Posted on September 28, 2017

The new academic year was inaugurated yesterday with the Annual Convocation address in which Qatar University (QU) President Dr Hassan Al Derham highlighted the organization’s achievements over the last academic year and its continuing efforts to meets the labor market’s needs and to provide an optimal learning environment to ensure student success.

The event was attended by QU leadership, deans, heads of departments, program directors, faculty members, staff, students and alumni. Dr Al Derham also honored QU members in various categories -- Outstanding Teaching Award, Merit Award, Media Award, Employee of the Year Award, and Young Alumnus Award.

Dr Al Derham welcomed the audience and the new faculty members and administrative staff who recently joined the QU family, wishing them a successful year. He said: “QU has always played a pivotal role in providing efficient solutions to the society’s concerns while fulfilling its aspirations and needs. 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 at 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.”

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Dr Al Derham noted that QU’s new strategic plan for 2018-2022 is a roadmap for the transition from the reform phase to the full transformation phase. He said: “The organization’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) programs, the gap between the University’s outcomes and the ever-changing needs of the labor 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 center 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’s members in the upcoming weeks.”

On QU’s most recent achievements in ranking, Dr Al Derham said: “QU has been ranked 349 among the top universities in the world, 4th in the GCC and 5th in the Arab region in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2018, improving on its 2017 performance by 44 places. The University has also been ranked 37 in the QS Top 50 Under 50 2018 ranking among the world’s leading young universities founded less than 50 years ago, and among the top 500 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018, as well as 6th in the pilot THE Top 15 Arab World Universities Ranking.” He added: “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.”

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He also highlighted the recent achievement of the colleges of Education, Engineering, and Health Sciences in terms of academic accreditation and the graduation of six national students who have been pursuing their PhD degree abroad, wishing all success to the 85 scholarship holders who will add value to QU’s faculty body.

Dr Al Derham noted that QU witnessed considerable expansion in line with the country’s ever-increasing development. He also noted that the University recently launched five new undergraduate programs in Physical Education, Physical Therapy, Fundamental of Religion in Quran and Sunnah, Fundamental 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%. “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.

Dr Al Derham also noted that QU has advanced its infrastructure and facilities via a range of building projects such as the inauguration of class halls for women and a gymnasium for men, as well as the student dormitories and the establishment of the Early Childhood Center (ESC). “This is part of QU’s commitment to providing its students with a supportive learning environment geared towards improved outcomes and success”, he said.

Following his address, Dr Al Derham distributed the following awards:

  • Outstanding Teaching Award -- Mr Hasan Abdalla, Lecturer of Mathematics at QU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).
  • Outstanding Teaching Award runner-up -- Prof Farhan Mujahid Chak, CAS Associate Professor of International Affairs.
  • Merit Award -- Prof Maha Khalil Al-Hendawi, Director of QU Core Curriculum Program, and Dr Ahmed Awaisu, Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice at QU College of Pharmacy.
  • Media Award -- Dr Mohamed Kirat, CAS Professor of Public Relations, and Dr Mahjoob Zweiri, CAS Associate Professor of Modern History.
  • Employee of the Year Award -- Ms Lolwa Al-Mansoori, Manager of Central Business Services at QU Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, and Mr Raouf Mohamed Neffati, Section Head of Student Information System.
  • Young Alumnus Award -- Mr Issa Abdullah and Ms Alanoud Ali Alfohaidi.