25 August 2013 – The School of Medicine, International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia was conferred the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) ASPIRE for Excellence Award in the area of “Student Engagement” at this year’s AMEE conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Two of IMU’s academic staff, Prof Vishna Devi Nadarajah and Associate Prof Kang Yew Beng received the award on behalf of the School of Medicine. Being the Inaugural AMEE ASPIRE for Excellence Award, IMU is one of the first Medical Schools in the world to win this award. To quote the Dean of School of Medicine, YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr (Mrs) Kew Siang Tong: “AMEE ASPIRE award is an international recognition of medical schools for their excellence in medical education. The awards were the first to be made under the new ASPIRE initative that recongises international excellence in medical education. The ASPIRE programme acknowledges the importance of teaching alongside research as a mission of the medical school. The programme was established to go beyond the traditional accreditation process and to recognise that the education programme in a medical school can be subject to peer review against an agreed set of standards or benchmarks that identify world-class excellence in education.The overall numbers of schools obtaining awards in the three categories was only 30%, and we were told that the selection criteria were very stringent. The judges were all international leaders in medical education and experts in the field. I must thank my team members, including our students, who have worked hard and contributed enormously to make this possible. We’re very pleased to receive international recognition for excellence in student engagement!” Student engagement is highly valued in IMU as it enhances the student learning experience and provides evidence and direction for continuous improvement and strategic planning. Students are engaged in every aspect of the university life, whether it is in academic activities, research, healthcare, community projects, conferences, workshops etc. “Medical students are engaged at the school and university levels. At the school level, student engagement involves giving and receiving feedback on course content and delivery, and feedback on individual faculty members; providing input into the curriculum and assessment committee; taking part in experiential learning via patient care and community service, undertaking research projects and reflective learning for personal and professional development”, added YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Kew. Medical students are also provided with a platform for community based healthcare projects such as health screening, health awareness talks, health surveys and disaster relief works. Senior students in Semester 10 spend 6 months in Hospital Batu Pahat and Hospital Kluang as shadow housemen, working as part of the healthcare team in delivering care to patients in these two public hospitals. At the university level, student engagement is primarily via the IMU Student Representative Council (SRC). Students’ ideas and issues are transmitted via the Council to various university departments, and university communications are also relayed via the Council to the general student population. YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Kew said, “The SRC members attend the MCAC (Medical Curriculum & Assessment Committee) where they participate in the discussion of issues related to the curriculum and assessment. The relevant feedback is passed by them to the students through the batch blogs and Facebook forum which are maintained by individual cohorts and also through SRC website. Other than the Council, students can directly give their feedback on university matters through Student Services Department, the e-learning portal, as well as participate in the Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS), Ready Education Environment Measure (REEM) survey etc.” The School of Medicine in IMU, to date, has the highest number of faculty members, students and successful graduates compared to any other private medical schools in Malaysia. The School of Medicine prepares future doctors for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in patient care, service and research. The School continues its tradition of excellence with a diverse student body, experienced and committed faculty as well as excellent facilities for education and research, and good access to patients in primary, secondary and tertiary care facilities. Whether teaching, doing research, or providing services to the community, our faculty members are united in their efforts to train outstanding clinicians, scientists, and community health workers of the future.