Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning | American University of Sharjah

About Us

The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) supports the vision of American University of Sharjah to be globally recognized for outstanding and innovative teaching and learning, leading to positive and distinctive impacts on the region and beyond. The work of the CITL reflects the institutional values associated with providing a transformative student experience, maintaining an inclusive community, and supporting intellectual inquiry.

Vision and Mission


The American University of Sharjah Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning aspires to promote innovative teaching for an enhanced learning experience at AUS.


The American University of Sharjah Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning provides a welcoming environment that promotes pedagogical innovation, provides opportunities for the effective integration of technology and supports all faculty in their efforts to enhance teaching and learning.

Core Values

The primary goals of CITL are aligned with the AUS institutional values:

Instructional Innovation (Transformative Student Experience)

  • Cultivating a culture of classroom innovation that equips faculty members with pedagogical tools, strategies and knowledge necessary to support the integration of educational technologies that foster an inclusive and engaging learning environment for students of different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and abilities

Faculty Diversity and Inclusion (Inclusive Community)

  • Providing faculty members with a mutually respectful intellectual environment in which diversity and inclusion are valued

Lifelong Learning (Intellectual Inquiry)

  • Promoting professional development opportunities in teaching and learning in order to expand scholarship, lifelong learning and career growth
  • Providing and transforming the intellectual academic growth and skill acquisition of our students
Main Roles
  • Support the development, delivery and evaluation of courses and programs 
  • Provide support for enhancing teaching and learning
  • Support efforts to improve the assessments of learning outcomes
  • Provide training and assistance with instructional pedagogies and technologies to faculty
  • Provide personalized support to instructors for new and/or revised courses delivered in face-to-face, online or blended formats
  • Assist in the development, use and evaluation of innovative learning environments
  • Work in coordination with faculty to set effective and efficient standards for the use of learning and teaching technology tools
  • Provide leadership in the development of coherent digital learning tools and platforms
What we Offer

Our services range from individualized support to seminars and workshops, all of which can help improve your teaching effectiveness.

Course Certification Program

CITL is launching two new teaching certification programs beginning in Spring 2021. These teaching certificates are designed to promote pedagogical innovation and support faculty professional development. These programs are directly linked to AUS strategic plans, namely:

  • Strategy II.1.2.  Enrich existing methods and explore innovative modes of course delivery
  • Strategy II.2.1.  Value, promote and acknowledge excellence in teaching and approaches that support creative and critical thinking
  • Strategy II.2.3.  Support the attainment of educational goals through providing effective spaces, resources and digital learning tools

Faculty Certification and Course Redesign Program

Faculty Certification and Course Redesign program (FCCR) focuses on pedagogies associated with the use of digital learning technologies. While the focus will be on instructors teaching online and blended courses, the program will cover learning theories and learning principles that go beyond a digital environment.

The FCCR program is designed to support instructors who are new to the online teaching environment, as well as those who are seasoned veterans. It was developed through peer-reviewed research and best practices in course design and is open to all AUS faculty.  

All you need is to select one of your own courses to evaluate or redesign and attend the program. Space is limited so please register early. Registration closes January 17, 2021.

Program Dates
Delivery Method: Online
Date: January 12–13, 2022
Duration: Three live virtual sessions via Blackboard; self-study guide during week 7; course review session in week 12.

The Program

  • Offered across multiple semesters at different times and via different mediums
  • Utilizes a guided course review and self-evaluation component
  • Contains presentations on course design best practices and online pedagogies
  • Involves collaboration and communication with Instructional Designer
  • Provides a model course to begin the redesign process

Expected Results

  • A better understanding of course design and (online) teaching pedagogies
  • A newly redesigned/improved course
  • A certification from CITL 
  • Participation in the Blackboard Exemplary Course program

Apply Here


Email [email protected] for more information.

  • Faculty consultations (including one-on-one, private and confidential sessions)
  • Mentoring program for junior faculty
  • Workshops on how to improve teaching skills and learning outcomes
  • Training programs on innovation, experimentation and use of technology to enhance teaching
  • Classroom visits and peer evaluation of faculty teaching
  • Personalized assistance for skill development
  • LMS instructional strategy (including assessment of students)

These resources are provided for some quick ideas on key teaching topics or starting points to explore various aspects of teaching. If you do not find what you need, contact us at [email protected] and we will help you individually.

