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

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. 



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

    Director's Message

    Welcome to the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) at American University of Sharjah. A key principle for the CITL is to be an effective agent of change that promotes leadership and innovation. CITL emphasizes the creative side of learning and embraces innovation as an important way to ensuring a continuous improvement process that delivers quality education to our students.

    In Spring 2020, the abrupt switch from face-to-face to online teaching due to COVID-19 was very challenging for all of us. However, the benefits of developing a sustainable teaching and learning strategy is a huge benefit in the long run. As such, our priorities will continue to support innovative, evidence-driven pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning in the online environment. We believe that now more than ever, embracing and celebrating ties that connect our community is profoundly important. At the heart of the CITL is its relationship with faculty.

    We are proud to play a central role in pedagogical and technological advancement and to connect with our community to enrich the teaching and learning experiences for both the faculty and students. We look forward to working with you in the pursuit of outstanding teaching. Please be in touch!

    Best wishes,
    Dr. Norita Ahmad

    CITL's 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

    Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate

    This training program is specifically designed to support the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship course (IEN 301 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Mindset), that will be a university requirement for all undergraduate students as of the 2020­–2021 catalog onwards. Course instructors for IEN 301 will need to be certified through this program.

    Program Dates
    Delivery Method: Online
    Date: February–March 2021
    Duration: 4 weeks

    The Program

    • A self-paced (asynchronous) Innovation and Entrepreneurship course produced and taught by faculty members from Stanford University
    • Access to Stanford Educator’s Guide
    • Live interactions with Stanford faculty members: a total of two to three virtual sessions (80 minutes each) 
    • Sustainability training by our own sustainability experts 

    How to apply
    Enrollment for the Spring 2021 cohort is closed. 

    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 24–28, 2021
    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.


    Our Virtual Lounge sessions are an interactive online meeting room where faculty and teaching staff can discuss challenges and experiences related to teaching and learning.

    Watch all our recorded events here


    2020 Newsletter

    To view the Fall 2020 newsletter, click here.

    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

    How to Apply

    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.

    Apply to be a Faculty Fellow (Applications are now closed for Academic Year 2020­­–2021).


    Faculty Fellows 2020–21

    Mohammed Ibahrine

    Mohammed Ibahrine
    Associate Professor | Department of Mass Communication
    College of Arts and Sciences

    “Teaching is my passion and profession. My own research inspires me to be an eternal learner and teacher who believes in the power of communicative collaboration and interaction as well as the symmetrical relationships between the instructors as facilitators and students as learners.”

    Dr. Mohamed Ibahrine has a strong interdisciplinary approach to both his research and teaching that connects technology, human behavior in societal contexts, creativity, innovation, business models and entrepreneurship, which represent a significant convergent point of digital humanities, social science and business studies. He hopes to inspire his colleagues to explore various pedagogies for a future that is open to the rapid spread and adoption of new technologies, trends and ideas that will enable AUS at large to face a future full of challenges and opportunities. 

    Zinka Bejtic (Acting Fellow)

    Zinka Bejtic (Acting Fellow)
    Associate Professor | Department of Art and Design
    College of Architecture, Art and Design

    I am passionate about teaching and consider it to be more of a calling than a job. Throughout the years, I have been naturally inclined to explore different ways of interacting with students of various levels and diverse cultural backgrounds. I remain curious and engaged in learning, often interested in finding out the answers to design problems along with my students and my peers.”

    With over 20 years of teaching experience, recognized for excellence in teaching, and with a PhD in Educational Psychology, Dr. Zinka Bejtic is dedicated to researching and advancing studio-based and experiential pedagogies of all disciplines. Her work is aimed to assist university-level educators in learning about what constitutes successful studio teaching and applying the specific techniques to enhance students' learning experience.  

    Akmal Abdelfatah

    Akmal Abdelfatah
    Professor | Department of Civil Engineering
    College of Engineering

    “Teaching has always been a crucial part of my life. As someone who has been an educator for more than 20 years, I derive my enthusiasm and passion from my students and my peers. As a Faculty Fellow representing the College of Engineering, I hope to inspire, promote and share my knowledge with students and colleagues for high-quality education across campus.”

    Dr. Akmal Abdelfatah has been working as an Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Civil Engineering (CVE) at AUS since Fall 1999. Through his career at AUS, he has accumulated good experience in undergraduate and graduate teaching. He has contributed to the development and major updates of the civil engineering (CVE) undergraduate curriculum and the graduate curricula for the master’s programs in urban planning (UPL), engineering systems management (ESM), and civil engineering, and he taught several undergraduate (in CVE) and graduate courses (in UPL, ESM and CVE) at AUS. Through his career at AUS, he has applied different teaching technologies.

    Cindy Baker

    Cindy Baker
    Senior Instructor | Department of Management
    School of Business Administration

    Technology is a part of our lives, it is here to stay, and moves faster than we can keep up. But, the rapid pace of technology does not mean that we can ignore it; quite the contrary, we need to embrace change as much as we can. We are educators but we also must be learners. We need to continue to grow our skills, update our teaching styles, and equip our graduates with technology solutions so they can compete well upon graduation.

    With over two decades of experience in industry and teaching, Cindy Baker strives to build a bridge between the classroom and the board room. Using technology as an inroad, she desires to equip SBA graduates with technology skills so they can compete well in the business world. With a fundamental belief that education is an avenue to success, she is a lifelong learner and seeks to instill the same in her students.

    Raja Bahloul

    Raja Bahloul
    Senior Instructor | Achievement Academy

    “Teaching is the art of facilitating learning, and to best meet learners’ needs, we need to immerse ourselves in their digital world and embrace pedagogical innovations that keep them motivated and engaged in the learning process.”

    Raja Bahloul received her Master of Arts in Linguistics from Cornell University, NY, USA. She has been teaching English for more than 20 years. She taught in the US, Saudi Arabia and France before joining AUS in 2000. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys working with her students. She is constantly striving to use innovative teaching strategies to engage her students in the learning process.

    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 Guide for New Faculty. 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.


    Get In Touch

    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]

    Nour Abdulmalak
    Instructional Design Assistant
    Tel | +971 6 515 4146
    Email | [email protected]