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Perspectives on Professional Development of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Current Trends, Challenges, and Future Outlook

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

But I'm a Loner! Expanding capability and creativity by examining effective alliances

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


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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Perspectives on Professional Development of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Current Trends, Challenges, and Future Outlook


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 Region, and the young ones in particular, need to expand their technical knowledge and develop new competencies to further their technical and 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 need to follow as they grow and learn more about teaching and learning,(ii) the discipline-based industrial/practical experience they should 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, i.e., the department or college, 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 Region’s engineering educators and their institutions can do to generate more powerful and 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 an administrator, and looks forward to a new paradigm in engineering education that will lead to widespread reform, to ensure the vitality and currency of engineering education in the Arab Gulf Region.

Akili, W. (2016, June), Perspectives on Professional Development of Engineering Educators in the Arab Gulf Region: Current Trends, Challenges, and Future Outlook Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25893

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