Foundation Year Program

 

Strategic Plan 2009-2015

Introduction
The Academic Foundation Department of the University of Cambodia aims to build on its progress, since it was first established in 2005 and registered and recognized by the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia (ACC) (ACC: number 34/05), and it subsequently received Full Accreditation Certificate for Academic Years 2006-9 (Decision Number 129/07, dated September 3rd, 2007). Thus AFD’s goal is to reinforce its position as a leading provider of Foundation Year studies for new Bachelor's degree students, as the first, transitional component in the University of Cambodia's undergraduate degree programs.
 
The following is a proposed plan, produced by the AFD Curriculum Development Committee, to further enhance the Foundation Year Program by (1) strengthening its institutional development; (2) engaging faculty whose teaching will encourage and inspire students to learn and understand the importance of the Foundation Year courses; (3) building up the management team of AFD to respond to the needs of students; and (4) carrying out regular seminars on the Foundation-Year Program and to receive feedback from students.
 
Vision
To live up to its name and provide students of Cambodia with the strongest foundations for getting the most out of their time as undergraduate students in terms of not just the knowledge acquired through instruction but also a broader understanding about how to acquire knowledge independently and how to assimilate it into their existing corpus of information and ideas to generate new insights.
 
Mission
To make the Vision a reality there is a need to encourage the students to develop confidence and independence, together with the necessary thirst for knowledge and deeper understanding. In turn, this requires them to be encouraged to ask questions and then seek answers to these questions, so that they can refine and extend their understanding of the world around them, in general, and their chosen field in particular.  
 
Such aspirations require the need for qualified and committed staff and instructors, ones who manifest the same qualities as we desire to nurture in our students. In addition, this requires reinforcement by identifying and using the best teaching materials. Because the Foundation Year is an integral part of the undergraduate degree program, there is a need for consultation and cooperation with the Associate Deans (ADs) of the different colleges and others who are involved in the individual degree programs, and who thus have a more specific and in-depth knowledge of their particular fields. Thus, the AFD must serve as a bridge, to ease the transition from a high-school learning environment to a more academically rigorous one.
 
This will be achieved through Orientation activities and a commitment to providing advice on academic matters whenever it is sought: to educate new students about what is expected of them in higher education, so that they are encouraged to overcome self-doubts about their capacities and/or helped to realize their responsibilities regarding the work ethic expected of them. In turn, the AFD should serve as one conduit for feedback, to help further improve our undergraduate programs.
 
Objectives     
      
1.     To provide students with a foundation of knowledge (through teaching with the support of texts in our Foundation Year Library and internet resources) shaped by the general demands of academic study, as well as the specific requirements of their chosen majors;
2.    To provide ready access for instructors to these Foundation Year texts and internet resources, so that they can better plan their courses and suggest how to improve them in order to ameliorate the overall program as an integrated whole.
3.    To promote understanding of matters such as the Credit System and related policy decisions through Orientation Sessions.
4.     To ensure that students adapt to university life socially and academically, so that those from the provinces can better adjust to living in the city and studying at the University.
 
Action Plan
The following action plan will allow the AFD to meet its vision and objectives. It has been divided into two components:
 
      a. Current and Ongoing; and
           b. Long-term, where there will be progressive implementation to build upon what we have achieved
          to date.
 
However, the AFD reserves the right to change or amend the action plan based on any other changes in our Bachelor’s degree programs, or on the changing demands of Cambodian society.
 
Current and Ongoing Action Plan
  1. Facilitate enrollment or registration procedures for prospective new students.
  2. Provide FY students with ready access to academic counseling and to study materials, including a ‘FY Corner’ with all of the basic resources.
  3. Improve liaison and consultation with other members of the academic staff, so that there is mutual understanding, and thus the mission and its objectives can be better achieved because all understand what is involved.
  4. Reinforce the students' understanding of the Foundation Year as a bridge from what was expected of them at high school to what is now expected of them at the University of Cambodia, and the ultimate relevance of its structure to their Bachelor’s program.
  5. Familiarize the students with the credit system and the grading system; and with the University's Code of Conduct, together with what we expect of our staff and our students.
  6. Conduct regular seminars (e.g. Orientation Seminars at the start of each term) and workshops to promote student research and learning skills; and thus inculcate the need for life-long learning and the importance of understanding what has been learned and what it means.
  7. Motivate good students through nominating them for awards at the end of their Foundation Year.
  8. Identify students who are falling behind (through poor attendance, poor exam grades) and counsel them so that they are encouraged to try to perform better.
Long-term Action Plan
  1. Continue ongoing efforts to upgrade Foundation Year courses, to take into account:
a.  feedback from students and faculty;
b. inputs from ACC and other regulatory bodies;
c.  the availability of new textbooks and other teaching materials;
d. new research findings on best educational practice;
e.  new advances in the fields covered by these courses;
f.   the requirements of Cambodian society; and
g. programs elsewhere in Cambodia and overseas, including universities and institutes of higher education in partner countries. 
        2.  Upgrade the range of study materials available in the ‘FY Corner’.  In recognition of the    need for our Foundation Year students to adapt to being taught in English, especially in subjects outside their major (where their motivation to learn is potentially compromised by language difficulties – something which has become obvious in our polls of student-feedback), we plan to prepare a set of Khmer-English glossaries for certain subjects (e.g. Statistics, IT) to ease their transition to an all-English medium of teaching.
                 3.  Help encourage existing instructors (for example, by conducting regular seminars and             
                      workshops to upgrade their teaching abilities), and also to attract new instructors of good quality.
                 4.  Encourage students to participate and play active roles in the UC Debate Club and UC Student
                      Senate to promote a sense of community as well as for their own individual benefit.
                 5.  Encourage students to participate in seminars, workshops or conferences hosted by the
                      University or by appropriate outside agencies, so that they can foster their networking skills,
                      public speaking skills as well as increasing their knowledge and broadening their outlook.
                 6.  Encourage students to think ahead about their future careers and how they can best achieve
                      their aspirations and ambitions.
                 7.  Identify social and community developments, in concert with the Student Senate, and
                      encourage  student participation so that they better realize their duties and responsibilities
                      to society-at-large.
                 8.  Periodically review progress and fine-tune actions and activities as a result.
                 9.  Increase marketing and promotion of the FY program, in order to increase public
                     awareness thereby increase student enrolment.
 
Phnom Penh, 28th January 2009
  
 Dr. Angus D. Munro
 Head, Curriculum Development Committee
                                                     Academic Foundation Department 
                                     University of Cambodia
 

 

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