The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), the national University has launched a new University College. Its establishment significantly enhances the support that UAEU gives to its students from the beginning to the end of their studies and beyond.
The University College comprises the University Foundation Program, the Center for Student Academic Success & Advising, the General Education Program, and the Center for Career Planning and Placement.
The University Foundation Program (UFP) will help with the students transition from high school to university by building up their Arabic and English communication, math and learning skills to levels required by the UAEU Colleges. Foundation instructors effectively employ mobile tablet technologies to enhance learning within the classroom and extend it beyond.
In the Center for Student Academic Success & Advising (CSASA), students can find tutorial assistance with all their foundation subjects and, more generally, with independent learning skills, as well as writing and speaking in both English and Arabic. There were over 5000 visits to the Writing Center and 3000 visits to the Speaking Center during the last academic semester. Students may also go to the Center for Academic Advising until they have declared a major. They can also complete modules and take workshops in college success skills such as time management, how to study, goal-setting, problem-solving, presentation skills, critical thinking and leadership skills.
The General Education Program (GEP) is an essential component of the overall educational experience of baccalaureate students at the UAEU. The program is based on the coherent model of general education, in which courses are grouped into thematic clusters: Values to Live By, Skills for Life, The Human Community, The Natural World, and Capstone Experience. Each cluster addresses a specific portion of the University’s overall general education learning objectives. Depending on the field of study, the program encompasses a minimum of 25 % of the curriculum and courses are added and reviewed for continual improvement. The program ensures that students are equipped with core knowledge, values, attitudes and skills that will help them succeed in their studies, lives and careers. Additionally, it enhances students’ capacity for teamwork, leadership and innovation that will help them successfully guide the economic, social and cultural development of the UAE.
Through the Center for Career Planning and Placement (CCPP), the University College provides students with many opportunities for career preparation and employment. The Center involves UAEU students in career preparation from the time they enter the university and assists them in making informed career choices to achieve career and life goals by providing individual and group career counselling sessions. In addition, the Center organizes different career readiness workshops for students including CV writing, interview skills, job search techniques and other employability skills, to prepare them for the world of work. Furthermore, the CCPP connects colleges, organizations and students to create a powerful work-based internship for the learner and to provide job opportunities for UAEU graduates. By cultivating multi-faceted partnerships and networks, CCPP is committed to providing the needed resources for students to explore diverse career opportunities. Through the “Job Navigator” online tool, UAEU graduates can browse through hundreds of jobs available at partner employer organizations and apply for the jobs of their choice.
The development of the University College was strongly supported by the University Council and the University Chancellor, H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, during a recent University Council Meeting.
H.E. Dr. Ali Rashid Al Noaimi, UAEU Vice Chancellor highlighted that, “The University College supports the UAEU’s mission to graduate students with the capabilities required for effective leadership in the economic, social and cultural development of the UAE.”
Professor Mohamed Yousif Baniyas, UAEU Provost & Chief Academic Officer, commented that “Establishing the University College is another major goal of advancing the University. It aims at increasing the essential capabilities of students so that they are more prepared for the job market. The role of the University College will be in coordinating the enhancement of English skills, teaching English across the curriculum, and providing general education courses that teach team building, ethics in the workplace, plus time management. It will also support teaching through faculty development opportunities in teaching and curriculum development, while preparing faculty to write objectives that assess course outcomes. Finally the University College will coordinate with other Colleges, Student Success, and the use of Technology in Teaching and Learning across the curriculum.
The UAEU has defined these capabilities as learning outcome standards for the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of each graduate. The University College programs and services complement a student’s education and learning in their major to ensure that upon graduation, students have achieved all the expected learning outcome standards.
Professor Timothy Hegstrom, Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of University College, said “The University College is committed to assisting new students with the successful transition to UAEU; enhancing student engagement; integrating academic and co-curricular programs; connecting students with available resources; and fostering both independent and lifelong learning.”