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Meet Dr. Romina de Jong, a New Director of Academic Affairs of Parami University

Parami has recently welcomed a new Academic Affairs Director, Dr. Romina de Jong, who will be responsible for evaluating the effectiveness and quality assurance of all the programs and improving programs through cooperation with the faculty of Parami University. Dr. Romina de Jong was excited to talk about her motivation and experience working and teaching at Parami. 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Romina, Cambodian name Sreymom, Burmese name Zin Ma. I was born in the Hague, the Netherlands, a pretty long time ago, but I have lived and worked in SE-Asia for the past nine years. I moved to Cambodia just after finishing my Ph.D. research in Educational studies and have a master’s degree in Philosophy of Education plus a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I am passionate about education, psychology, gender, and sports. This is also how I came to know about Parami University: I played ultimate frisbee and spikeball with Tr. Joe Decker, who was the Academic Director at Parami at that time. 

What motivates you to work and teach at Parami?

In July, I became the Director of Academic Affairs, and I will be more broadly involved with the Parami program planning and quality. This really excites me as in this capacity; I hope to contribute to Parami at an institutional level and work with faculty and guest teachers on a shared approach to liberal arts and sciences education. I will keep teaching myself, as I really love working with Myanmar students!

What makes Parami different from other higher education institutions you have worked with? 

So many differences! The superficial ones are about the European education system versus the American one, but on a deeper level, there are two things that stand out for me. Firstly, the students at Parami stand out because of their motivation and eagerness to learn. Working with other faculty, I know this is something we all notice and appreciate because, as a teacher, there is nothing better than teaching students with a strong internal drive to learn. Secondly, working at a liberal arts and sciences education institution is new for me. Most of my work experience has been associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Technical Vocational Training Centres (TVET), or bridging programs at universities. I fully and wholeheartedly support Parami’s mission as a liberal arts and sciences education institute to prepare students as civically engaged individuals that can think critically and communicate effectively through an interdisciplinary lens. Compared to working at the faculty for Social Sciences, where content tends to be confined to one discipline with a focus on the academic development of the students, at Parami, I can let students experiment with different perspectives and focus on more holistic development of students.

What do you like about working as well as teaching at Parami? 

I guess I already explained this by answering the previous question, but let me add that working and teaching at Parami also means I get to work with awesome staff and faculty, including many visiting faculty. This opportunity to work together with so many excellent teachers and academics from all over the world is truly special.  

What subject (s) do you teach at Parami? 

Pedagogy and Educational Psychology, Social psychology, Learning and Development, Resilience and Resistance, Design thinking, Action research, Academic skills, Gender.

With a vision for becoming an excellent private higher education institution in Myanmar, how would you like to contribute towards Parami to enhance and enlarge its footprint in Myanmar’s educational landscape? 

I strive to contribute to enhancing and maintaining a high quality of education at Parami, for instance by developing (online) education quality standards, guidelines, and evaluations. Next to education, I hope to establish a close connection with the Parami Center for Education Policy Research to nurture a strong link between education and research. I wish for Parami to become a premier higher education institution in Myanmar, with internationally recognized accreditation, cultivating responsible leaders and global citizens of Myanmar and the world. 

What is the importance of liberal arts and sciences education, in your opinion? How does liberal arts education impact Myanmar students? 

The multidisciplinary approach makes LAS stand out from other degrees. In Europe, education has a more narrow focus, and this focus starts relatively early in the educational pathway. This has benefits; however, as an institute for continued learning and undergraduate programs, students benefit from learning to have a wider focus and to think through different lenses. As an advocate of education for sustainable development, with its aim “to empower learners with knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to make informed decisions and take responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society.” (UNESCO definition), I believe LAS goals are comparable. This provided Myanmar youths the opportunity to develop these kinds of skills, knowledge, and competencies to become life-long learners and empowered, responsible leaders.

What would be your top 3 tips for new students studying at Parami? 

  1. This opportunity is yours - take it and make it matter to you.
  2. Learn with your teacher and fellow students - you’re a team!
  3. Enjoy the ride with us, and don’t forget to have fun!

© Bill Waterson 

 

 

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