QUALITY EDUCATION

Saudi Arabia 2018-19 | EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

KKU has built its academic plan in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

Prof. Falleh R. M. Al-Solamy
BIOGRAPHY
Prof. Falleh R. M. Al-Solamy was appointed President of KKU in 2016. He holds a PhD in mathematics in differential geometry from the University of Wales and a BSc in mathematics from King Abdulaziz University. He has held various positions in King Abdulaziz University, University of Tabuk, and Jazan University.

What are some of the institution's main academic strengths, and how have these evolved over the years?

KKU has several strengths, such as academic staff, academic programs, learning resources, and infrastructure represented in a new campus. In particular, academic staff at KKU has a great depth of experience and knowledge built into every single subject. Every year, the university recruits the best staff members from different countries all over the world. Additionally, it has excellent visiting professors from Arab countries, the Middle East, as well as Europe. Furthermore, KKU graduates are sent abroad to quality universities for professional development. The university offers a variety of academic programs that are designed to meet the requirements of the labor market. At the same time, KKU has adequate learning resources represented in libraries as well as its participation in Saudi Digital University, which provides 53 databases, covering all scientific fields used by students and academic staff. Moreover, KKU is expanding its operations and hopes that in one year's time, it can begin the gradual move to the new campus while keeping the old ones as well. For research, KKU has an excellent number of researchers who have already published papers in top scientific journals. As far as the strategic plan is concerned, the university has built its academic plan in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030. Today, it has over 70,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in the region.

How important are the international partnerships to the university?

Although KKU has signed several partnerships with international educational institutions, they were, nevertheless, not at the level to which KKU aspired for achieving its vision to be one of the top-200 universities in the world by 2030. Therefore, in preparing its strategic plan, the university focused on national, regional, and international partnerships in the three main components of its mission: education, scientific research, and community services. Hence, initiatives have been adopted for three areas within these strategic objectives, the most important of which is an initiative to enhance an academic cooperation, including undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The other initiative is to establish partnerships between KKU and national, regional, and international institutions. Another initiative is concerned with promoting scientific research and activating the partnership with specialized research centers.

What are the details about the new requirements for universities to generate their own financial resources under Vision 2030?

KKU is a public university and depends on the government's financial support. Privatization is certainly important for the future. However, the university does not think of the education sector as a company. It focuses on its strategic plan to develop its financial resources by establishing an investment financial system of its own, activating university endowments, and developing and activating investment projects. KKU started operational procedures last year to establish its own endowment.

How are the technological developments impacting teaching methods?

KKU has one of the best deanships in e-learning. It has already developed around 120 online courses that are open to students, as well as national and international communities. More than 100,000 students have already used these open courses. Additionally, the university has 500 full e-learning courses for students, and 50 training courses for faculty and non-faculty staff. So far, around 4,000 staff members have attended these courses. Not only this, but KKU goes further to have 12 online vocational courses and aims to add more in 2018. Based on the positive feedback received from the public and private sectors on the quality of such courses, KKU intends to develop further courses that meet the needs of various sectors.