The recent outcomes of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings highlighted the fact that all the six indicators assessed have human factors imbued in them and this is the fact that is recognised by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

USM has been aware of the importance of the human factor or talent development in its strategic planning exercise more than a decade ago. Being an essential aspect in the implementation of strategies within organisations, positive human interaction necessitates the move forward in relation to growth and expansion.

HUMAN-LED growth is what USM is aspiring to nurture, both for the advancement and development of the organisation and the nation. As the nation is facing challenges which are leading to exponential growth in the future, it would be more crucial for the human factor to be able to function and adapt with each new wave of challenges. Humans fear what they don’t know, and when it comes to future trends, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a worry for many. There are groups of people who are worried that they would be replaced with machines and automatons in the future, with the workplace being one of the areas.

This is a scenario which has been anticipated by the university and which the university has been gearing towards. Talent development and empowerment has been on the university’s mind for quite some time. The current rankings have attested to this. USM has jumped up 66 positions from the implementation of various people-centric activities, in addition to its well-renowned academic programmes and research outcomes.

Students at USM have undergone the HEBAT (Holistic, Entrepreneurial, Balanced, Articulate, Thinker) programme in developing their talents and shaping them to become well-rounded graduates. USM is also looking into broadening the horizons of its students with the ‘One Student, One Passport’ plan. Programmes involving both students and staff have also been implemented, in the forms of cooperation and collaborations, volunteerism efforts as well as social work involving other parties.

We at USM believe that it is necessary for the higher education institutions to work together towards attaining greater further recognition, at the same time further strengthening the humanitarian aspect. There are many fields of study currently available which are multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary in nature, integrating and combining from a multitude of perspectives. Collective success would provide a broader impact to all parties involved. As the institutions are pushing for growth in academic and research, they should also be promoting long-term humanistic values.

As the world continues to further push boundaries and becomes more technologically-inclined, it is necessary for mankind to be empowered for the next revolution. USM believes in advances which are human-led, as can be seen in the motto of the university, ‘We Lead’.

Text: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin

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