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Exploring Approaches to Professional Development of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Waddah Akili Iowa State University

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Waddah Akili has been in the academic arena for over 37 years. He has held academic positions at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Penna (66-69), at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (69-87), and at the University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar (87-00). Professor Akili’s major field is geotechnical engineering and materials. His research work & experience include: characterization of arid and semi arid soils, piled foundations, pavement design & materials, and concrete durability. His interests also include: contemporary issues of engineering education in general, and those of the Middle East and the Arab Gulf States in particular.

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The increased mobility of engineers worldwide poses new and difficult challenges to country and/or region–based systems of engineering education, whose advocates now face the possibility that their graduates may not possess the skills recognized as valuable in other countries or by international employers operating within their own country or region. One of the world’s regions where engineering education is rapidly evolving, and becoming increasingly international is: the Arab Gulf Region ((Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman) which faces significant challenges as it seeks to meet the demands on the engineering profession in the years to come. Engineering faculty in the Arab Gulf Region, and the young in particular, need to expand their technical knowledge and develop new competencies to further their technical professional development and keep up with modern approaches to teaching and learning. This paper explores ways to effective professional development of Region’s engineering educators to enable them to assume the roles they are entrusted with. The purpose here is to offer a new way to think about the development of the professional engineering educator. In this respect, the paper focuses on:(i) the cognitive processes that faculty would follow as they grow and learn more about teaching and learning,(ii) the discipline-based industrial/practical experience they need to acquire in their locale to add to their repertoire as “practitioners” of engineering, and (iii) the institutional initiatives, including administrative support, encouragement, and resources. What is needed is to create a change in culture within the institution, the department or the college. Also, to generate a comprehensive and integrated set of components: clearly articulated expectations, a reward system for good teaching aligned with expectations, and opportunities for professional development to occur. The ultimate goal is to identify what Arab Gulf Region’s engineering educators and their institutions should do to generate more powerful and responsive forms of education that improves the quality of student learning. The author makes use of his past experience as an engineering educator in the Region, plus, his continuous monitoring of: plans, programs, practices, and relevant activities of teaching and learning in Region’s colleges.

Akili, W. (2018, June), Exploring Approaches to Professional Development of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31382

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