A journey from Bukittinggi to Malang

Most of my life has been spent on university campuses. I was born in 1969, while my father served as the Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Arts Teaching at Institut Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan (IKIP) in Bukittinggi, Indonesia. This institution later became Universitas Negeri Padang (UNP). Our family lived on the IKIP campus in both Bukittinggi and Padang. My connection with the campus continued when I pursued my studies at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in 1987, and I graduated in 1995. Shortly after, I continued my Ph.D. studies at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 1995 and graduated in 1998. I then served as a postdoc and academic staff member at UTM until 2022. My relationship with UTM was briefly interrupted from 1999 to 2002 when I was a postdoc at Hokkaido University, Japan. I have been with UTM for more than 20 years.

In 2010, I was appointed as a professor at UTM, following in my father’s footsteps, who was also a professor at Universitas Negeri Padang (UNP). He retired in 2001 at the age of 70. When I was a child, my father frequently took me to attend his classes, and unbeknownst to me, this may have been the reason why I developed an interest in higher education. The photo below shows two professors in our family, myself (in 2010) and my father (in the 1990s), wearing our professorial robes.

In 2022, I took a significant step by moving to Universitas Negeri Malang (UM) in Indonesia as a professor. This transition marked a historic moment as I became the first individual in Indonesia to hold a professorial position at a university abroad and then transfer to an Indonesian university with an equivalent professorial rank. This move not only symbolizes a full circle in my academic journey but also underscores the growing recognition and alignment of academic qualifications across borders.

Alhamdulillah, all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.