Contributor: Maroof Ahmed | Editor: Supriyono
ESTUDIA, the Student Association of the Faculty of Education (FoE) at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) took the helm of the First Graduate Forum with the enchanting theme “Education for All. All for Education”, which was unfolded on July 5-6, 2023, aimed at fostering intellectual growth, knowledge sharing, and collaboration among the FoE students.
The forum included a captivating keynote speech by Assoc. Prof. Bonnie Yim, the Associate Dean (International & Engagement) of the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Australia, and engaging panel presentations by FoE students. These presentations covered a wide array of research topics encompassing educational leadership, policy, curriculum, teaching and learning, technology and science education, and the intersection of education and society.
Prof. Nina Nurmila, the Dean of FoE, extended a warm welcome to the esteemed guests, including Prof. Komaruddin Hidayat, the Rector of UIII, and Assoc. Prof. Yim. She also expressed her gratitude to all the participants for attending the graduate forum and appreciated the diligent efforts of Irkham Zamzuri, the president of ESTUDIA, along with his team, for successfully organizing the forum.
Following Prof. Nurmila's welcoming remarks, Prof. Komaruddin Hidayat praised the remarkable achievements of FoE students and extended his gratitude to the Student Association for organizing the forum and creating a platform for intellectual exchange.
“Despite residing in a remote area, we feel deeply connected to the larger intellectual network. Our students’ commitment to intellectual growth, dedication to making a positive impact, and relentless pursuit of knowledge inspire us all. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Student Association for their outstanding efforts in organizing this forum,” the Rector said.
In a display of cultural and academic harmony, the forum was accentuated by a prayer recitation from Mir Hussain Amiri, an MA in Education student from Afghanistan. This set the stage for a stimulating session with the keynote speaker.
In the session moderated by Maroof Ahmed, an MA Education student from Pakistan, Assoc. Prof. Yim delivered an insightful presentation on ‘Time Management and Completing a Postgraduate Degree on Time.’ Her insightful presentation offered strategies and guidance for students to effectively manage their time and successfully complete their studies.
In her keynote presentation, Assoc. Prof. Yim segmented the postgraduate journey into three stages: Early, Middle, and Final. She elucidated each stage with its significant milestones, ranging from the Confirmation of Candidature in the early stage, through data collection and analysis in the mid-stage, to thesis writing in the final stage. A basic thesis structure was provided to guide students on how to distribute their efforts effectively.
She suggested that visualization could be used to motivate students to focus on their future ideal state. She shared several visualization tools like timelines, mind maps, and sticky notes to aid students in mapping their progress toward their objectives.
Additionally, Assoc. Prof. Yim pointed out that everyone works differently, and having a system in control can enable students to keep track of deadlines, revision priorities, and additional reading. Examples of such systems included reminders, a wall chart, or an app like Trello, Toodledo or Todoist.
Assoc. Prof. Yim also underlined the importance of incorporating regular breaks into the students' plans to maintain productivity, lift mood, improve sleep, and think clearer. Activities during these breaks could include walking, networking, learning something new, or simply moving away from the work desk.
Emphasizing effective teamwork, Assoc. Prof. Yim insisted that effective researchers must understand the people they are working with. She provided a list of potential 'teammates', ranging from the library and IT support to supervisors, peers, and even examiners. She urged students to build good relationships with their supervisors, as they are crucial guides on the postgraduate journey.
Wrapping up her presentation, Assoc. Prof. Yim left the audience with three key takeaways. Firstly, she emphasized the importance of taking small, manageable steps, using the phrase, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Secondly, she reassured students that perseverance leads to success, stating, "There's a light at the end of the tunnel." Finally, she reminded students to foster trust and seek support from their supervisors, highlighting the student-supervisor relationship as an invaluable asset on their academic journey.
The forum, after highly informative and inspiring keynote and panel presentations, concluded on a joyful note with FoE students engaging in singing and sharing sessions. The harmonious melodies added a charming and uplifting atmosphere to the event, symbolizing unity and camaraderie among the students.
The FoE’s First Graduate Forum was an enlightening blend of practical knowledge, engaging dialogue, and shared experiences, providing an enriching experience for all attendees. By fostering an environment of knowledge sharing, camaraderie, and aspiration, the event reflected UIII's commitment to holistic and transformative education.