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On the Competencies of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Relevant Thoughts, Current Practices, and Challenges

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Assessments, Assessments, and Assessments

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.993.1 - 25.993.20



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Paper Authors


Waddah Akili Iowa State University

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Waddah Akili has been in the academic arena for more than 37 years. He has held academic positions at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Penn. (1966-1969), at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1969-1987), and at the University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar (87-00). Akili’s major field is geotechnical engineering and materials. His research work and experience include characterization of arid and semi arid soils, piled foundations, pavement design and 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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On the Competencies of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Relevant Thoughts, Current Practices, and Challenges AbstractThe increased mobility of engineers worldwide poses new and difficult challenges tocountry an/or region–based systems of engineering education, whose advocates now facethe possibility that their graduates may not possess the skills recognized as valuable inother countries or by international employers operating within their own country orregion. One of the world’s regions where engineering education is rapidly evolving, andbecoming increasingly international is: the Arab Gulf Region ((Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman) which faces significant challenges as itseeks to meet the demands on the engineering profession in the years to come.Engineering faculty in the Region, and the young in particular, need to expand theirtechnical knowledge and develop new competencies to further their technicalprofessional development and keep up with modern approaches to teaching and learning.This paper explores ways to effective professional development of Region’s engineeringeducators to enable them to assume the roles they are entrusted with. The purpose here isto offer a new way to think about the development of the professional engineeringeducator. In this respect the paper focuses on:(i) the cognitive processes that facultywould 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 theirrepertoire as “practitioners” of engineering, and (iii) the institutional initiatives,including: administrative support, encouragement and resources. What is needed is tocreate a change in culture within the institution, i.e., the department or college, togenerate a comprehensive and integrated set of components: clearly articulatedexpectations, a reward system for good teaching aligned with expectations, andopportunities for professional development to occur. The ultimate goal is to identify whatRegion’s engineering educators and their institutions can do to generate more powerfuland responsive forms of education that improves the quality of student learning.The author draws on his own experience in the Region, as a faculty member and anadministrator, and looks forward to a new paradigm in engineering education that willlead to widespread reform, to ensure the vitality and currency of engineering education inthe Arab Gulf Region.

Akili, W. (2012, June), On the Competencies of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Relevant Thoughts, Current Practices, and Challenges Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21750

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