9 June 2020
In place of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Sharjah, His Excellency Mohammed Abdallah, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees and CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, chaired the remote virtual meeting of the 49th Board of Trustees of the University of Sharjah with the participation of all members of the Board on Monday June 8th, 2020.
His Excellency Mohammed Abdallah started the meeting with relaying the greetings of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Board of Trustees and expressed his appreciation to the members of the Board for their efforts in studying, evaluating and adopting plans, studies and projects and all that would contribute to enhancing the development and progress of the University of Sharjah in the national, regional and global horizons and achieving the accomplishments and statuses that it was been able to reach.
The members of the Board of Trustees extended their gratitude, appreciation and respect to His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, President of the University of Sharjah, and Chairman of the Board. They stressed that His Highness's material and moral support for the projects and plans of the University of Sharjah's academic and scientific endeavours and its Board of Trustees and the directives His Highness provide are behind the major achievements of the University of Sharjah.
Then the meeting started during which the Board decided to grant an honorary doctorate to each of His Excellency Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Ministry of Health and Prevention, and Dr. Arif Al Nooryani, CEO of Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, which was proposed by the Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees based on the criteria and reasons that matched the foundations of the regulations to grant an honorary doctorate degree issued by the President of the University His Highness Ruler of Sharjah. The person considered for an honorary doctorate degree must be a prominent and well-known figure for excellence and is a source of appreciation and inspiration for society, future generations, and workers in the academic field. The person must have exceptional achievements in scientific, social, economic, humanitarian fields and contributed at the national and global levels.
After the Board approved the minutes of its previous meeting, the members listened to a report on the latest developments at the University of Sharjah, which was presented by its Chancellor Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, who began by thanking His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah, affirming that His Highness's directives and generous support materially and morally for the University are the basis for accomplishing its progress and development of its achievements and thus reaching its position as a distinct institution in higher education and scientific research at the national, regional and global levels.
Then the University Chancellor gave his report, starting with an introduction through which he indicated that the University began implementing its strategic plan 2019-2024 with the beginning of the fall semester of 2019/2020 based on its great progress as being a distinguished institution in higher education and scientific research, and pointed out that the world witnessed during the academic year 2019/2020 a tremendous change in the educational process as it was forced to the system of distance learning and work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This reaffirmed the University's success in fast and integrated adapting with this system by planning, implementing and employing means to ensure the continuity of education, research, administrative and other activities at a distinguished level and achieving all desired goals in several areas. This including graduation of the largest batch of PhD and master's students in the history of the University, including the graduation of the first batch of students in the PhD in Molecular Medicine, PhD of Engineering Management, and PhD of Applied Sociology programs. This in addition to graduating students from the PhD in Sharia and Islamic Studies and PhD in Law programs, with the steady growth in the research production of faculty members. Remote education and examination processes were also completed and the University advanced in the number of academic accreditation visits and activities using virtual mechanisms and obtained academic accreditation for programs as planned.
The Chancellor also talked about the proposal to establish the integrated analytical center, and about another proposal to create a medical journal issued by the University of Sharjah as a specialized, periodic and independent journal to enhance the University's classification internationally and help in the promotion of internationally approved scientific research at the University, the Arab world and globally. He noted that the University issues several scientific journals among them: the University of Sharjah Journal for Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Sharjah Journal of Sharia and Islamic Studies, and the University of Sharjah Journal of Legal Sciences.
Then, His Excellency the Chancellor referred to what was included in his report on the topic of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. He confirmed that the University succeeded in dealing with this sudden and unusual situation and continued all its activities and work through planning and implementation of various technological methods related to the distance learning system. The educational process continued without interruption and teaching and exams were completed in accordance with the published academic calendar using distance learning techniques, and scientific research activities, administrative work and academic accreditation were also uninterrupted by applying appropriate mechanisms and techniques. He also highlighted some details of methodologies, measures, decisions, and procedures that the University implemented to ensure business continuity.
Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy confirmed the University's improvement and progress in all classification indicators, noting that it is a University that has an excellent performance in the international presence in terms of the diversity of students, faculty members, researchers, and employees, as well as a steady performance in terms of returns achieved by scientific research and development for the industrial sector. He also indicated an improvement in the percentage of students to faculty members. He added that the University needs to increase the number of PhD programs it offers.
