By Ariani Mohd Nor
“Academia is not a glamorous job,” she says. “It’s usually not anyone’s first career option.
For Dr. Shafizan, being in the academic field, is to have a career that simply never stops learning and having to constantly be a step ahead of your students. “Some of them know things that I don’t, and I know the things that they don’t,” she added.
The secret to her success is hard work. One of the main challenges in her ongoing research, Dr. Shafizan recalls, is the fact that she is a wife and a mother of four young children on top of her academic career. Being a family person and a career woman, having to navigate her tasks and not having them overlapping each other, can be quite strenuous to some and a balance is needed to equalise both work and personal life.
Following the IRKHS Takrim Day 2020 aimed at appreciating the Kulliyyah’s achieving members of the academia, a number of lecturers of the Department of Communication have been conferred various awards for their research and academic dedication.
One of them was Dr. Shafizan Mohamed who was awarded bronze under the High Impact Responsible Research Award. Raised in Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Shafizan graduated from Multimedia University before pursuing her masters in IIUM; then venturing off to Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where she received her doctorate in Communication.
“I did not expect to get this award at all,” Dr. Shafizan said, when asked about her thoughts on receiving the award. “But I am thankful for the award as it motivates me especially in the type of research that I am doing.”
Her research, which circuits around the theme of new media and political communication, aimed at educating people on how media can influence other people – especially how people of influence can use today’s new media to attract audience and garner votes and support, and is still ongoing.
Her thoughts on academic and challenges
Residing in Shah Alam, Dr. Shafizan mentions that the trip from home to work takes quite some time – with traffic and other matters, she might have very limited time being at home.
With that being said, she hopes to make something out of her profession – as a lecturer as well as an academic researcher – by contributing her works as a way to help the society through her data collections and her researches.
“Being a good Muslim has been in my endeavour to learn as much as I teach as the learning process never stops in this line of work,” she added.
Asked about her thoughts on academics, she thinks of how the media has portrayed people working in the academia and how she feels there’s truth in it.
She compares her experience to academicians in the movies. “In movies, people working in the academia have been portrayed as boring with dull characteristics and boring clothing. It’s true, but that’s because our career focuses on knowledge and wisdom that requires reading and more learning.”
Moreover, as a Muslim scholar, especially in IIUM, an educator’s responsibility is more than just teaching and learning; educators should strive to build a society that is moralised, ethical and Islamic. Thus, she added, inserting Islamic values when teaching is also as important.
Her goals to motivate students
To many Communication students, Dr. Shafizan is known for her inside jokes and her off-record remarks in class.
In response to this, Dr. Shafizan says that learning from her students is just as important as learning for her students.
“It is important to always motivate them to keep on learning.” ***