Former Vice President Academic Affairs returns as Vice-Chancellor.
Nilai University (Nilai U) recently announced the appointment of Professor Dato’ Dr Sothi Rachagan as its Vice-Chancellor, effective 5 May 2015. Dr Sothi first joined Nilai U in 2005 as Vice-President (Academic Affairs) and was a key member of the team under the leadership of then Vice-Chancellor Professor Emeritus Tengku Shamsul Bahrin that quickly lead Nilai College to become a university college in 2007, a full-fledged university in 2009 and to be rated by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency in 2012 as a Setara 5 (Excellent) University. He left to join Perdana University as Vice-Chancellor in 2013.
His return to Nilai U will see an emphasis on the concept of Total Student Experience. He explains it as “the notion that learning takes place within and beyond the classroom; students’ time spent in higher education is about a whole range of experiences. All aspects of students' university experience have an impact on their learning experience.”
“It is our duty to help each student achieve his or her full potential and have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieve his or her ambition and to contribute to the well-being of society. We will improve each aspect of the student’s experience at Nilai University,” he explains.
One area he worked on during his earlier stint with Nilai University was to increase the variety of specially-designed modules, workshops and extra-curricular activities that are offered to our students. Students are counselled to take modules outside of their core field of study to meet their individual development needs, including in public speaking, ethics or even theatre and acting.
He also put in place a system of enhanced certification. Our students earn additional qualifications from such international professional bodies as the ACCA, CIMA, ICEAW, MAICSA and the SAP Universities Alliance. In the area of soft skills students get certification from such bodies as the Dale Carnegie Institute, the Outward Bound School and Mizuno Golf School. This is to ensure that students have a comparative advantage when they leave university and seek employment.
Nilai University hosts the annual Future Leaders Camp as a platform to train students with potential to become prominent leaders of tomorrow. Open to students from both public and private universities across the country, this event has become a fixture in the academic calendar. It provides students opportunities to develop their soft skills and network with future leaders from other institutions of higher learning.
“Through the emphasis on all aspects of our students experience we will equip our students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to face the challenges that working and adult life will pose them. Emphasis on academic excellence, pastoral care and the total student experience will ensure the “Enrichment for Life” of our students.”
The increasing competition in the higher education sector does not daunt Dr Sothi. He points out that Nilai U has strong financial credentials as it is owned by the Nilai Resources Group and FELDA. Nilai Resources which developed the township of Bandar Baru Nilai is doing very well in property development. It also has a four-star Nilai Springs Resort Hotel, the Nilai Springs Golf and Country Club and the Nilai International School.
The veteran academic also firmly believes that Nilai U has successfully carved out a niche for itself in the education landscape. This is in no small part due to highly specialised programmes such as the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, which Dr Sothi was instrumental in helping set up in 2008. “The Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programmes have shown that niche courses can be very successful and attract a high number of applications if the institution backs it up with first-rate teaching facilities,” he says, highlighting the purpose-built hangar with two aircraft that is on Nilai U campus.
Both the academic and administrative staff of the university appreciates very much his inclusive yet definitive approach to management. They are delighted that he is back where he belongs.
Dr Sothi holds a BA (Malaya), Postgrad Diploma of Arts (Otago), MA (Otago), LLM (Bristol), and PhD (London). He is a Barrister of Law (Lincoln’s Inn) and an Advocate and Solicitor (Malaya). Prior to his joining the Nilai College as Vice President (Academic Affairs) in 2005 he had served as Dean of the Faculty of Law, University Malaya and the Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of Consumers International. In 2013 he became the Vice Chancellor of Perdana University. He continues as a Member of the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) and is the Chair of its Committee on Advocacy, positions he has held since the inception of the MyCC in 2012.
For more information on Nilai U and its programmes, please go to www.nilai.edu.my or call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336.
Nilai University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato' Dr Sothi Rachagan.