The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) organised a Global Forum in Dubai in collaboration with the Knowledge and Development Authority (KHDA) between 4 – 5 November 2018. The theme for this year was ‘Mission Possible? The International Quest to Define and Improve Student Success’. Over the course of the two days, members of the OBHE, KHDA and students, faculty and support staff from various higher educational institutions across the world participated in meaningful and interactive discussions and World Café sessions that explored the various perspectives linked to student success. A key theme that was visible throughout the presentations was the element of incorporating and achieving ‘happiness’.
Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of Middlesex University Dubai, attended the forum accompanied by other faculty members and student representatives. Faiza Umar and Siobhan McNiff from the University’s Centre for Academic Success hosted a World Café session on ‘Inclusivity in Higher Education’. The discussion challenged participants to consider approaches, arrangements and strategies to promote student success in higher education for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The participants engaged in collaborative discussions around these issues, with an aim to conceptualise approaches to ensure that all staff adopt a cultural view of disability, not as a deficit, but simply as a difference that enriches diversity, promotes student success, as well as all the HE community’s wellbeing.
The World Café session was followed by a student panel discussion on student success and wellbeing in higher education institutes. Meike Shulz, an MBA Operations and Logistics Graduate Student at Middlesex University Dubai, was one of the panelists and shared her experiences as a Student Voice Leader (SVL) at the University. She provided various insights that linked the positive aspects of gathering feedback from peers and communicating them to the relevant faculty and support departments, during specifically tailored meetings, as being part of a happy institution.