Online Teaching Tools

Online Teaching Resources

Other Resources

We continuously collect research articles and training materials related to teaching effectively in the era of technological change. If you have areas that you would like us to explore, please let us know.

Director's Message

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the CITL team, I welcome you to the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL).

I wish to take this opportunity to share with you the many opportunities CITL offers AUS faculty. . As we seek to engage with the opportunities and challenges facing us today, we continue to dedicate ourselves in investing our time and effort in teaching and learning that strengthen our learning community, and create an environment for faculty and students to pursue their passions, positioning AUS as a leading university in the region. Among these opportunities are our  o three certification programs: the Certificate in Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE), the Course (Re)Design Certificate (CRC) and the Certificate for University Teaching for PhD students (CUT). We also engage the extraordinary talents and resources of our faculty fellows to support many of the activities that we offer, including the three certification programs.. Serving as our faculty fellows for Academic Year 2022-2023 are Dr. Mai Zaki, Associate Professor of Arabic and Translation Studies; Dr. Randa Asad, Associate Professor of Physics; Dr. Mehdi Ghommen, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Ashraf Khallaf,  Professor of Accounting; and Paula Curran, Associate Professor of Art and Design,

This is an exciting time for AUS as we engage the opportunities and challenges facing higher education worldwide. I am deeply grateful to each of you for your contributions and extraordinary dedication to our students; I am honored to be playing a role as a Director of CITL and be a part of such a remarkable and talented community. I hope you will join us in many of  our exciting events..  

Dr. Norita Ahmad
Professor of MIS
Director, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL)

Faculty Fellows Program (FFP)

The Faculty Fellows Program (FFP) is designed and facilitated by fellows from schools/colleges across campus. Faculty fellows are full-time faculty members who have demonstrated leadership capacity in the areas of teaching and learning. Faculty fellows also help to address teaching, learning and technological challenges within their individual schools/colleges.

Faculty Fellows' Commitment

Faculty Fellows commit to the following:

  • serve as liaisons between the faculty of the school/college and the Director of the CITL to promote the continuous improvement of teaching and learning
  • identify school/college specific interests and needs for best teaching practices
  • develop a collaborative network of faculty committed to excellence in teaching and learning
  • submit a progress report of your initiatives and activities at the end of every semester
  • organize and lead teaching development events such as seminars and workshops:
    • suggest qualified moderators and panel members for CITL events
    • attend all CITL events
  • stimulate cross-disciplinary interaction event topics around the use of technology in promoting active learning, student-centered approaches and evidence-based teaching pedagogy relevant to your school/college/department
Benefits of Being a Faculty Fellow

The benefits of being a Faculty Fellow are:

  • a stipend for each academic year of service
  • use of CITL as a support platform for teaching and learning projects in your school/college
  • the opportunity to serve up to two academic years (upon approval of their renewal application)
  • priority enrollment in all CITL programs
  • recognition as a Faculty Fellow and leader supported by your school/college in ways that advance your university-level service record
  • the opportunity to develop a network of engaged educators to support the AUS educational mission towards a transformative student experience
Application Procedures

If you have an interest in promoting active learning, student-centered approaches, evidence-based teaching pedagogy and academic technologies, you should apply to be a Faculty Fellow.

Fellowships require at least a one-year commitment.



Dr. Mai Zaki | CAS

Dr. Mai Zaki
Associate Professor, Arabic and Translation Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

With a background in linguistics and language teaching, Dr. Zaki’s approach to teaching firmly builds on the foundation of active teaching and learning, where content, skills and the learning environment itself are key elements in every class. She also believes that teachers should be always developing their pedagogical approach as they seek to provide the best learning experience for their students. She has taught a wide variety of courses on both graduate and undergraduate levels in linguistics, translation, Arabic heritage and Arabic as a foreign language. She has a special interest in technology, whether in teaching or in research, as digital humanities is increasingly becoming the field of the future and integrating technology in the classroom encourages active learning.

