At no time in the history of higher education and scientific research has the need to transform been more compelling. The range of opportunities looming on the horizon has never been so challenging: advances in science and technology, rising cost to deliver quality education, global competition for quality students and faculty, global shifts in teaching and learning models, expansiveness of information and modes of access, competing needs for resources, increased demand for accountability and increased productivity are just but a few issues that warrant fresh approaches in moving forward. The most important challenge that lies before us is the influence of the "global mind" on a "mobile" generation endowed with changing needs, moods, attitudes, preferences and expectations. All of this has placed the UoS at a crossroads.
The choices we make now have immense implications on how we emerge and what we become. Our guide through it all is our collective purpose which is to nurture hopes, build dreams, influence progress, shape mind sets, and impact life in the UAE and beyond.
UOS has achieved significant milestones in the short span of time since its inception in 1997 in accordance with the directives and support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah. The number of students has steadily grown from 676 in 1997 to surpass 13,500 students from more than 90 countries, the highest number of students among peer institutions in the UAE. The numbers of students aspiring to join the UOS is on the rise and the quality of admitted students has improved considerably as the high school threshold score of admitted students has risen from 70% in 1997 to 90% in 2014, and the threshold is on the upswing; more than 1/3 of the university's students receive scholarships from various providers; student enrollment in its graduate programs has increased to surpass the 850 mark; the number of graduates reached 17,730 by the end of the 2013‐2014 academic year; the number of faculty members stands at 540 in 2014 and an intense recruitment effort is underway to add many more; the supporting administrative staff has reached 880; the academic programs portfolio has grown to encompass 90 accredited programs in 14 colleges and many new programs have been planned to meet emergent community needs in various fields of knowledge; the medical complex with its four colleges and two hospitals is unique in providing comprehensive health and medical education in the UAE; the number of MoU's that have been signed with regional, international institutions and international universities now tops 190; nine impressive library buildings have been built to occupy more than 35,000 square meters and hold vast print and electronics resources that support the educational and research mission of the university; many active research institutes, centers and groups that have been established over the years engage in a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary research geared to advance development in the region and beyond; more than 106 modern laboratories provide a strong applied learning experience and support research in many disciplines; more than 55 networked computer labs are equipped with the latest hardware and software tools; complete modern athletic facilities enable students to engage in a wide range of pastime and competitive sports so that they may attain a holistic University experience; three on‐campus mosques allow people to congregate to renew their faith and commitment to higher values; modern dormitories provide a home for those away from home. These phenomenal accomplishments of the past short number of years will provide the thrust that propels the University to reach, by 2019, the internationalism that we aspire. Attaining this new status will require an unwavering commitment by all, to one team, one voice, and one purpose.
The way forward, is to solidify the university's brand of excellence in teaching and learning, advance its research profile in areas consequential to regional development, build a strong bond with the community and improve productivity and encourage innovation to optimize the impact of available resources through sustained leadership; collective commitment, and firm belief that we can reach these goals.
UOS invites you to be part of this unique experience; by reminding the UOS family of their potential; capabilities and achievements. I trust you will find the university all that you imagined and more… I welcome you to the University of Sharjah.
Professor Hamid M.K. AlNaimiy