Personal Statement

Welcome to My Website!

ZAINURA ZAINON NOOR

Lecturer  (Associate Professor) 

Faculty:

Chemical Engineering Department
Faculty Of Chemical and Energy Engineering
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
81310 Skudai, Johor.

Research Center:

Center of Environmental Sustainability and Water Security (IPASA)
Research Institute of Sustainable Environment (RISE)
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
81310 Skudai, Johor.

Room: N01-242
Tel: +(6)07-553 5485/+(6)017-7470315
Fax: +(6)07-5581463
Email:  zainurazn@utm.my, zainura@cheme.utm.my

Websites:

http://fcee.utm.my/zainura; http://www.utm.my/water

 

Background

Introduction

Upon joining UTM in May 1999, I set the goal for myself of being excellence in research, teaching, supervision and service while proper balancing these activities. In particular, this has involved into: Research and Consultation (1); Teaching and Supervision (2); and (3) Services. I sincerely believe that I have been very much on track in achieving my goals. What follows is a narrative highlight of my activities, subsided in the three main areas.

Research and Consultation

I must describe as undetermined the moment from which my compassion began to aim predominantly towards the environment and the responsible use of technology to conserve its resources. With the passing of the years, I have been able to witness behind the transparent glass of “development”, how our relationship with nature is becoming more noxious; on having assumed us with the right to take a big part of our Earth as if it was completely within our jurisdiction. Therefore, by aligning my passion with my formal training, I have decided to focus my time and energy to conduct research that can better improve the condition of the environment through the utilization of improved technology.

My research program works through a green technology and sustainability lens, employing participatory methods and collaborative approaches to solve complex environmental challenges in real world scenarios. I am a pragmatist researcher who works across methodologies (technical, scientific, experimental, qualitative and quantitative) in partnership with agencies (government and private), community, students, and allied practitioners on producing research outputs, which have real values.

I am also an inter-disciplinary researcher: my work borrows from various the field of studies. I regularly collaborate on trans-disciplinary teams with scholars in the fields of hydrology, chemistry, mathematics, social science, and public health. I have led (and currently leading) many research projects that are funded by different sources including governmental and private agencies through various schemes that the sum in total (up until now) worth more than RM1 Million.  My research interest and expert areas include estimating environmental degradation through the innovative of life cycle assessment (LCA) approach, family of footprints (carbon, water and ecological) and environmental indicators.  Another of my research areas that have seen rapid and positive development (up until pre-commercialization stage at the moment) is green water treatment utilizing advanced version of membrane bioreactors (MBR). To date, my research team has developed different types of MBR not only to meet the increasingly stringent effluent discharge criteria but also to further utilize the treated wastewater. One of my MBR projects have been selected as one of the product to soon be commercialized under Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) Symbiosis Program.

My research works have also seen me working closely with big names in national industrial market such as PROTON, FELDA and SAJ. I believe in the importance of technology transfer between institutions to agencies and fostering strong community-based partnerships as well as developing capacity-building opportunities for all those involved, particularly community organizations and members. Therefore, the outputs of my research mostly produced immediate benefits to the parties involved.

My research works also include working with international partners on different platforms. For instance, I have collaborated with Japanese researchers under Low Carbon Society for Iskandar Malaysia, the main southern development corridor Johor. The mega research project which is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has seen researchers from UTM, Kyoto University and Okayama University working hand in hand to produce a comprehensive Low Carbon Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia which has been used as handbook many other countries all over the World in terms of developing low carbon region.

I have also been involved in many consultation projects both national and international levels whereby in these projects, I have assumed the roles of project leaders. In one of the recent consultation projects, the team that I lead has produced a comprehensive corporate carbon assessment and management report for high profile utility company in Malaysia. This has led the company to win Second Place in MyCarbon, Malaysia’s Carbon Reporting scheme for organizations and private sectors in managed by Ministry of Natural resources and Environment (NRE) collaboration UNDP. I have also been appointed by Department of Environment (DOE) Malaysia to prepare a training module on Cleaner Production.

Between September 2014 to May 2015, I have been appointed as a MIT-UTM Visiting Scholar under Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP) whereby I did my sabbatical at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during the second half of my appointment. Throughout this period, I was required to produce a video tutorial and a research article relating to the study I proposed for the program. The video is available at MIT’s portal and accessible for worldwide viewing.

Recently, I have been hired as a consultant by UNDP to conduct a workshop on Vietnam Provinces Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for Vietnam government. As an experienced consultant and researcher whom is heavily involved in the development of Malaysia EPI (the report is produced every two years starting from 2010), my expertise is sought to build consensus across different Vietnam’s federal government agencies and provinces in order to come out with a set of indicators which can be formulated into a single index to rank the environmental performance of the provinces. In this project, not only I have to work with the UNDP and Vietnam’s government agencies, but Yale University researchers at Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) and Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group. Yale University was the data provider for this project hence close consultation with their researcher throughout the project was very much needed. Me and several of UTM researchers under the leadership of Prof. Rahmalan Ahamad, have been appointed by Malaysia Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) to produce Malaysia EPI since 2010.

During this same period, I participated in writing several book chapters, and published more than thirty peer-reviewed journal articles (majority are published in Q1 journals). My research teams have also presented numerous papers, workshops and posters at peer-reviewed conferences. I am frequently invited as speakers at national and international platforms such as seminars, conferences and meetings. Recently, I have been appointed as a Visiting Lecturer at Institut Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya (one of the leading universities in Indonesia) to conduct training workshops on Carbon Accounting and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as well as discussing future collaboration in research (between UTM and ITS).

