UC Hosts Faculty Forum:

UC Hosts Faculty Forum:

“Dialogue on the Future of Higher Education: Major Trends and Implications for Cambodia”


The University of Cambodia (UC) hosted an engaging UC Faculty Forum entitled "Dialogue on the Future of Higher Education: Major Trends and Implications for Cambodia" on August 2 with Associate Professor Katherine Marshall, Visiting Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Cambodia; and former Counselor, The World Bank. H.E. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, President of UC and Adviser to Samdech Techo Prime Minister Hun Sen, chaired the forum and said that the purpose of the forum was to look at the future of the university education at both the international and national level, as well as to help UC faculty members develop skills so they can effectively deliver knowledge to students. Instructors from the six Colleges and staff from the academic offices were in attendance, as well as UC Executive members.

Associate Professor Katherine Marshall discussed the global trends in higher education and implications for Cambodia during her address. First, she emphasized that "success is an outstanding education system" and noted that there is no country in the world that has made progress without an outstanding education system and without a passion for providing equitable access to quality education.

"Priorities are education, education, education," said Associate Professor Marshall.

"There is no development without education, and inequities matter more than ever before. . .It is a human right to have equal access to higher education."

She noted that the world is seeing a revolution in education. Educators need to rethink their pedagogical approach to teaching because technology has influenced the thought processes and thinking of the younger generation, she argued. Moreover, there is more raw and fierce competition between students and between institutions around the world. In particular, there is growing disparity between institutions of education with access to resources and those which do not have access to resources. She also emphasized that there is a much higher premium on creativity and innovation for graduating university students. Students need to be able to think critically and independently, and they will not be able to keep up with their peers if they do not learn how to learn, she added.

The last main point Associate Professor Marshall addressed was that of educational institutions as a center of integrity and values. She stated that higher education institutions can serve as a catalyst to change the reputation of governments, from that of being corrupt to not being corrupt, and noted that there is a high correlation between honest and good governance and good success at educational institutions. She also stressed that an outstanding university faculty is known for its high-quality research, and encouraged instructors to instill service learning in a way that is linked to the community and to seek learning opportunities from "global openness."

Prior to opening the floor for questions, Dr. Kao emphasized that a priority at UC is to "keep on doing things better." He stated that UC is committed to upholding its values and integrity, and that there is a no cheating and plagiarism policy at the University. The University is also committed to pursuing original ideas in research and providing better services to its students, including offering opportunities for students to join student organizations on campus. He noted that the University awards faculty members for outstanding work on an annual basis and is in the process of creating a fund to support faculty and student research. Furthermore, he added, there is major pressure for educational reform in Cambodia and a new culture of learning in the country, but there is a need for more resources.

A number of UC instructors and staff members engaged in dialogue with Associate Professor Marshall on issues relevant to improving their instruction, ranging from creative thinking skills of students to barriers to instructional change inside the classroom. Associate Professor Marshall encouraged instructors to use technology as a way to improve teaching at UC because it has transformed expectations in many fields, including education. She also noted that instructors need to recognize that students have different learning styles, so instructors should accommodate these styles by differentiating their instruction. Finally, she encouraged instructors to use positive reinforcements with students because research findings indicate that people respond better to this than to negative ones.

The University is committed to providing high-quality learning opportunities to its faculty and staff members through interactive and engaging faculty forums. It is deeply honored to have hosted this forum with Associate Professor Katherine Marshall, who has participated in the UC Faculty Forum as a distinguished lecturer for the past several years.