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Dr. Issa H. Alansari

SAUDI ARABIA - Health & Education

Over 30 nationalities represented in faculty on campus

Rector, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU)

Bio

Rector of Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU), Dr. Issa H. Alansari is an eminent figure in the education sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a time of colossal educational reforms in the Kingdom. He pioneered the startup of this remarkable North American model university in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, PMU, established in 2006. During that same period and until 2013, he also became the special advisor to the Governor of the Eastern Province HRH Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd, also Chair of the Board of Trustees. He is also Secretary General of Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Foundation for Humanitarian Development with its local and international branches, and has worked restlessly to engage in humanitarian projects locally and internationally to serve humanitarian causes in the areas related to rights to education, poverty eradication, integration of individuals with special needs, youth, and women empowerment.

"There are faculty members from over 30 nationalities on campus."

What are the PMU’s main academic strengths?

At the very start, the founder of PMU, HRH Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz decided that the new institution should represent a remarkable addition to existing higher education institutions in the Kingdom. Therefore the design of the PMU system and academic programs followed the most developed and effective methodologies which resulted in a university encompassing the most effective learning environment. An outstanding academic strength of PMU is the adoption of the Core Curriculum which is designed and included in the curricula of all Colleges. The Core Curriculum is designed to enable the students to acquire the competencies they need to be successful in their chosen fields and to contribute to the development of their community and the Kingdom. These competencies are: Communication, Technological Competence, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Professional Competence, Teamwork, and Leadership. PMU provides a learning- not teaching- environment that is student-centered and aims at developing the student as a whole person. A learning outcomes assessment process is continually applied so as to ensure that all objectives are successfully accomplished and required improvements are constantly introduced. By adopting a student-centered approach, we aim at enhancing students’ abilities to develop as life long-learner and pursue improvement during their studies and long after they have graduated. PMU has experienced high graduate employability rates in the region. Our graduates have proven to join the workforce ready to function and perform outstandingly. This is not only related to knowledge in the subject matter, but particularly reflecting strong communication, adaptability, leadership and professionalism. Data is constantly collected from the job market and directly from Aramco, the largest oil company in the world but also our most eminent graduate employer. This reputation has consequently helped PMU build an institutional role in the region and we are currently partners of major companies like SABIC, in preparing their employees for education and training abroad. PMU employs highly qualified and experienced faculty from all over the world. As a result there are faculty from over 30 nationalities on campus. This fact has enriched cultural diversity on campus and contributed positively to the learning experience of our students. PMU is also flagged as an IT-based university. We have invested massively in our learning technology infrastructure during the establishment stage and are still investing to ensure our campus is continuously upgraded to the latest learning and teaching technologies available internationally. All our classrooms are infused with technologies, they are for example connected with Blackboard and Banner and are equipped with the latest conferencing technologies, smart boards and strong internet connectivity and are therefore known as smart classrooms. We also have advanced Course Management, Student Management and Administrative Management systems. The Learning Resources Center at PMU is not a traditional library but in addition to providing library services it provides learning enrichment and academic advising to the students. Therefore it is a learning hub for student academic projects, student innovation and research, student academic support and advising. Finally quality is at the core of our success. Key performance indicators are implemented down to the most particular details in program design and delivery, in assessment, in teaching and learning, in student employability rates and even in co-curricular programs design. We have recently succeeded in meeting all the requirements for the ABET accreditation. We are also accredited by the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA).

What do you think about some of the changes that will arise for the Eastern Province?

The Eastern Province is the most important industrial and business region in the Kingdom. It embraces the Oil industry and the main and longest oil reserves in the world. There are also the basic industries of the Kingdom represented by the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and a lot of other industries such as food industries and manufacturing industries. As such, the Eastern Province is poised to develop more and more and will continue attracting more and more people to work and live in it. Therefore, there will definitely be constant progress and development in main and support sectors. This will be reflected in increased business, urbanization and a proliferation of recreational and service institutions. In addition there will be an increase in educational institutions including Colleges and Universities.

What do you gain from your international partnerships and will you be looking more toward increasing the number of foreign students?

We have international partnerships in many parts of the world. We gain international outlook to diversity and successful practices witnessed in different higher education institutions around the world. Currently we are establishing three Arabic Language programs, namely in Turkey, Kazakhstan, and China. We have developed international collaboration programs with a number of renowned universities, such as the University Of Central Florida (UCF), that houses the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research and Studies. We also have developed collaboration with the University Of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) that houses the King Abdulaziz Endowed Chair for Islamic Studies, and we have established King Fahd program for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine. Regarding student diversity, the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Scholarship Program, which is implemented it in collaboration with the Arab League, has hosted more than 40 students from the Arab world on full scholarships and the same program is now being established with Turkey and Kazakhstan.

What are your expectations and key strategic objectives for 2018?

In 2018 we will continue pursuing our roadmap that includes the establishment of a School of Architecture, the Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz College for the Visually Impaired, the Medical School and the Teaching Hospital. By this we hope to continue serving education in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and preparing global graduates that will assume leading roles locally and internationally.

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