Relating to the academic programs offered by the University, the Chancellor said that it currently offers 108 accredited programs, namely: 15 PhDs, 36 Masters, 2 Postgraduate Diploma, 55 Bachelor programs, and that there are 36 programs in progress (6 PhDs, 20 Masters, 9 Bachelor's degrees, 1 Postgraduate Diploma). These programs are expected to be offered during the years from 2020 to 2022 in addition to three proposed programs submitted to the Board of Trustees currently held for approval, and that all programs and curricula are subject to a process of periodic review and continuous improvement through a strict system of institutional effectiveness, and these programs and courses offered in all branches of the University are characterized by harmony that ensures transparency and students' equal opportunities.
With regard to Emiratization measures, the Chancellor stated that the University is making continuous efforts to increase the Emiratization of academic and administrative jobs, noting that the percentage of national administrative employees has increased to 65%, and that the University will implement a comprehensive plan to prepare and improve the skills of faculty members of from the UAE as teachers, researchers, and innovators. This will include appropriate employment, guidance, continuous development, and attendance at conferences and other related activities. He added that the University is working to achieve this in response to the high directives of its President His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as the University also gives employment priority to its graduates and provide them with career development and training opportunities.
Speaking about the students, the University Chancellor confirmed through his report that the number of students applying to enroll in the University is constantly increasing, indicating that the it attracts more students every year, and that the number of those registered in the academic year: 2019/2020 has reached 15382, exceeding the expected number in the strategic plan.
With the end of the University Chancellor's report, the Board approved the University's budget for the academic year: 2020/2021, which amounted to one billion and fourteen million dirhams, which exceeded its size for the last academic year, which was (954) million dirhams, and it also approved a number of projects important to advance the performance of the University, including the WiFi networks, some modern technologies, male and female students campuses restaurants, and other development measures. The University will adopt a number of reports, projects, and recommendations presented by each of the Compliance and Internal Auditing Committee headed by H.E. Dr. Tariq bin Khadim, Chairman of the Directorate of Human Resources; the Financial Committee headed by H.E. Mohammed Abdallah, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank; and the Academic Committee headed by H.E. Dr. Obaid Al Muhairi, Former Director of Technical Colleges in Fujairah. Among the Board's approvals were also a number of academic promotions for faculty members to the degrees of professor and associate professor and the introduction of a master's in applied mathematics program, masters in food processing engineering program, and a bachelor's degree in biomedical informatics. A specialized medical research journal was also approved as an independent periodical journal, and the establishment of an integrated analytical center, which is the first of its kind in the country, to become the leading body in conducting survey research, pharmaceutical, clinical and biological and environmental analyses in accordance with the applied international guidelines and levels. This center will also provide advanced analytical needs for researchers, students, and society in the areas of characterization of environmental quality and provide specialized health care according to the needs of individuals.
The Board of Trustees also approved the University's annual plan 2020/2021 to confront the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of academic and research activities and the participation of the University of Sharjah with health authorities and the Ministry of Health in this cause. They also approved the graduation of 1827 university students, including 335 male and female students from graduate programs, 46 of them for a PhD degree in the medical, engineering, legal, humanity, Islamic, and law disciplines.
The meeting, which was chaired by His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah, Chairman of the Financial Committee of the Board of Trustees, was attended by: H.E. Dr. Obaid Al Muhairi, Former Director of Technical Colleges in Fujairah; H.E. Dr. Tariq bin Khadim, Chairman of the Directorate of Human Resources in the Government of Sharjah; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Alrasheed, Attorney and Legal Advisor; H.E. Dr. Engr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority; H.E. Dr. Muhadditha Al Hashimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Private School Authority; and Mrs. Noura Al Noman, Chairman of the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi.
Among the global scientific personalities, the meeting was attended by: Prof. Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa; Prof. Alexander Kuleshov, President of Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow (Skoltech); Prof. Guenter Meyer, Director of the Centre for Research on the Arab World (CERAW) at the University of Mainz, Germany; Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, Professor of Electronics Engineering and Co-Director of the Center for Clean Water and Energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; Prof. Abdallah I. Husein Malkawi, Chancellor, Fahad Bin Sultan University, KSA; Prof. Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Strategic Science Projects Director of the Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, and Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester, UK; Prof. Mohamed H. Sayegh, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon; and finally Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS).