Higher education institutions are looking to put the UAE on the map—and at the top of education rankings—through innovative programs, collaborations, and research.

S. V. Kota Reddy

Academic President, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Dubai Campus

In our school of business, the focus is on establishing a center of excellence in entrepreneurship. We recently organized an international conference in entrepreneurship with a prominent keynote speaker from the University of Michigan. We are also working on establishing centers of excellence in finance, applied logistics, and other areas within our school of business. In our engineering and IT school, we are establishing a center of excellence in robotics and another in networks. Our goal is to be a leader in robotics by 2020, and we are collaborating with a number of partners to that end. Similarly, other schools are also establishing centers of excellence in their own fields; our goal is to be the best university in the UAE by 2020. In terms of improving our rankings, we have four areas of focus: academic reputation, research, industry collaboration, and further developing our alumni relations and internationalization.

Ammar Kaka

Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

We were the first overseas university to set up in Dubai International Academic City in 2005. It is a positive development to have more universities. Two years ago, we wanted to develop the China market for Dubai and went on a mission with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and other universities to propel Dubai forward as a good proposition for education. Having more quality universities in Dubai International Academic City helps us put Dubai on the map. We would all individually benefit from that proposition because it means that we will be able to recruit students from outside. We used to get a handful of Chinese students in the past, and this year, we have nearly one hundred students from China. Heriot-Watt's entry standards are among the highest in the UAE, justifying the high tuition fee. We started the “Go Global” initiative to move students around all of our campuses worldwide, and global exposure will help dramatically, especially in terms of employment.

Prof. Dave Davis

Senior Director of Medical Education, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU)

It has been a spectacular journey, and I am proud of it. Though, I have only been a part of the university since the end of 2017. We have two colleges: the college of medicine and the college of dental medicine. The medical college is a six-year curriculum and is significantly newer. We enrolled our third cohort of medical students in August 2018. Their impact on healthcare and healthcare delivery in the UAE is yet to be seen. However, our responsibility includes the continuing education of full- and part-time faculty and practicing medical professionals across Dubai, the region and beyond. This allows us to have an immediate and substantial impact on health and healthcare in Dubai and the region. Every year, we offer over 300 courses for health professionals from local and international areas. Via this channel, we have an even larger footprint and impact.

Dr. Cedwyn Fernandes

Pro-Vice Chancellor & Director, Middlesex University Dubai

We regularly invite people from across the academic and business worlds. We have at least five research conferences throughout the year, including those in business, psychology, and accounting, among others. Every faculty member strives to get at least two industry speakers in their class every semester. We are focused on including speakers from across the world that have special knowledge and expertise in their fields. We want a blend between academia and professional life. I have no doubt that we have put together the best faculty and guest speakers in the region. And there are many synergies that come from having multiple campuses around the globe. Every year we send between 100-125 students to London to study abroad. We also receive students from the other campuses. Campus exchanges improve academics and administration. If something succeeds in one place, it is circulated across the globe. We have frequent faculty exchange as well, allowing us to regularly be in touch. Every faculty member has a partner in London because we deliver the exact same program.

Dr. Lance E. De Masi

President, American University in Dubai (AUD

We conceived several new majors in 2017, and everything we have initiated has been enacted or is in some stage of approval from our accreditation bodies. Among these new fields of study are a hospitality design program within interior design, a programs in artificial intelligence (AI) and chemical engineering, and a graduate-level management program in the school of business. At this point, we are also planning to add a business analytics major at the undergraduate level. We will offer psychology for the first time as an undergraduate degree, starting September 2018. For the first time, an executive MBA program was conceived in collaboration with Cornell University and will start before the end of 2019. AUD prides itself in being a preparation for life because of our focus on personal and professional development, rather than only on intellectual and academic development. We are one of only two universities in the entire Middle East chosen by TIME Higher Education for its employability ranking and among the top 150 in the world—that is the AUD advantage.

Reyadh AlMehaideb

Vice President, Zayed University

Some of these partnerships are for accreditation purposes. We are a member of the Middle State Commission for Higher Education and being a member of the association allows us to participate in the decisions of the accreditation criteria. Some other collaborations are there for program development and research objectives. For example, we invite scholars from world-renowned universities to come and teach at Zayed University. We also bring people to advise on improvements to our institution, particularly when it comes to English instruction and the English skills of students. This reflects our aim of always looking for aspects that improve the environment for all students. Finally, we also have a number of research collaborations with institutions around the world. As a comprehensive university, we have research strengths in multiple areas: IT security and data analytics, environment and public health, accounting and other business fields, social sciences, and innovations in education and other fields. We have around 250 research projects, and around two-thirds of these are in collaboration with international research partners.