QU's plan for 2018-2022 a roadmap for transformation, says Derham

Tribune News Network
THE new academic year was inaugurated at Qatar University (QU) on Thursday with the annual convocation address by President Dr Hassan al Derham in which he highlighted the university’s achievements over the last academic year.
He stressed that continuing efforts to meet the labour market’s needs and to provide an optimal learning environment for students.
The event was attended by QU leadership, deans, heads of departments, programmes directors, faculty members, staff, students and alumni. Dr Derham also honoured QU members. The QU president welcomed the audience and the new faculty members and administrative staff who recently joined the QU family, wishing them a successful year.
“QU has always played a pivotal role in providing efficient solutions to the society’s concerns while fulfilling its aspirations and needs.”
Talking about the siege imposed by the Saudi-led bloc, he said,”There is no doubt that the unjust blockade imposed on Qatar is a decisive moment in the country’s history and a huge challenge to each institution and individual. In this context, we provided support to the students who are enrolled in universities in the siege countries to help them pursue their education. Hence, we established a committee to develop a plan for the preparation and implementation of events, lectures and seminars that are related to the blockade, reflecting QU’s role as an incubator for thoughts,” he said.
Derham noted that QU’s strategic plan for 2018-2022 is a roadmap for the transition from the reform phase to the full transformation phase.
“The organisation’s strategic plan started with an in-depth analysis of the challenges such as the academic risks that a large number of students may face, the small number of Qatari students who are enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes, the gap between the university’s outcomes and the ever-changing needs of the labour market and the limited social and economic impact of research among many others.”
He added:”In light of these challenges, it is necessary to place the student at the centre of the planning and implementation process and to identify our values. The objectives and details of the new strategic plan will be announced to QU members in the upcoming weeks.”
On QU’s most recent achievements in ranking, Derham said:”Ranking is an indicator and not a goal. Our main objective is to prepare highly qualified graduates, who will contribute to building their country, by providing them with quality education and opportunities for innovative research, as well as an inspirational and healthy learning environment.”
He also highlighted the recent achievement of the colleges of education, engineering, and health sciences in terms of academic accreditation.
He noted that the university recently launched five new undergraduate programmes in physical education, physical therapy, fundamentals of religion in Quran and Sunnah, fundamentals of religion in Creed and Dawah, and Sharia in Fiqh and Usul.
He further noted that the research and graduate studies sector achieved a huge development, which is reflected by the increase of the research outcomes from 928 in 2014 to 1410 in 2016, at a percentage of 52 percent.
“It is highly important to engage our students in research activities in order to improve their skills and abilities. In this regard, QU students participate through 531 research grants in 21 cycles of the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP)”, he said.
Derham also mentioned opening of a range of new facilities at QU, including class halls for women and a gymnasium for men, as well as the student dormitories and the establishment of the Early Childhood Center (ESC).
Following his address, Dr Derham distributed the awards. The Outstanding Teaching Award was bagged by Hasan Abdalla, lecturer of Mathematics at QU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).