Curtin Malaysia: A vanguard of innovation and excellence in learning and teaching

Nestled in the heart of Malaysia, Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) stands as a beacon of educational excellence. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Curtin Malaysia marks a quarter-century as Curtin University’s earliest and largest global campus. Throughout these years, it has been at the forefront of delivering top-tier undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs across diverse disciplines including business, engineering, science and technology, humanities, and health sciences, alongside pre-university courses leading to its undergraduate programmes.

With a legacy spanning over two decades, Curtin Malaysia has honed unparalleled expertise in providing high-quality education. Its extensive experience in shaping minds and futures has solidified its position as a regional leader in tertiary education, setting benchmarks for academic excellence and earning accolades both nationally and internationally.

Curtin Malaysia’s commitment to excellence is not merely a claim but a proven reality. Consistently achieving high ratings in prestigious assessments such as the Malaysian Research Assessment Instrument (MyRA) and the Malaysian Higher Education Institutions Integrated Rating (SETARA), Curtin Malaysia exemplifies an unwavering dedication to quality education. Furthermore, Curtin’s strong performance across all its campuses in global university rankings reinforces Curtin Malaysia’s reputation as a premier institution of learning.

Accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and numerous professional bodies both nationally and internationally, Curtin Malaysia is a symbol of academic integrity and excellence. Its meticulously crafted programmes meet the highest standards, ensuring graduates are equipped with globally recognised and valued skills and knowledge.

Supporting academics and their professional development

Curtin Malaysia’s success is deeply rooted in its progressive approach to learning and teaching. Under visionary leadership, the institution continuously adapts to the ever-evolving educational landscape, ensuring students receive a transformative learning experience.

Central to Curtin Malaysia’s ethos is a commitment to Curtin University’s core values, which prioritise teaching as a fundamental mission. Recognising the critical role of its faculty, Curtin Malaysia places significant emphasis on supporting academic staff and their ongoing professional development. Through various initiatives, the university empowers its educators to excel, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

“At Curtin Malaysia, teaching is viewed as a core business, and we are committed to valuing, prioritising, and supporting our academics’ ongoing professional development,” said Professor Tang Fu Ee, Dean of Learning and Teaching at Curtin Malaysia.

Support for academic staff is multifaceted, encompassing Peer Review of Education Practice (PREP) reviews, continuous professional development workshops and training, the Innovation and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (iSOLT) programme, and Advance HE Fellowships.

PREP promotes teaching excellence by enhancing and assuring teaching quality. Conducted by trained and accredited staff familiar with Curtin’s Academic Capability Framework, PREP reviews examine a broad spectrum of activities associated with learning and teaching in higher education.

The Learning Innovation and Teaching Excellence Centre (LITEC), based at Curtin’s main campus in Perth, offers a variety of workshops to support the professional development of academic staff. These workshops cover university learning and teaching practices, leadership, and the iSOLT programme.

iSOLT employs a systematic, rigorous, and reflective approach to improving student learning. It helps academics implement the most effective teaching methods to ensure students receive the best possible education. An example of iSOLT in action is conducting active research in the classroom, where different teaching approaches are applied and their impact on student experience is analysed.

Dr. Joseph Sia, a recipient of funding from Curtin Malaysia’s Teaching Innovation Project (CMTIP), expressed his gratitude for the support. “I would like to thank our Office of Learning and Teaching for awarding us CMTIP funds to carry out research. Engaging in scholarly research has enriched my learning and teaching journey. Through continuous professional development, I have incorporated pedagogical approaches and evidence-based methodologies into my teaching repertoire, ensuring that my practices remain effective for Generation Z students.”

Pursuing Advance Higher Education Fellowships

The Office of Learning and Teaching actively encourages academics to pursue prestigious Advance Higher Education (Advance HE) fellowships. These fellowships are awarded based on evidence of professional practice that meets the requirements of the Professional Standards Framework, Advance HE’s global standards framework for the higher education sector. An Advance HE fellowship demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and provides recognition of practice, impact, and leadership in teaching and learning.

There are four categories of fellowship that recognise and reflect the diverse roles of those who teach and support learning in higher education: Associate Fellowship (AFHEA), Fellowship (FHEA), Senior Fellowship (SFHEA), and Principal Fellowship (PFHEA).

“Curtin Malaysia is proud to be an Advance HE-accredited institution that supports its academics towards fellowship. We also have the second-highest number of fellows across all categories in Malaysia,” said Professor Tang.

As an Advance HE-accredited institution, Curtin Malaysia is deeply involved in Advance HE affairs. Its Advance HE fellows were featured in the March 2024 Global Relay, sharing their journeys and reflections with international peers. Several Senior Fellows participated in Malaysia’s Senior Fellows Network to explore how they could further influence and impact their higher education institutions (HEIs), collaborate to build a network of practitioners, and celebrate best practices across the education sector in the region.

Curtin Malaysia’s Advance HE fellows have also participated in panel discussions on advancing excellent learning and teaching practices. Senior Fellow Dr. Anita Jimmie shared how she has benefited from her Advance HE journey and the mentoring support provided by Advance HE.

“Introspection into one’s teaching methods involves reflecting on past experiences, successes, and areas for improvement. This process encouraged me to step back, reflect, and assess how I can enhance my skills as an educator,” said Dr. Anita.

“Reflection necessitates active engagement, often sparking inventive and imaginative teaching approaches in the classroom. Applying for a Senior Fellowship, for instance, was a challenging process that required a critical examination and reflection on key areas, alongside demonstrating a thorough knowledge of teaching practices. One key piece of advice for success is to seek out a supportive and encouraging mentor who can offer fresh perspectives and valuable advice during your application,” she added.

