Dr Hussein M. Elmehdi, Dean of Academic Support Services at University of Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

The University of Sharjah (UoS) offers a comprehensive set of fully accredited academic programmes (more than 107), which cover arts and humanities, Sharia and law, basic sciences and engineering, medical and health sciences, computing and informatics, communications, business administration and fine arts. UOS also offers a wide range of MSc and PhD in more than 50 programmes. In addition, UOS is home to four research and training institutes that supplement teaching and learning and ensure that students get hands-on experience so that they are ready for employability. UOS campus offers its students state-of-the- art educational as well as research laboratories and innovation centres where students can get involved in research and innovation very early in their academic programmes. With more than 100 nationalities, UOS offers a unique student experience where they get to experience firsthand diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

Through the deanships of female and male students affairs and facilities, the university offers a wide range of recreational as well as sports activities aimed at ensuring excellent student experiences and successful academic journey from the day they start their academic programmes until they graduate and beyond as UoS alumni. Additional academic support services such as libraries, career advising and IT support services are provided to support students throughout their academic journey.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, UOS has successfully transformed teaching and learning in recent months to distance learning offering all classes, including practical courses, online through advanced technological Learning Management System (LMS) tools. Teaching was carried out using advanced LMS tools and communication technologies and systems to ensure interactive instructional delivery that promotes student engagement. In addition, online assessment and feedback were provided regularly to students to ensure achievement of course and programme outcomes.

According to Times Higher Education’s Asia University Ranking, UOS is ranked as one of the premier universities not only in the UAE (ranked at number 3) but also in the GCC region (at number 11) and internationally (between 601-800). UOS is ranked number one in many other areas and rankings such as Times Higher Education’s Impact University Ranking.

Over the past few years, UoS has established a number of programmes and initiatives that offer career advice to ensure graduates are ready for the challenges of the job market, employability and job hunting. Among these initiatives is the structured internship programme that ensures students get their first taste of hands-on experience in a field related to their academic programme.

Through the Career Advising and Student Training Office (CASTO), the university has compiled a long list of training opportunities over the years in collaboration with industrial partners, local authorities, companies and hospitals that offer the best hands-on practical experience. These are designed to provide senior students with valuable industrial experience, which in many cases lead to employment opportunities. In addition, CASTO provides regular training workshops on soft skills such as CV writing, job interview tactics and job hunting. It works to connect UoS graduates with employment portals and job advertisements available within the UAE and beyond. Along the same line, UoS provides its students with employment opportunities within the campus where they are given the opportunity to work as research and teaching assistants or as support staff in various administrative offices.

To ensure international training experience, UoS has signed a number of MoUs with several global educational and research institutions as well as training agencies for students interested to train outside the UAE. To sustain its effort and build on its success, the university has set up a strategic initiative to establish a Career Success Centre, which will work to expand the current services. The goal is to prepare graduates for the ever-evolving job market making sure that academic programmes are updated regularly to incorporate skills required for new jobs, especially those needing special skills.