By Shukran Abd Rahman
The term academia refers to a broad population of people associated with educational services. It presents a good interplay of service providers, activities, and the workforce at all levels. The Oxford Dictionary refers the word ‘academia’ to the environment or community concerned with the pursuit of research, education, and scholarship. The community includes students, researchers, professors, as well as administrators, and managers in the field of education especially in universities or higher learning institutions.
Higher education managers or management professionals are an essential part of academia. They form a remarkably critical group of academic professionals in a university and are commonly known as higher education professionals or HEPROs. Teichler (2003) described them as highly qualified non-academic members whose job descriptions encompass tasks, duties, and responsibilities that provide support to university functions.
They have a specific set of job specifications accounted for by specialised knowledge, skills, and abilities in managing higher education services. HEPROs are academic professionals who are not ordinary managers who deal with clerical or general managerial tasks but are specialists who manage, facilitate and support the delivery of the university’s intellectual, social, and educational functions.
There are many jobs that fall under the category of HEPROs, the commonly received attention are university registrar, bursar, administrative officer, academic librarian, residential college manager, student development officer, research officer, system analyst, security officer, ICT personnel, counsellors, public relations officers, to name a few. They work in offices that manage student admission, academic records, student registration, quality assurance, university personnel management, institutional planning and development, student affairs, student development, research management, academic publication, university financial matters, counselling, student accommodation, and other necessary services.
In a university, HEPROs play vital roles in providing a supportive ambiance for knowledge generation and dissemination. They have been working hand in hand with academics and academic leaders in ensuring the proper implementation of academic activities and accomplishing institutional missions. They help plan, organise, or manage the core activities in higher education services. They facilitate and support the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of academics (e.g lecturers, researchers, etc) as well as academic administrators (e.g as vice-chancellor, deans, deputy deans, heads of the department, etc). Indeed, HEPROs have crucial roles in facilitating scholarship development, as well as developing the workforce and citizens for the country.
In acknowledging the significant roles of our HEPROs, we wish to register our sincerest appreciations to Dato’ Abdul Rahim Ahmad who recently completed his service as Executive Director of Management Service Division (MSD); and Dato’ Ahmad Zailan Shaari who retired from serving as Executive Director of Finance Division. Happy retirement to Dato’ Abdul Rahim and Dato’ Ahmad Zailan.
We would like to congratulate Madam Hajjah Fazidah Hj. Bakhtiar on her appointment as the new Executive Director of MSD and Madam Naaimah Ahmad Radzi on her appointment as the Executive Director of the Finance Division. ***
(Prof. Dr. Shukran Abdul Rahman is the Dean of AHAS KIRKHS and an academic in the Department of Psychology, AHAS KIRKHS)
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