. Students School-leavers, mid-career School-leavers, mid-career, early career, businessmen, professionals, life-long learning.
6. Learning Location Campus, internet Campus, internet, incubators, companies, field work, brand.
7. Learning Mode Lecture, toturial, labs, studio Lectures, tutorial, labs, studios, internship, incubator, experiential learning, “5 Minds.”
8. Academic Output Academic certificates, expertise Academic certificates, expertise, business model, networks, work culture

As can be seen, the concept of “New Academia” advocated here generates new philosophy from a sub-specialization to integration; new partners from academic fraternity to society at large particularly industry and entrepreneurs; new methodologies from chalk-and-talk to experiential learning and global outreach programmes; new outcomes from academic certificates and expertise to business models, while promoting strong work ethics, solid financial capital and distinct cultural literacy.

The ‘New Academia’ entails the importance of good governance, steady funding sources and entrepreneurial spirit to make it a reality. In other words, the New Academia attempts to create an organisational culture that is geared towards impactful performance supported by diverse and interdisciplinary knowledge integration, strong entrepreneurial spirit, intense innovative and creative culture aimed towards capacity building in advancing UTM as a premier Entrepreneurial Research University.