Strengthening Bonds: UiTM Sabah’s Academy of Language Studies Connects Through Team Building

Team-building exercises encourage collaboration, communication, and bonding among team members. Team building is especially important in university language departments, as academics collaborate closely to support students on their language learning journey. By participating in a team-building activity, the department intends to establish relationships and improve communication and overall teamwork. In January 2024, the Head of the Graduates’ Centre, Delia L. Olaybal, and the Third Language Coordinator, Jenny Mosikon, arranged and conducted a team-building event for the Academy of Language Studies (APB), UiTM Sabah’s English, Arabic, and Mandarin lecturers.

        On the 19th of that month, 23 educators from the Academy of Language Studies, UiTM Sabah, attended and participated in a variety of activities. All attendees gathered at the Star Marina Jetty at the Shangri-la Hotel in Tanjung Aru, where they embarked on a 30-minute boat journey to Dreamer’s Island, Sepanggar. Upon arrival, they received a safety briefing and programme overview. The team-building exercise commenced with two water activities: parasailing and sea walking. The morning session concluded around noon with a buffet lunch. Group activities commenced at approximately 1:30 PM, featuring four team-based games aimed at enjoyably fostering cohesion. Three groups of six people were formed, each with its own jury. Subsequently, a scavenger hunt was organised. They scoured the island for clues and solved riddles in a bid to excel. The scavenger hunt served as a rigorous test of their communication and problem-solving skills, as well as their social-emotional intelligence. The programme ended with a joyous group photograph capturing the participants’ happiness and exhilaration.       

        UiTM Sabah recruited six new language lecturers throughout 2021 and 2022, all of whom boast considerable experience in education, whether in academic institutions or private settings. Given the annual performance targets set by the university, fostering strong teamwork between both junior and senior lecturers is deemed essential. Effective communication, collaboration, alignment of goals, adherence to team values, and sustained motivation are pivotal factors enabling a group to function cohesively. Thus, this team-building initiative proves advantageous, encompassing conflict resolution and skill-sharing among the APB lecturers, thereby fostering a sense of unity through shared experiences. Despite the existence of a mentor-mentee system within APB, this event serves to promote better understanding among the APB lecturers. 

        The sole difficulty encountered in arranging the team-building event was ensuring the attendance of all lecturers. Thankfully, only three lecturers were unable to participate, citing personal obligations and health concerns. Aside from these minor setbacks, the event proved highly successful, effectively uniting all participants, with no reluctance observed in joining the activities. Active participation from everyone contributed to the overall success of the event.

        In addition to hosting this team-building event, another method to foster effective communication, collaboration, goal alignment, adherence to team values, and sustained motivation among the APB lecturers is to arrange work-related trips, such as benchmarking visits to other universities, either locally or internationally. Increased engagement in consultation projects is necessary to secure additional funding for future initiatives.

        Overall, the APB UiTM Sabah team-building event fostered academic collaboration, communication, and togetherness. Participants improved connections, teamwork, and department unity through interesting activities and exchanges. This team-building exercise should improve the department’s culture, productivity, morale, and language-learning assistance. To keep APB united and encouraging, team-building events must continue.