• Cameron Mirza and Hanin Bukamal

The Transformation Plan of the University of Bahrain

University of Bahrain with the appointment of Professor Riyadh Yusif Hamzah in April 2016 signaled a new direction for the national university. The president was assigned with the responsibility of producing a new strategic plan for the next five years (2016-2021) that would make the university stronger, more innovative, flexible, financially sustainable and responsive to external changes in the economy and the environment. The strategic roadmap highlights the UOB aspirations and will act as a framework for its colleges and centers to develop their plans to align with the overarching UOB goals. The transformation plan was developed as a result of staff views, employer feedback, students view and alignment with the national 2030 vision.

The university is rethinking its approach to industry, society, stakeholders, branding, marketing and its international profile to meet market and economic needs. Through the transformation plan, the university aims to increase its focus on internationalization to create global citizens, develop relations with industry, widen the academic offer and produce research that has regional impact that becomes a signature for UOB. The university will focus on producing a high quality and skilled human capital and the next generation of leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Seven strategic pillars support the university’s vision of “becoming a world class university that is recognized as a teaching, research and entrepreneurial institute” which are; World Class Learning and Teaching; Leading Edge Human Capital; Research with National and Regional Impact; a Dynamic, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Environment that Secures Sustainability; Local Engagement and International Reputation; Bahrain’s Economic Diversification and Growth; and a Transformative Environment.

One of the main and transformative changes is included in the first pillar of World Class Learning and Teaching. UOB has developed a new Learning and Teaching Philosophy that is responsive to changes in technology, employer needs and changes in the national priority economic sectors. The University is developing an institute wide learning and teaching framework that is centered on a technology centric learning experience for students, which will be inquiry based, interconnected and collaborative. It will allow the university to leverage the latest information and communication technologies to meet the needs of a new generation of learners. The university will witness a shift from teaching based on lecturing towards a number of different teaching strategies such as; project based learning, problem based learning, inquiry based learning and e-learning. Each UOB college will develop their own Learning and Teaching Philosophy that corresponds to the nature of discipline and the industry requirements. Faculty level learning and teaching philosophies are based on principles of an industry led curriculum where students are encouraged to develop the necessary soft skills required by the job market and be inspired to become lifelong learners.

The implementation of this transformation plan has already been initiated through establishing a Unit for Teaching and Leadership for continuous professional development of UOB staff, introducing a new Performance Management System for colleges and centers, launching a new website, introducing a new online registration system, introducing new performance appraisal and development plan for all staff, introducing a more robust and structured student orientation program, and establishing a WiFi campus.

Over the next two years, the delivery of this transformation plan will focus on some of the following; establishing new programs that meet the future needs of Bahrain; phasing out programs that do not meet labor market needs; moving towards a blended learning environment; improving post graduate education; establishing a national college of medicine; increasing research output; introducing a digital literacy certificate for all staff; recruitment and retention of high quality staff, working closely with industry and the private sector; improving our international profile; and more colleges gaining international accreditation.

The UOB mission is to contribute directly to the economic growth and development of Bahrain, supported by leading edge teaching, technology and research with regional; which supported by its shared values of being innovative, student centered, technology driven, proactive and transparent. It is exciting to witness the potential the university is gradually reaching and its ongoing accomplishments. The overall aim is for Bahrain to have a bigger impact on the economy, society and public services through its high quality graduates. To achieve this the University of Bahrain must be exceptional and it can only achieve this by through collective efforts, focus and determination.

About Cameron Mirza- A highly skilled leader of change with vast international experience of leading public sector reform within the UK and Middle East including working within two UK Prime Minister's delivery teams.

With 15 year’s international reform experience across the public and private sector specialising in education and social impact reform at the highest level, Cameron has worked at the highest levels of government in both the UK and Bahrain.

In Bahrain since 2011, Cameron has served as director of projects at the Higher Education Council at the Ministry of Education. Since May 2016, Cameron has joined the President where he has oversight on strategy, performance and international

partnerships for the University of Bahrain.

About Hanin Bukamal – an enthusiastic and skilled lecturer who is passionate about higher education, research and lifelong learning. Hanin has a combined teaching and research experience of 6 years at the University of Auckland, Bahrain Polytechnic, and currently at Bahrain Teachers College at the University of Bahrain. Her research interests are in problem based learning, employability skills, inclusive education, student centered learning, and teacher expectations.



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