“In 1961, the American educational psychologist Jerome Bruner wrote a paper on ‘The Act of Discovery’ where he highlighted the virtue of approaching learning as a task of ‘discovering something’ rather than ‘learning about it’. This means that teaching should be primarily about engaging the learners in active cognitive tasks and transforming their learning into viable thought structures and a long-term autonomous process which goes far beyond the mere handling of information. Within this view, student agency is allowed to thrive in a collaborative environment where students are seen as creators rather than receivers.”

Dr. Randa Asad | CAS

Dr. Randa Asad
Associate Professor, Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Asa'd is strongly passionate about teaching, with 10 years of teaching experience at AUS. She has taught several physics and astronomy courses and mentored many students in research projects. She enjoys getting to know her students as unique individuals and strives to inspire and guide them to fulfill their ambitions. In addition to her main research area in the field of astrophysics, she is also interested in physics education research. Her work has been published as a frontline in the peer-reviewed Physics Education Journal and presented at the American Association of Physics Teachers conference and other physics/astronomy education workshops.

“In this digital era where facts and information are at the tips of our fingers and can be easily accessed through the web on our cell phones, it is obvious that the role of an instructor is not to impart factual knowledge to be memorized, but to teach students how to utilize this information and inspire them to apply it in creative ways.”

Dr. Mehdi Ghommen | CEN

Dr. Mehdi Ghommen
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering

With more than a decade of experience in academia and industry, Dr. Ghommem has been working on adapting a teaching style that engages students in the learning process via interactions and relating the course material to real engineering applications. Keeping the motivation of the students at a high level is key to ensure such engagement. His approach is based on the establishment of a collaborative and interactive environment for learning when delivering a course. The switch to remote learning because of the pandemic was a great opportunity to explore and use different online tools. Mastering sophisticated digital learning technologies helped to achieve an effective delivery of courses in a blended and fully online learning environment. His previous experience with industry has been also helpful to guide students, give them insights on the workplace culture and prepare them for professional careers.

“Nowadays, professors are being called upon to focus more on their teaching approach/style and delivery modes with the goal to improve the educational opportunities for their students and effectively transfer the knowledge required to address complex engineering problems. As such, professors are constantly urged to consider technology-based teaching strategies and active learning techniques which have shown effectiveness in increasing the students’ interest in the course topics, promoting their engagement in the learning process, and developing their soft skills, creative and critical thinking abilities. Employers give high importance to such skills for new engineers in all disciplines to cope with the dynamic changes of the market.”        


Dr. Ashraf Khallaf | SBA

Dr. Ashraf Khallaf
Professor, Accounting
School of Business Administration

Dr. Khalaf has taught at many institutions such as Florida Atlantic University and the University of Southern Indiana, USA. Dr. Khallaf spent his sabbatical in 2018 as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. His areas of teaching interest are accounting information systems; auditing; data analytics for accounting; financial, intermediate and advanced accounting; and accounting for Islamic financial Institutions. His areas of research interests are capital market research, return on research and development and IT investments, internal control, data analytics and visualization, corporate governance, voluntary disclosure and Islamic finance. Dr. Khallaf is the 2016 recipient of the Best Teacher Award at the School of Business Administration and Use of Technology in Classroom Award from the AUS Faculty Development Center.

“The demand for college graduates with a data analytics mindset is growing rapidly, providing exceptional career opportunities. The skills that employers value now are changing in a way that increases the gap between the skills that the market expects our college students to acquire and the skills that students are possessing. The skills gap poses a pressing challenge and educators are among those in the frontlines of this battle. My teaching vision is to develop an analytical mindset across the SBA curriculum and infuse new technologies in the classroom to develop skills that are essential for lifelong learners such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving. It is important to emphasize that integrating technologies in the classroom will not be at the expense of or dilute the core knowledge students have to acquire but it will support the acquisition of their knowledge and enhance their analytical skills.”

Paula Curran | CAAD

Paula Curran
Associate Professor, Art and Design
College of Architecture, Art and Design

Professor Curran earned an MFA in Art and Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Prior to attending graduate school, she practiced graphic design for 10 years with the New York City Transit. Before coming to AUS in 2019, she taught graphic design at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa for 26 years.

In addition to teaching, she has maintained a robust record of creating award-winning designs. Most notably, she designed the narrative text for the public space plaza, De-Code/Re-Code in Atlanta, Georgia, commissioned by the city for the 1996 Olympics. She has written, designed and bound artists’ books, some of which have been purchased for special collections by university libraries. She has published articles on design pedagogy and presented at national and international conferences. Her chapter “Designing with Self-Authored Text” is featured in The Education of a Designer, editions 1 and 2, edited by Steven Heller of the New York Times.