Students as active participants in the learning journey

Prof. Tang highlighted one of Curtin Malaysia’s distinctive learning and teaching practices: the integration of currency and cutting-edge industry knowledge into its curricula. Students are active participants in their learning journey, with their input highly valued and incorporated into curriculum development for continuous quality improvement.

Curtin Malaysia’s success in producing highly sought-after graduates is a testament to the quality of its teaching and learning. “For the second consecutive year, Talentbank named us one of the Employers’ Choice of Universities in 2024, following their National Graduate Employability Index 2024 survey. This recognition underscores our commitment to excellence in education and its effectiveness in preparing students for their careers, particularly in fields like chemical engineering and finance,” said Prof. Tang.

Student testimonials further validate its commitment to quality education. Erina Bulan Paran, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management student, emphasised the importance of quality teaching in enhancing her understanding and confidence in her studies.

Similarly, Mary Grace Jun Ngau Wan, a Bachelor of Commerce in Public Relations and Management student, praised the experienced and approachable lecturers at the Faculty of Business. She highlighted the supportive environment that encourages open discussions and collaboration among peers and lecturers, fostering personal and academic growth.

Mary also shared how her internship experience in industry complemented her coursework, allowing her to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, enhance her skills, and make meaningful contributions to projects.

She added that she was impressed by the quality of the learning and teaching she received at Curtin Malaysia. “Throughout my time here, I have always felt valued and respected due to the teaching approaches and course materials that actively incorporate diverse perspectives and address issues of inclusivity. As a Sarawakian, this experience has been invaluable, teaching me not only to appreciate my own culture but also to embrace and respect the cultures of others,” said Mary.

Final-year Environmental Engineering student New Wei Xuen praised the exceptional teaching quality and calibre of lecturers at Curtin Malaysia, emphasising their pivotal role in supporting students through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The first two years of my course were spent online, but with their vast expertise and commitment, my lecturers seamlessly adapted to remote learning environments, ensuring that educational standards remained high,” said New.

He commended the lecturers for utilising innovative teaching methods and technologies to maintain engagement and foster interactive learning experiences. Their approachable and supportive demeanour provided much-needed reassurance and guidance to students, prioritising both academic progress and personal well-being.

Second-year Bachelor of Computing (Cyber Security) student Kenzon Yeoh, who is visually impaired, described his learning experience and the quality of teaching as excellent. “The lecturers are engaging, approachable, and skilled at what they do. It’s also beneficial that many of them have extensive industrial experience and can provide industry perspectives,” said Yeoh.

“What stands out the most is the fact that the lecturers genuinely care and strive to help and encourage students, which is particularly meaningful to me, having faced rejection from dozens of other universities due to my impairment,” he added.

Meanwhile, final-year Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering student Yiek Siew Teck highlighted the dynamism of learning and teaching at Curtin Malaysia, shaped by the diverse approaches of individual lecturers. “Each lecturer brings their unique style and expertise to the classroom, contributing to a rich tapestry of learning experiences. This approach ensures that students are well-informed and well-equipped to tackle the diverse challenges of their chosen fields,” said Yiek.

Yiek also emphasised the importance of effective communication throughout the programme, recognising its vital role in professional settings. He expressed confidence that the knowledge and skills acquired at Curtin Malaysia will be immensely valuable in his future career.

Another standout aspect of learning and teaching at Curtin Malaysia, according to Yiek, is the accessibility of resources and facilities. The modern, multi-storey library and extensive online resources provide students with a wealth of academic materials, facilitating research and exam preparation. Additionally, the availability of study rooms and learning commons enhances the learning environment, allowing students to focus on their studies.

Awards and recognition

Curtin Malaysia’s commitment to excellence extends beyond borders, with its academics honoured with international teaching and education research awards. Examples include Professor Tang being inducted as an Associate Fellow in the Curtin Academy, Dr. Wong Kwong Soon from the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering being awarded a Learning and Teaching Team Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning by the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University, and Dr. Tan Inn Shi from the Department of Chemical and Energy Engineering winning the Curtin Teaching Excellence Award for University Associates in 2022.

In 2023, Associate Dean of Research and Development at the Faculty of Business, Dr. Tiong Ying Ying, and her research team received the LITEC Curtin Academy Innovation and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Grant. Associate Professor Sujan Debnath from the Department of Mechanical Engineering was awarded the Curtin Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence for University Associates. Additionally, Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Associate Professor Raymond Chiong, received the Curtin Award for Outstanding Contribution to Learning and Teaching – Individual, Global.

Advancing Learning and Teaching through conferences

To further enhance learning and teaching at Curtin Malaysia, the campus will host the International Conference on Higher Education Learning and Teaching 2024 (ICHELT 2024) on October 3 and 4, 2024, as part of Curtin Malaysia’s 25th anniversary celebrations. ICHELT 2024 will serve as a premier forum for presenting new advances and research in higher education, as well as the innovative use of digital technologies for learning, teaching, and assessments. The conference will bring together leading researchers and educators from around the world, and all academics are welcome to participate. More information can be found at

Curtin Malaysia’s focus on professional development and innovation enables Curtin Malaysia to stay at the forefront of educational trends and best practices, ensuring that its teaching methods remain relevant and effective in a rapidly evolving landscape.

As a result, Curtin Malaysia is positioned to provide a world-class education that meets the needs of a diverse student population, preparing them to succeed in an increasingly globalised world. By consistently delivering exceptional learning experiences tailored to individual students, Curtin Malaysia solidifies its reputation as a leading institution in the region, attracting top talent and fostering a culture of excellence and innovation. Ultimately, this dedication to excellence in education ensures that Curtin Malaysia remains a destination of choice for students seeking a transformative learning experience.