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Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy Chancellor, University of Sharjah

UAE - Health & Education

Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy

Chancellor, University of Sharjah

Bio

Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Manchester. In addition to being Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, he is the director general for the Sharjah Academy of Astronomy and Space Science.

"As an institution of higher education and research, the response of the University of Sharjah to the pandemic embodies the word, resilience."
As the only academic institution in the UAE and region with an astronomy and space science complex, the University of Sharjah has a significant role to play in the country’s Mars mission.
How would you characterize the university’s ability to demonstrate resiliency, particularly during the pandemic?

As an institution of higher education and research, the response of the University of Sharjah to the pandemic embodies the word, resilience. Generally speaking, the pandemic tested the resilience of universities and the entire system of education. The University of Sharjah demonstrated its resilience by responding immediately through taking all necessary health precautions and implementing new and innovative teaching/learning methodologies. Our success is indicated by many factors, such as our increased student enrolment, the continuous development and accreditation of existing programs, and the introduction and accreditation of new programs. Additionally, our faculty members and researchers have continued to outperform in the area of research, such that the university ranks second place in the UAE for its number of research articles published in the Scopus database. The university also continues to see its progress demonstrated through its ranking by international institutions such as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, which ranks UOS among the top three universities in the country, and UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, which ranks it number one in the country. We continue to tip the scale towards positive outcomes, regardless of the challenges posed by the pandemic.

How is the University of Sharjah making use of edtech?

Fortunately, prior to the pandemic, the University of Sharjah had already established a comprehensive technology infrastructure. All university branches are connected, and all users, including students and faculty, use the same teaching, learning and support resources, which has made coping with pandemic much easier. The most important platform for the success of remote learning is the Learning Management System (Blackboard), which was acquired by the university of Sharjah back in 2006. To ensure proper utilization of the system, the University ran a professional development-training program that was led by the Institute of Leadership in Higher Education and Academic Computing Section at IT. Additionally, we fully and immediately utilized other IT platforms and applications, such as our Student Information System (Banner) and electronic portfolio system, and other tools and facilities such as recording studios, videoconferencing classroom, and other applications to ensure the smooth and efficient continuity of education and all administrative processes. For communication, meetings, conferences and special group events, the university offers unlimited licensing to its staff and students on Zoom, MS teams, and Avaya. The university also made available an extensive array of learning resources, remotely accessible off campus, through its digital library. These resources have allowed faculty and students to use the latest e-books, databases, periodicals, and other resources without disruption.

How can education institutions such as the University of Sharjah contribute to the realization of national objectives?

The University of Sharjah is the only academic institution in the UAE and region with an astronomy and space science complex, which is called the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST). This area is actually my field of specialization, and I serve as the General Director of the Academy. The academy offers a unique integration of education, research and services to students, researchers, and the community at large. The experience of all participants is enhanced by the academy’s close collaboration with specialized space agencies and institutions around the world, including the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the UK. In fact, through the academy, which is a member of the IAU, the UAE has achieved member state status in this prestigious organization. One important priority of the academy is to contribute to the ambitious UAE space program. We are collaborating with our partners involved in the Emirates Hope Mars Mission by receiving and analyzing information received from the probe. These activities, and many more such as summer space camps, offer tremendous opportunities for youth, students and researchers interested in these fields. Additionally, the university offers master’s programs in astronomy, space sciences and related disciplines, which will undoubtedly contribute to building national competencies in these important areas.

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