Abu Dhabi University Sets Standard for Student Experience in UAE’s Higher Education Sector
02 September 2018
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 19 August 2018 – Abu Dhabi University (ADU), an internationally recognized academic institution for quality education and applied research, is setting the standard for student experience in a way unprecedented in the UAE, establishing new benchmarks for student happiness, satisfaction and engagement throughout the student journey. Abu Dhabi University’s efforts come as part of its commitment to the government’s vision of making the UAE one of the happiest countries in the world.
Notably, ADU is the first university in the country to offer a course on happiness and positive psychology as part of its official curriculum. Inspired by the UAE’s happiness initiatives, ADU’s ‘Students First’ program continues to deliver pioneering services and facilities unique in the UAE’s higher education sector, introducing a top-level standard throughout the student lifecycle. In addition to ensuring a seamless and integrated student experience, the program invites their active engagement in the university’s operations and decision making.
Speaking about the Student First program, Professor Waqar Ahmad, ADU’s Chancellor, said: “For us, students are not ‘customers’. They are partners in their own education and in our decision making, whether it is through contributing to policy via representation on all university committees, participating in developing our strategic plan, playing a role in strategies to improve retention or quality enhancement, or even serving on panels for appointments of senior level capacities. This partnership makes the university stronger. And through participation in leadership, our students gain the skills so necessary for future leadership positions.”
A comprehensive roadmap is in place at ADU to emphasize student success and satisfaction at every milestone. The university is currently using its in-house research expertise and skills in data analytics to guide such work. To accelerate the process, the university has brought in leading management experts with global experience, validating ADU’s commitment to becoming the leading student-centric university in the region.
Professor Ahmad added: “The major cross-university initiative is the product of months of research with potential and existing students. We put our students at the heart of everything we do and, most importantly, we listen to our students. It is through their input that we have been able to identify what matters most to them. All our Student First initiatives are based around this important feedback alongside the best research evidence.”
ADU has substantially increased its efforts in engaging students in the life of the university. Students have been closely involved in contributing ideas to enhance both the physical spaces at the university, as well as influencing governance structures. Working with professional designers and architects, their concepts have been used to revamp the gyms, student learning centers and ADU’s new Innovation Center. Feedback from students was also integral to the development of ADU’s brand-new website launched in July 2018. The student voice is an essential part of how things are done at ADU, illustrated clearly by student representation on panels that have appointed some of the most senior people at the university, including, most recently, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor and a Dean.
“When you are confronted by students on your appointment panel, asking you incisive questions about how you as Chancellor will improve student engagement and satisfaction, you realize their central position in the life of ADU,” noted Professor Waqar.
The improvements across the entire student journey result in an educational experience of the highest standard, as well as the delivery of seamless services and innovative digital experiences.
Looking ahead, ADU has lined up a series of initiatives for implementation that places at its core superior education, innovation and transformation as part of its contribution to the UAE’s higher education landscape.
As a leading regional center of academic excellence, Abu Dhabi University offers globally competitive curricula and unique tailored degree programs that enable students to maximize both their academic and career potential. ADU’s three campuses in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai host a vibrant and cosmopolitan student population drawn from more than 70 nationalities. Equipped with state-of-the-art science, computer and engineering laboratories, the premises also include lecture halls, media studios and a dedicated library housing over 25,000 titles.