search button

Event detail

Research Seminar Series - Student Engagement and Emotional Intelligence in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities

Event information

START DATE 21 March 2018

Oasis Theatre, Block 16

END DATE 21 March 2018

We are pleased to invite you to Wednesday’s research seminar. It will be held on Wednesday 21st March, from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park. The Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 220 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. This week’s presentation is:

Student Engagement and Emotional Intelligence in Higher Education:

Challenges and Opportunities

Sandra Stephenson

Middlesex University Dubai


Studies into motivation and student learning identify emotion as an “integral part of the interpersonal processes that create classroom contexts” (Meyer and Turner, in Mortiboys, 2012:2).  Emotional Intelligence, defined as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” (Goleman, 1995: ibid) is seen by Mortiboys as an unrecognized, third aspect of what a teacher should offer learners – in addition to the teacher’s subject expertise and knowledge of pedagogy (ibid: 3). This "unrecognized, third aspect" of teaching was the focus of an action research project undertaken by the author from 2015-2017. The research explored the feelings of over 450 first-year business school students at Middlesex University, Dubai (three cohorts, over the course of two academic years) with regard to their experience of their lecturer, and attempted to identify and share strategies for increasing student engagement using an emotionally intelligent approach. The research specifically aimed to explore ways of enhancing the lecturer’s own EQ in order to create an environment conducive to deep learning. Focused interventions included flipping from a teacher-centred to a student-centred approach, adjusting teaching goals from good student pass rates and 100% attendance to deeper learning and engaged students, and developing the qualities of an emotionally intelligent teacher. Both the qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the subsequent interventions were overwhelmingly positive, with lecture attendance increasing significantly over the period researched. Whilst expecting 100% engagement 100% of the time remains an elusive and probably idealistic goal in teaching, perhaps the most valuable outcome of this study was that adopting an EQ approach vastly improved the lecturer’s experience of, and personal attitude towards, her students as well as her own teaching practices.


Sandra Stephenson is a lecturer in MDX Dubai’s Business School. She graduated from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa with a Bachelor of Journalism and Media Studies degree. Following this, she worked in the University’s Human Resources Division in the field of recruitment and selection for seven years before being appointed as the University’s first Academic Planning Officer. Sandra was promoted to Director of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance in 2001, and appointed as Director of Institutional Planning in 2010. As a member of Rhodes University’s senior management team, Sandra represented the University on national QA and institutional planning bodies. She was involved in policy development in the field of planning and QA at the institutional, regional and national levels and has delivered papers at nine international conferences and published in international journals. She has undertaken research into international recognition of higher education institutions and has also assisted other South African universities in developing and implementing strategic plans and institutional policies. She completed a Management Development Programme (mini-MBA) in 2000, a Master’s degree in Higher Education in 2014, and a PGCHE in 2016.

Middlesex Associates FZ LLC, Dubai Knowledge Park - Blocks 4, 16, 17 & 19
Admissions +971 (0)4 3678100

© Copyright Middlesex University Dubai 2022