Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq

President and CEO of The American University in the Emirates (AUE)

“AUE has found the opportunity of rising to the challenge in a timely manner”

Hospitals magazine had the chance to meet Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq, President and CEO of The American University in the Emirates (AUE) who shed light on the main achievements and lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic after life returned to normal this year.

  • What are the lessons learned from this pandemic? How would you assess your experience?

The pandemic has had long-term effects on the entire world, but the key was to see the silver lining. However, such crisis also drives opportunities which can lead to accelerated innovation. The American University in the Emirates (AUE) has been taking precautionary measures in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and has played an effective role in UAE’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” campaign. Traditionally, American University in the Emirates (AUE) only offered in-person classes in its main campus in Dubai. With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in March 2020, all classes were moved online and have remained in that format throughout Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, significantly changing the educational environment for students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders. It made us (Faculty Members, Students and Stakeholders) quickly move out of the comfort zone.

During the “adjustment phase” the “adoption” happened, and the Role of Digital Transformation was witnessed at large. It was realized that universities will become “a service” in the future hence sustainable, innovative, and smart solutions are required.

What have you accomplished in this regard?

In the wake of such a pandemic, we as AUE found the opportunity of rising to the challenge in a timely manner and taking the distant learning ahead while ensuring that “Education Never Stops”!!

    • The Effective Paradigm Shift;
    • AUE created a Transition and Resilience Management Task Force which specifically investigated the following areas;
    • Assessment Design & Delivery
    • Online Final Exam
    • Student Engagement & Welfare
    • Technical Support

What are the gaps that were discovered? How did you handle them during 2022?

One of the key takeaways was to discover how to pivot in this new frontier in Higher Education. New era, new normal, going forward will be all about technology. Therefore, rethinking the models of assessment and reapplying the way we do things became the need of the hour. Is the infrastructure scalable? The future is hybrid. Adapting to change – Robustness! From all stakeholders. 

Agility is the key to driving creativity. Hence, remote teach-ready micro-credentials were introduced for Faculty Members emulating best practices. 

AUE went completely digital with no exchange of papers between students, staff, and faculty. A work-from-home strategy was created while ensuring engagement from all stakeholders. FAQs for Online Exams were created, and such practices were benchmarked. Close monitoring of the Final Exams using FelxiQuiz and Respondus Monitor and Respondus Lockdown Software for maintaining integrity, rigor and transparency. Best practices in online teaching and assessment delivery were benchmarked and each college created an online teaching strategy customized as per the offerings of the courses.

What are the new procedures that have been adopted?

  • The Office of Student Life & Community Engagement at AUE organized and is continuously hosting Instagram Live programs for Students titled “C3: Connecting to Combat Corona” 
  • Creating awareness is the Key! AUE hosted all these live programs for students by engaging the Industry Professionals. The Office of Counseling & Disability at AUE has also been actively engaged in creating such awareness sessions for AUE students and the Public.

We would like to highlight the main future expansion plans and projects in order to keep pace with health sector developments 

  • A transformational job market has emerged; hence, switching the model is required. 
  • All hard skills are around technology.
  • Focusing on healthcare management and to offer a Master’s degree in healthcare management and quality management hence, aligning with the MOHAP and UAE Centennial Vision of 2071.  

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