On 4th of May 2018, the Pro Vice Chancellor – International of the University of East Anglia (UEA), Prof Philip Gilmartin, as well as the Head of UEA International, Karen Blackney, visited Sunway University for a meeting on existing and potential collaborations. They were received by Prof Pua Eng Chong, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Sunway University, together with Prof Naveed Ahmed Khan - Head of Department of Biological Sciences, Prof Poh Chit Laa – Head of Centre for Virus and Vaccine Research, Assoc Prof Dr Alvin Ng – Head of Department of Psychology, and Dr Jane Teh – Head of Actuarial Science and Risk.
L-R: Karen Blackney (Head, UEA International), Prof. Naveed Ahmed Khan (HOD, Biological Sciences), Dr Jane Teh (HOD, Actuarial Science and Risk), Prof Poh Chit Laa (Head, Centre for Virus and Vaccine Research), Prof Pua Eng Chong (Deputy Vice Chancellor), Prof Philip Gilmartin (UEA Pro Vice Chancellor – International), A/Prof Alvin Ng (HOD, Psychology) and Carolyn Leong (Regional Manager – SE Asia UEA Office).
Part of the meeting discussed the progress of current collaborations between the Department of Psychology at Sunway University and UEA. The most recent development was the articulation agreement signed in April 2018 that allows students from the Sunway BSc (Hons) in Psychology Programme to transfer over to the BSc in Psychology and its variants at UEA, on a 1+2 programme.
Current collaborations based on the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities include the successful partnership between the Department of Psychology at Sunway University and the Norwich Medical School at UEA. This partnership has been active since 2015 and Prof Kenneth Laidlaw, Head of the UEA Department of Clinical Psychology, and Prof Siân Coker have been making annual visits to Sunway University to give talks to psychology students interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in clinical psychology at UEA. They have both been made Adjunct Professors of the School of Science and Technology and in return, Prof Nigel Marsh and Assoc. Prof Dr Alvin Ng from the Department of Psychology have been made Visiting Professor and Honorary Senior Lecturer at UEA’s Norwich Medical School, respectively. Prof Marsh and A/Prof Ng both gave invited lectures at UEA in November 2017 (see: https://university.sunway.edu.my/blog/november-2017-busy-conference-month-department-psychology and https://university.sunway.edu.my/sunway-in-the-news/professor-nigel-marsh-gives-invited-professorial-lecture-norwich-medical-school).
The Department of Psychology at Sunway University has hosted a series of doctoral candidates from the Doctor of Clinical Psychology Programme at Norwich Medical School. These final year doctoral candidates undertake a clinical practicum while in Malaysia. Their practicum is facilitated by A/Prof Ng through his role as an Advisor to SOLS24/7, a nongovernment organisation that runs social enterprise that covers mental health services in Malaysia. These internship practicums have also led to the development of funded research collaborations. A team that includes A/Prof Ng, Prof Coker and the principal investigator from SOLS24/7, Ms. Ellisha Othman, as well as her colleagues, and researchers from University of Sussex won the Hasanah Foundation for the Strengthening Families Programme (KAMI) Award of RM160,000 for 15 months in April 2018. The purpose of this award is to fund research to study at-risk youth and to validate local versions of mental health screening and assessment tools that could improve mental health interventions within the community.
Other benefits from Sunway University’s Department of Psychology’s collaborations have included Prof Coker and her colleague, Dr Paul Fisher, running a (pro bono) clinical supervision workshop at Sunway University. This was hosted by the Department of Psychology in 2016. This workshop was for practising clinical psychologists in Malaysia to help the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology (MSCP) with its professional development efforts. This was a very successful event and there are plans for future workshops of a similar nature. Prof Coker and Dr Fisher have also given talks to psychology students on pursuing further studies in clinical psychology in the UK.
Clinical supervision workshop on 13 July 2016 run by Prof Siân Coker and Dr Paul Fisher of Norwich Medical School, UEA at Sunway University.
Overall, the existing collaboration has been progressing very well and UEA is happy to pursue more options such as student exchange programmes and research collaborations with other departments within the university. The meeting on the 4th of May was successful with the present heads of department establishing specific interests in various types of collaborations.