Mohammad Ali Meraj
Cruising along Dubai Marina aboard a spectacular 90 ft yacht, over 50 staff members at Middlesex University Dubai enjoyed an evening of celebration to mark the end of yet another successful academic year. The event was particularly special in light of the positive report received after a review of the campus was conducted in February by the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
QAA is an independent body that provides an integrated quality assurance service for higher education institutions in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the UK). It audits universities to provide public information about the maintenance of academic standards. In 2014, QAA conducted its first-ever Review of Transnational Education (TNE) in the UAE which resulted in a positive report for Middlesex University Dubai. The pastoral and academic support provided to students was a particular strength noted in the report. A range of students and staff members from across the university participated in this review and their contribution was instrumental in offering the QAA an insight into the strengths of our campus.
The review found that “students have a range of opportunities for engaging with employers during their studies with employability embedded within the curriculum and extracurricular activities provided”. The report also offered an acknowledgement of ‘a growing research culture’ on campus. Middlesex Dubai faculty’s research output included over 70 peer-reviewed and internationally published books, articles and conference papers this year.
Dr Lois Smith, Acting Director of Middlesex University Dubai, congratulated her team by saying, “this is a great achievement for everyone. We all worked very hard for the QAA review throughout the year, and we should be very proud of a great team effort”.
Mohammad Ali Meraj, Quality Manager at Middlesex Dubai thanked his colleagues for their support saying, “the success achieved by our campus in this intensive and rigorous review process would not be possible without a truly collaborative effort across the institution in Dubai and with our colleagues in London. Through this QAA report we have received a solid confirmation that the emphasis we put on our student-centred approach is paying off. The review highlighted the positives returns on a range of initiatives we have undertaken to engage students more actively in their academic studies and in their personal development.”
The Quality Office launched the inaugural edition of its Newsletter at the event. Aimed directly at the student community, the Speak Up! Newsletter highlights not just the feedback the university receives from students but its responses to improve the student experience.
The Dubai campus staff members have had plenty of successes to celebrate this summer. A range of new programmes have been approved and validated in London and by Dubai government’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority which will be introduced in September 2014. This includes the prestigious LLB Honours, a first of its kind in Dubai, in addition to programmes in film, international politics, media management and international relations at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Student enrolments have improved both in numbers (with over 2,600 students from over 90 countries) and in the quality of the cohort with over 55% of students now studying on competitive scholarships. The annual Careers Day event saw around 100 employers attending our campus this year. In November 2013, the university hosted its biennial, international conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences (ERPBSS), which saw over 150 international delegates presenting peer-reviewed research.
Throughout the evening, staff were treated to some stunning views of the Arabian Gulf and of Dubai’s skyline across the Marina and the Palm Jumeirah. The party ended with a sumptuous dinner and an opportunity for staff to show off their skills on the dance-floor, where once again we proved that Middlesex University in Dubai has a lot of talent.
For more information on QAA’s TNE Review see: www.qaa.ac.uk/InstitutionReports/types-of-review/overseas/Pages/TNE-United-Arab-Emirates-2014.aspx