Working at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus

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The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus where I taught on the Psychology Undergraduate Degree Programme.

I started working at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysian Campus (UNMC) in December 2013 and I stopped teaching full time in September 2017. I am now an Honorary Assistant Professor with UNMC (i.e I’m no longer paid but I still have a university email address, access to the library and I can conduct research via the university).

About the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

The University of Nottingham’s UK campus (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/) was founded in 1881 and is part of the Russell Group which represents 24 leading British universities. The university is ranked amongst the top 1% of Universities internationally according to the 2013 QS World University Rankings.

Unusually amongst Universities in the UK, Nottingham University has campuses overseas in Malaysia and China. Things aren’t quite as simple as they seem though. Malaysia doesn’t allow foreign companies to invest in the nation without having a local business partner. The University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus is actually majority owned by a Malaysian Conglomerate called Boustead. They started out as a Palm Oil company but have divested into everything from hotels, to universities to property. The palm oil link explains why the campus is just outside of Kuala Lumpur on an old palm tree plantation.

Teaching

There are between 60 to 70 students in each year of our 3 year psychology degree programme. In the UK Psychology is one of the most popular degrees. Psychology is becoming much more popular in Malaysia but there are still obstacles for those interested in studying it. Many parents think it won’t lead to a promising career and there is a general stigma against Psychology. This means that the students who do take a Psychology degree tend to be quite passionate about it.

I taught:

  • First year Social Psychology
  • Second year Statistics
  • An elective module in the third year called ‘An Introduction to Clinical Psychology’
  • First and Second year practicals

I was also a Personal Tutor to about 20 students and I supervised 6 or 7 Final Year Projects each year.

Ethics Chair

I was the ethics representative for our department and later the Chair of the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering Ethics Committee.

Admissions Tutor

I was in charge of the admissions process for the Department of Psychology

Research

I always intended to do more research whilst working at UNMC but I prioritised my clinical work (see below) and found that I ran out of time for research.

Clinical work

When I started at UNMC I discussed how I might combine teaching undergraduate psychology students with clinical work and clinical research. The university has a counselling service and I thought I might be able to add some more clinical services for the students. Alternatively, I thought I’d be able to develop some clinical courses for graduates of our psychology degree programme. I also planned to offer psychological services to members of the public via UNMC’s city centre offices.

Unfortunately, a change of faculty leadership shortly after I arrived meant that it was no longer possible for me to do clinical work with the university. The new concern was that the university would be liable if someone I was working with clinically came to harm. I did put forward the case that people are much more likely to come to harm if you don’t try to help them.

The ban on delivering clinical services via the university meant that I started looking into working independently or with external organisations. Fortunately, the university allows its academics to spend 50 days a year working with external organisations as a way to encourage better relationships with industry.

I used this time to work on a few different projects which you can read about on this blog:

  1. Private Clinical work
  2. Work with Refugees
  3. Improving access to psychological therapies for Malaysians 

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