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Quality Engineering Education For The Arab States Region

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Education in the Arab World / Mid-East Region

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1214.1 - 12.1214.5



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Paper Authors


Bethany Jones James Madison University

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BETHANY S. JONES is James Madison Distinguished Professor at the James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She recently completed an 18-month term as Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, UAE. Dr. Jones received her B.A. degree from Chestnut Hill College and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in French from Case Western Reserve University. Following her doctoral work, Dr. Jones held faculty appointments and administrative positions at Cleveland State University, the University of Delaware, Southwest Missouri State University , and then served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at James Madison University in Virginia

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Russel Jones World Expertise LLC

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RUSSEL C. JONES is a private consultant, working through World Expertise LLC to offer services in engineering education in the international arena. Prior to that, he had a long career in education: faculty member at MIT, department chair in civil engineering at Ohio State University, dean of engineering at University of Massachusetts, academic vice president at Boston University, and President at University of Delaware.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Quality engineering education for the Arab states region


Reform in engineering education is needed in all parts of the world, as universities prepare graduates to enter the profession of engineering which has been transformed by massive technological developments and by globalization of all aspects of concern to engineers. Engineering educators in the Arab states region face particular challenges in addition to those facing similar educators in other parts of the world: tailoring programs to fill the needs of countries that are undergoing rapid modernization, providing access to their education programs for segments of their societies that may not have had it in the past, offering programs which are relevant to the particular needs of women in their countries, and developing local or regional quality assurance mechanisms which have positive impact on their educational program.


It would be simple to present a paper exhorting engineering educators to carry forward with the mandate of adopting world class standards of engineering education in the Arab region, but is there anyone left who does not believe that this is what needs to be done?

Rather than belabor the obvious, let us look at the world in the Gulf and beyond in the other Arab states. In particular, we will examine both the pace and the scope of change which is coming about in this region, and think about how to reconcile the global quality mandate with the circumstances in the societies in which Arab engineers work. What we see is a call for engineering educators to think in accordance with global technical standards and to devise ways to apply them creatively to the fast changing local scene. It is in the space between global technical standards and local realities that engineering educators in the Arab world need to fashion their own quality assurance efforts.

The dynamics of change in the Arab world are startling. Change is taking place in areas which just a few years ago were seen as intractable. Elections are being held where they never were before. Women are making new inroads into the power structures of their countries. The western world is suddenly scrambling to understand the region it so long neglected. Arab-Israeli relations show some new dimensions. Underclass workers are daring to assert their rights. The media are becoming more insistent in their calls for greater freedom from government controls. No one who lives in the Arab world can miss noticing that change is in the air. Not the least of these changes is the growing conviction that the Arab world must rebuild its intellectual, social, scientific and technical capacities, which have been in decline for so long.

There are four areas where change is taking place where engineering educators would do well, in our opinion, to give some serious thought to changing their ways. They have to do with national employment policies, access to higher education, the role of women, and quality assurance mandates. Each of these is undergoing substantial change and offers

Jones, B., & Jones, R. (2007, June), Quality Engineering Education For The Arab States Region Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1769

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