“I see my role as that of a facilitator—engaging students to see and think. Software will come and go, but how students see, interpret and create images, use typography, develop ideas, view the fine details and understand the big picture are vital to their success as designers. Encouraging, guiding and advising students to think critically, make ethical decisions, and create imaginative, conceptually sound, and visually compelling work is the goal in my classroom.”

Information for New Faculty

Welcome To Your New Home!

You have just joined a vibrant, multicultural community. As faculty and staff residents comprise an integral part of our lively campus community, the university provides a wide range of facilities, services and opportunities that cater to the needs of our community members.

Coming to a new country and new position can be a stressful time for everyone concerned, especially if you also have family to consider. AUS faculty members come from many countries and cultures. Some are already acquainted with the Middle East. For others, this appointment introduces a completely new dimension to their lives. You will want to know what to expect and how to make the transition from your country to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and AUS. While you will enjoy the general atmosphere of conviviality and warm hospitality that prevails here, there will always be cultural and behavioral differences that will take time to assimilate and accept. The CITL will attempt to answer the many questions and concerns you may have as a new faculty member at AUS.


Pre-Arrival Information

Your contract has been signed and returned to the Office of the Chancellor, and now the process of getting to AUS commences. You should have received a welcome letter from Human Resources (HR) along with forms to complete and a list of required documents to be sent. For more information, download our New Faculty Welcome Kit.. This guide contains useful information about these services to help with your transition to AUS and the UAE.



The New Faculty Orientation is a week-long event designed to help new faculty transition to living and working at American University of Sharjah. 

Download our New Faculty Welcome Kit.

Workshops and Events

Fall 2022 Workshops and Events

With CITL’s commitment to provide support and promote effective teaching and learning across the entire AUS community, we are very excited to be facilitating face-to-face and virtual workshops on various topics this Fall 2022. We look forward to your participation in our events and workshops.

Please click here to view the lists of workshops for Fall 2022.

Spring 2022 Workshops and Events

CITL always strives and makes its utmost efforts in accomplishing its goal in sharing best practices, methodologies and knowledge on technology tools for enhancing teaching and learning to the AUS community. In Spring 2022, nine informative and interactive sessions were held, each of which was categorized as one of the following types of workshops: Teaching and Learning Hours, Technical Workshops and Virtual Lounge Sessions. The overall theme for the fall semester was "Best Practices for Assessment.. Through this theme, our panelists were able to share some of their insider tips, tricks, practices, habits and ideas that helped them successfully implement appropriate assessments into their classrooms. Remarkable feedback and appreciation from participants was received.

Click here to view the CITL Spring 2022 Workshops.

Fall 2021 Workshops and Events

As CITL is committed to supporting and promoting effective teaching and learning across the entire AUS community, 12 informative, meaningful and interactive workshops were conducted in Fall 2021. To provide better organization of these workshops, the following categories were used: Teaching and Learning Hours, Technical Workshops and Virtual Lounge Sessions. The purpose of the Teaching and Learning Hours Workshops is to provide AUS faculty with professional teaching support programs and to encourage teaching effectiveness, creativity and innovation. While the Technical Workshops focused on the practical application of various selected topics by CITL and/or faculty fellows. Participants will participate in a guided discussion about how to apply the demonstrated strategies in their classrooms. The Virtual Lounge (VL) is an interactive online meeting room where faculty and teaching staff across AUS campus discuss and reflect on the challenges and experiences related to teaching and learning in a virtual environment. The main objectives of this lounge are to support the development of excellence in teaching, and to establish best practice.

Click here to view the CITL Fall 2021 Workshops.

Newsletter and Youtube Channel

Get in Touch with Us

Norita Ahmad
Cell | +971 50 108 7484
Fax | +971 6 558 5065
Email | [email protected]

Walid Alieldin
Instructional Design Manager
Tel | +971 6 515 2148
Fax | +971 6 515 2800
Email | [email protected]

Cleofi-Krista Capili
Teaching and Learning Assistant
Tel | +971 6 515 2279
Email | [email protected]

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