My involvement and research and consultancy works at both national and international platforms have garnered significant media attention, including being invited a speaker in AstroAwani TV program called Bual Bicara. Recently, an article has been written about me in New Straits Time newspaper in conjunction with 2016 International Women Day celebration. I have also being invited to contribute a write-up on Virtual Water and Water Footprint for Academy Science of Malaysia (ASM) for theirNational Expert Review on Water Resources which is due to be published by the end of year 2016.

Teaching & Supervision

My goal in teaching is to foster thoughtful, critical, engaged, independent thinkers and writers. I push my students to ask questions of themselves, each other, and me. I try to create an environment in which respectful debate is encouraged. I make every effort to set clear grading standards, offer intentional feedback, and connect students to supportive services. Most importantly, I see myself as a co-learner and constantly try to grow, adapt, and respond to the diversity of the classroom. I often learn as much from my students as they do from me. I also try to be creative and develop learning environments that will help my students synthesize and apply key course concepts. I normally incorporate new knowledge and useful experiences which I obtained from many years spent doing research and consultancies project to enhance my teaching. I believe students can relate better if they are able conceptualize the ideas and theories behind the subjects being implemented in real world scenario.

In adult learning settings, I see my role largely as a facilitator of dialogue and exchange, and as a steward responsible for creating dynamic and open learning environments. Even in large lecture formats, I strive to be interactive and offer case-based learning opportunities. I often pause and ask students to reflect with their fellow students. I am a firm believer in the importance of engaging discussion and I reward students for participation in my marking schemes. My favorite part about university teaching is the “Aha” moments – when you can see students making new connections for the first time.

Although I have the option of reducing my teaching load due to a more emphasized role in research resulting from my appointment as a research fellow at Center of Sustainable Environment and Water Security (IPASA), I still enjoy teaching tremendously hence volunteer to take up the normal teaching load. I am energized by group situations and look forward to the stimulation, interchange, and debate of the classroom, and to watching students develop and expand their intellectual capacities and critical thinking skills.

Since I came back from my PhD study to resume my full service at Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering (previously known as Faculty of Chemical and Natural Resources Engineering) in 2006, I have had the opportunity of teaching numerous undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) courses namely Introduction to Engineering (UG), Numerical Methods (UG), Mass Balance (UG), Introduction to Environmental Engineering (PG), Solid Waste Management (PG), Sustainable Consumption and Production (PG), Resources Engineering (PG), Occupational Health and Disease Management (PG) and  Environmental Management & Sustainability (PG). In preparation for teaching both courses, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to creatively cover the material and significantly improved the curricula every new semester. I have infused the course with many new topics and readings, with an eye to ensuring that readings were included from many reference sources. I have tried to incorporate approaches that allow students with various learning styles to flourish (including debates, lectures, small group work, role playing, voting, case studies, presentations, etc.). Students seem to really enjoy the interactive approach.

Over the last ten years, I have also taken on a full advising load and have seen eight Master of Engineering and five PhD students completed their programs (based on main supervision and full-time by research only). Those PhD holders whom have graduated are currently employed as a lecturer themselves in other higher learning institutions both in Malaysia and other countries. Many of my students have become actively engaged in my research program and have drawn their Major Project/Paper data from our larger projects. This has proved to be an enriching model for all involved. Students appreciate being part of a larger team and contributing their considerable talents to ‘real world’ challenges. In turn, the teams benefit from the enthusiasm, creativity, and scholarship of our students. I try to actively mentor my students in the art of abstract crafting, grant reviewing, presenting at conferences and publishing. I have co-authored papers with my students and regularly bring them with me to community forums, research team meetings and industrial engagements. I have also worked with my students on securing funding for their studies.

 Services

I sincerely and truly adhere to my motto which is “A successful person is a person who help others to become successful”. I believe whatever knowledge and wisdom a person have obtained throughout his or her life (either formal education and training, life experiences, careers, etc.) should be shared and passed on.

One of the areas that best translated my motto is in the research field itself. I am Research Group (RG) Leader leading Green Technology Research Group under the center I am currently attached namely Center of Environmental Sustainability and Water Security. My RG members consist of academicians from different faculties and research-disciplines. As an RG Leader, I am responsible to ensure the dynamic of the group members including securing impactful research grants and delivering research outputs in the forms of graduated students, publication and intellectual properties.

Between 2009 and 2012, I was appointed by the university to be the coordinator of Master of Environmental Engineering program.  During my appointment, I have helped the program to obtain the accreditation from Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA). However, I have made the decision not to continue the post on the next term since I went for a yearlong industrial training between 2012-2013.

I have also coordinated many collaborative events at international level for the university. One of such events was a summer course program between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Denmark Technical University (DTU) in 2009 and 2010. In these program a summer course under the theme of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) was jointly organized by these two institutes whereby the participation was opened to graduate students of any nationality in the world. The series of the summer course have been conducted both in Malaysia and Denmark.

Having obtained my competency as qualified Safety Officer from NIOSH back in 2012, the faculty appointed me to become Safety Officer/Coordinator (my appointment is still active to this date). My tasks as a safety officer include ensuring safety is practiced at the highest level of compliance especially in laboratories and offices. It is also my duty to conduct series of training to increase the level knowledge and safety awareness among staff and students. During my appointment, I have helped my faculty to win the Safety Audit Award during 2014 Citra Karisma.

Outside the university, my work has received the attention of policy makers in the environmental policy sectors and I have been invited to participate on several panels, think tanks and expert reviews at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.  I am also actively involved in promoting Low Carbon School concept among the secondary and primary school in Johor Bahru district. Recently I have been invited to be the advisor and referral expert by Johor Bahru District Education Office in terms of disseminating and integrating the concept in the secondary schools teaching and learning.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 February 2013 )