Society of Engineers launches UAE-EDC

Filed on October 11, 2012

The UAE Engineering Deans Council (UAE-EDC) was established today, creating a unified body dedicated to promoting the advancement of engineering, information technology, and computer science education and research in the UAE.

The group, which currently comprises 15 higher education institutions, has been meeting informally since 2011 and today became an official entity under the Society of Engineers UAE organization.

The UAE-EDC aims to facilitate collaboration between academia, industry, and government to support the development of an integrated infrastructure for continued research and innovation in the country. The group was created to promote the advancement of engineering education (inclusive of information technology and computer science) and research ecosystems in the UAE, and to serve the UAE community at large. The UAE-EDC provides a platform for members of higher education institutions to share information regarding best practices, challenges, and experiences, while supporting greater collaboration between higher education, industry, and government bodies concerned with engineering, information technology, computer science, and related fields in the UAE.

Represented by deans of Engineering, Information Technology, or Computer Science, member institutions currently include: Abu Dhabi University, Ajman University of Science & Technology, Al Ghurair University, Al Hosn University, American University in Dubai, American University of Sharjah, Higher Colleges of Technology, Khalifa University, Masdar Institute, the Petroleum Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE University, University of Sharjah, University of Wollongong in Dubai, and Zayed University.

Eng. Essa Al Maidoor, Deputy Director General of Dubai Municipality and President of Society of Engineers – UAE said: “The Society of Engineers – UAE is gratified to incorporate the UAE-EDC, which will enhance engineering education and create opportunities for sharing expertise locally and internationally. We believe that we should dedicate our power, resources, expertise and knowledge in the development of the learning process for the welfare of our people and the development of engineering education in the UAE.”

Given the emerging status of engineering education and research in the country, it is this combination of resources that will create a “powerful critical mass” that will help the UAE’s education institutions compete on a global stage, NYUAD Dean of Engineering Dr. Sunil Kumar, who initiated the formation of the engineering deans’ group, said.

“We felt that it was important to create a cohort of engineering deans to address issues of common interest, through collective effort create an ecosystem in the UAE that attracts top faculty and students,” Kumar said. “The UAE has a great need for scientists and engineers as it continues its evolution towards becoming a knowledge-based economy. Through our combined resources we believe we can make a global impact.”

The Council also aims to support the adoption of international standards and accreditation amongst member institutions through sharing experiences and best practice, and to engage with international engineering education organizations.

Dr. Alaa Ashmawy, professor and dean of the School of Engineering at the American University in Dubai noted that as a next step the group will seek membership to its international counterpart, the Global Engineering Deans Council.

“On an international level, this group will provide us with the platform to organize conferences and knowledge sharing opportunities, stimulating a dialogue on issues of both local and global concern, such as accreditation, research partnerships, and student recruitment and retention,” he said.

Dr. Aly Nazmy, dean of Engineering and Computer Science at Abu Dhabi University, said: “Being a small country, the name of the game is collaboration and getting together regularly has indeed improved this collaboration. This group will help us understand the market demand for engineering graduates across the different emirates, and coordination with government and industry bodies will help us get feedback on their needs in terms of preparation of graduates across different disciplines. Having one coherent, united front to deal with different issues will bringa number of benefits to the engineering field in the country.”

Dr. Yousef Al-Assaf, dean of Engineering at the American University of Sharjah, added: “The formation of the Engineering Deans Council is a millstone in engineering education and research in UAE, and we are certain it will play a significant role in the development of this country. It will help various concerned public and private entities to network and align their efforts to carry out engineering education and research, and help them benefit from shared experiences and resources. We are pleased to have this council affiliated with the Society of Engineers as many professional engineers will benefit from the work of the council, just as they would support it to achieve its goals.”

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