Thursday, 27 November 2014

DR GHAZALLY ISMAIL IS FOUNDING VICE CHANCELLOR FOR UNIVERSITY COLLEGE SABAH FOUNDATION

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Ghazally Ismail

Ghazally Ismail

Kota Kinabalu : 19 Nov 2013/ Professor Dr Ghazally Ismail has been announced as the founding Vice Chancellor of the University College Sabah Foundation.  A well-known academician in national and international circles with an illustrious background, He received his Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology in 1977 from Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA.  Upon his return to Malaysia, he pursued a keen interest in unraveling the pathogenic mechanisms of a number of bacterial and parasitic diseases in the Tropics. He is widely acclaimed by his peers as a reputable scientist who pioneered research works on the pathogenic mechanism of a frequently misdiagnosed but fatal bacterial disease called melioidosis. 

Though trained as a medical immunologist, he is also a passionate naturalist and an ardent environmental advocate. He was instrumental in the establishment of the University Kebangsaan Malaysia Sabah Campus (UKMS) where he served as the Dean of Science for a number of years during his stint in Sabah from 1981-1993. Through his sustained enthusiasm in SCUBA diving and rainforest expeditions, Dr Ghazally has contributed immensely in the research and conservation of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems in Borneo. He has served as the Chairman of Danum Valley Field Research Centre and was also one of the prime movers in the establishment of the Rafflesia forest reserve in the Crocker Range of Sabah. A prolific writer, he has published widely in both technical journals and popular magazines in areas not only related to his own discipline of medical immunology but also on nature education and conservation of Bornean flora and fauna.

Dr. Ghazally left the Malaysian academia as Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) where he was also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Services. Later, in collaboration with the Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology (MIT) USA, he helped to found and establish a private university in Kuala Lumpur, The Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST) as its first Vice President.

In the past 4 years, he has lived in New Zealand spending his time travelling and writing for magazines and books on managing university research, environmental conservation and nature. But the offer to return to Sabah and pioneer the formation of another university was too good to miss. Today, he briefed the University College’s Board of Directors on the concept and strategy he has in mind about UCSF. According to him, he wants to see UCSF developing into a boutique green university. This can be achieved only if, from the outset, the university refrains from offering all the conventional study disciplines available at other universities in the country today. Instead, it will be a boutique university that focuses on a few areas deemed able to raise its reputation to international prominence in a short time.

UCSF will be branded as a “Green University.” It will offer teaching and research programs aimed at achieving sustainability. Our decision to become a green university is compelling. In the past three decades, the digital revolution has changed much of the way we live, work and interact with each other. The unprecedented advancement of information and communication technology will continue to make new changes in the way humankind function individually and socially. At the same time, a new revolution seems looming in the horizon. The biological revolution is next and set to follow suit.  This however will be hugely dependent on how we leverage on the wealth and diversity of our own biological resources. Sabah’s edge is in its biodiversity. UCSF must seek to ride on the crests of advancing waves of this new biological revolution or get left behind.

Prof Ghazallys feels it most important for the university to develop learning and research areas based on the strengths and opportunities of Sabah. But the graduates of UCSF are targeted for the regional and global markets besides meeting the needs of Sabah. For a start, four Faculties will be establishment based on Sabah’s own strengths including biodiversity, multiculturalism, rapid development and urbanisation. Across the board, the four Faculties will spread the green messages in all their teaching and research programs. The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Sustainability would bring back the glory of biology through research on Sabah’s biodiversity and varied ecosystems. The other faculties would also be established based on the pressing needs of human capital in Sabah and the surrounding regions of growth. They are the Faculty of Development Science, Faculty of Creative Arts and Multimedia and Faculty of Management and Entreprenology. (By: Liza Din)

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