Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi: Career readiness at the heart of courses

Prof. Silvia Serrano, Vice-Chancellor, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
Prof. Silvia Serrano, Vice-Chancellor, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi

Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi equips students with the tools to construct their own future

Many would think that the pandemic has completely revamped educational models for the future, which I personally disagree with. We are facing an unexpected and an exceptional situation that requires prompt reaction. We have to rethink and reorganise the classes and try to adapt by bringing new solutions and use technology to execute online classes. However, at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, we were thinking of embedding online teaching in our courses even before the pandemic. It was already a part of our strategic plan and there were discussions about how to increase the courses delivered online in comparison to face-to-face courses and how to include new technologies and digital tools to support and enhance our teaching methodology. As a result, we were ready to go for online courses quickly.

I think that online classes were already meant to be part of the educational model in the future and the pandemic just made this happen at a very fast pace. In addition, all students and faculty now can have the access or even host online seminars and conferences from any part of the world using online tools, which will facilitate the exchange of knowledge. The challenge remains with regards to the teaching style used in bachelor programmes as I believe that physical classes will remain and maybe only part of the courses might stay online. Finally, following the travel ban, many students chose to study in their home countries rather than travel abroad. This is why fast-tracking and providing the best education will be the responsibility and the highest priority of all international universities.

Prepping students to new market requirements
The education system at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi offers not only academic programmes that are relevant to the international and local job market, but also equips students with the right tools to construct their own future to become specialists in their professional fields and responsible citizens of the world.

Our students begin their adult lives in an extraordinarily changing and complex world. This world requires skilled professionals, even highly skilled in technology, engineering and business, etc. But it also requires young people capable of adapting to new situations, of improvising, of imagining new answers to challenges that seemed unimaginable the day before. The Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect illustration of this. An openness to the humanities makes it possible to place these developments in the history of humanity, to provide students with intellectual tools that enable them to take a critical distance and to establish a hierarchy of what is important and what is less important.

In addition, we have a dedicated career centre that aims to help students at all levels of academic study gain professional skills and develop career readiness.

Tech in educational advancement
Technology is a very broad term. Digital technology might support the existing educational system but will not replace the physical classes. Students should be educated on how to use digital technology in a way that supports their studies to begin with. For example, digital technology has made resources available to everyone. However, its the educational institutions' role to teach students how to identify legitimate sources that will allow students to produce authentic research that can help in the advancement of their countries.

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