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Five minutes with... Reg Jordan

I wish my students realised... how much we care about them, from providing them with a great student experience through to their learning, teaching and extracurricular activities. Our future relies on them and what they achieve, so we want to ensure that their university life is important and meaningful. Our students coined the phrase the ‘NUMed family’ and we strive very hard to maintain this. Our team cares passionately about them and their experience with us – which is primarily why we’re in the job.


If I wasn’t an academic… I’d probably have had a role in developing entrepreneurial businesses. I have no regrets about my career in academia and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. In the first half of my career I was a research scientist and gradually moved into academic management. Over the last 10 years my role has allowed me to undertake many different activities and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all. My philosophy is that once you make a decision you should never look back.


The thing I love most about my job… is the variety – and it always has been! No two days are ever the same; you have some great highs and you have some challenges too. But I always look at a glass as being half full when it comes to opportunities. There’s always something new to learn and I think that’s what I love most about my job.


Although I don’t like… bureaucracy. Sometimes the bureaucracy can be rather onerous and sometimes tiring and taxing. I do believe you need these procedures as they act as quality assurances, perhaps now more than ever, but I’d rather get on with the work than report on it!


Not many people know I have a passion for… geocaching! My work is my passion, but not many people know I also have a passion for walking and geocaching. It’s a modern technological form of treasure hunting and I think of it as walking with a purpose. You go for a hike or long walk and follow GPS coordinates to find things people have hidden. It’s great exercise and has taken me to some incredible places – from geocaching in Borneo to geocaching in County Durham. It’s a little bit nerdy, but it’s great fun.


My idea of absolute vulgarity is... arrogance in all its forms. It’s always misplaced and I really don’t like it.


A vice I’m willing to admit to… I don’t really have a vice, but I do have a failing. I used to have a short temper, which I’m not proud of. I’ve since recognised this and done a lot of things to try and control it.


My favourite view in Johor is… Kota Iskandar, Johor’s new state capital. It is home to the new Assembly Building; the architecture is some of the best I’ve ever seen. The Moorish influence in Malaysian architecture is quite strong and it’s spectacular to look at. When we (my wife Liz and I) first moved here we lived near Puteri Harbour, which also has a personal meaning for me. However, having said this, I’m very proud of our campus – and particularly its replica of the Arches.


My personal philosophy is… to lead from the front. I always think you can achieve as a team, but you have to do it by example and be a role model. When we were setting up in Malaysia we all pitched in as a team and did everything; from scrubbing floors to meeting with ministers. If you lead from the front, the team you build will follow and work with you. I also think it’s important to learn from your mistakes.


At 11am on a Sunday, you will generally find me… sitting on the balcony of my house, which leans over a tropical river, reading the Sunday papers. It’s nice to keep in touch with what’s going on in the UK, and the rest of the world, so on a Sunday morning I relax and read the news!

Professor Reg Jordan, CEO and Provost, NUMed Malaysia
Since graduating from Newcastle University with first-class Honours in 1969, Reg Jordan has inspired generations of students as a visionary and devoted teacher. He was influential in developing the University’s innovative medical programme, which informed some of the General Medical Council’s key recommendations in ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’. More recently, he has spearheaded the University’s international programmes.

As Dean of International Medical Education, in 2007 he was appointed CEO and Provost of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed), leading the establishment of the UK’s only fully owned overseas branch campus for medicine. He has also spearheaded a series of Health Camps in Malaysia, where he and his students give up their free time to run health screening and awareness clinics in remote villages.


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published on: 17 August 2015