A key feature of our programs is the intensive, hands-on learning in our well-equipped and extensive laboratory facilities.
Dear students, alumni, colleagues, friends,
Here’s wishing you and yours a healthy, safe, and joyous new year. Engineers make more than wishes: we make promises.
As the College of Engineering, we promise all our stakeholders that we will serve, with increased rigor, our mission of producing the best qualified adaptive engineering leaders, and the best academic impact, in terms of socio-economic contribution to society at large, at global quality standards.
At the end of a taxing year, we are proud to report that we quickly emerged out of the reactive mode as a global leader in starting to define the future. We made headway toward our strategic goals, upholding our unwavering values, with an efficiently maneuvered set of actions. High quality of education, community outreach and impact, and research output were not at all compromised as we maintained student leadership, diversity and inclusion, increasing attractiveness of engineering, following cutting edge trends in engineering education, and pioneering research and development.
Engineering education is, in great part, experiential. Internships, laboratory work, and design projects need immersive, interactive environments and often necessitate teamwork. Virtualization of education is therefore especially challenging when it comes to engineering education.
We have been tirelessly improving our virtual learning environments not only to mimic face-to-face education as best possible, but also to surpass performance of traditional delivery by accelerating the trend towards blended, problem-based, asynchronous, technology supported learning. We already had the instructional infrastructure in place on our trajectory following these global trends. As such, our aim has remained the same: to provide our students with the best education possible; not merely to react to the pandemic. Our Technology Supported Learning Team continues to work closely with IT in continuous improvement cycles, keeping the pulse of faculty and students through the rapid adaptation to changes. As a result, we have delivered every course outcome and credit we promised our students, without compromising quality, without delaying a single expected graduation date.
We are the lead institution of the Global Virtual Internship Program (GVIP). GVIP was devised by the Global Engineering Deans Council and implemented jointly with the European Society for Engineering Education. GVIP proved to be more than a band-aid solution to internship placement: we initiated it as a solution to meet the internship needs of engineering students in the face of severely reduced internship opportunities in the industry. The program brought together global universities and some of our corporate partners with the global body of engineering students. It is safe to say, GVIP is here to stay as it leveled the playing field for international internship experiences albeit virtually. The GVIP web site has been viewed almost 40,000 times at the time of writing this piece. The principle of reciprocity; i.e., each university offering roughly as many internship opportunities to the engineering students of the world as the number of students it sends out to the world, was observed in the universal collegial culture that binds us together. We are glad to see increasing participation by corporate members in the program. AUS continues to lead the program with the highest number of internship opportunities we offer to engineering students of the world; in turn, providing our students the highest number of opportunities to do their internships around the world.
Our industry ties have continued to diversify and grow stronger, both locally and globally. We managed to secure new sponsorships for both faculty and students; research and development collaborations, internship and employment placements. It is a huge source of pride and joy to see our alumni as excellent ambassadors of our university, with quite a few at decision making posts. We are striving to keep strong roots of our alumni healthy in our hearts and minds via online platforms for communications and events.
Student engagement in all we do has evolved to a strong, productive, focused, constructive student leadership movement. We have formed the Dean’s ACE Team of student leaders whose job description, befittingly, is formulated by
the team themselves. I am delighted and proud to report our colleagues in training are purpose-driven, responsible, resilient, and industrious.
As the first and only female dean of engineering in the country and region, I deem it my duty to support women in engineering. Our respectable percentage of female students need more role models on faculty. All of our faculty and leadership team are united in furthering the cause. We are well aware of the urgency of inclusion of the innovativeness, and creativity of all in generating engineering solutions.
We have hopes, guesses, or projections about the “new normal,” yet to be defined. What we do know is that we will be globally in tighter collaboration, with our increased sensitivity and awareness: we are ever more lean and agile in working across time zones, more inclusive than ever geographically and otherwise, with the virtual platforms augmenting all we do. The already strengthened sense of global collaboration and community will continue to fuel our innovations.
As I end with best wishes for the new year, let me iterate, we, engineers, make more promises than wishes. As the global engineering community is getting stronger, more hopeful, and more vigilant to usher in the vision of sustainable life on Earth, as a shining beacon in the region, AUS, our college in particular, will continue to generate knowledge, socio-economic value, excellent human resources to make our region and our world healthier, safer, and more joyous.
May 2021 be a good one for you and yours. Please take good care, and stay in touch.
December 24, 2020
Prof. Sirin Tekinay, PhD
Dean, College of Engineering, American University of Sharjah
Chair, Global Engineering Deans Council
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