Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A University, an Education Council and a Bentley

Tuesday has been another interesting day. We spent the morning at the Abu Dhabi Men’s College (which also has female students). This is part of the Higher Colleges of Technology. We were shown round by Dr Simon Jones, the Director, and Dr Erik Forsberg, the Associate Dean, Research and Innovation. We were also very pleased to be greeted by Dr Tayeb A. Kamali, the Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology whom I had met the previous evening.

In Australia we would call this College a multi-sector University. It awards diplomas through to masters degrees. It has strong links with some of the great Universities of the world including Stanford, Harvard and London. Many of its degrees are being delivered in conjunction with these universities.

The Abu Dhabi Men’s College is impressive to say the least. It is one of the most technically advanced institutions that I have ever visited. We were made to feel very welcome. It was a little disconcerting to find every screen throughout the College displaying a picture of me and a welcome!

The library was particularly advanced with cutting edge learning technology. The library was the learning heart of the College. We were shown how students are using IT to access learning material. We were impressed to find that they were using this blog site to demonstrate their technology. They really had done their homework.

We were shown their new allied health building. They are delivering programs in nursing, medical imaging, medical laboratory science and paramedics. Many of the areas we are looking to start. There was a willingness on the part of the staff in this part of the College to collaborate with us.

The aviation technology section of the university was of interest to me – for obvious reasons! They had three aircraft in one of their workshop. They deliver programs for aviation technicians. They are now looking to put together a program in aviation management. They were interested to learn that we were already doing this. I think there could be some important links in this area. I hope Ron Bishop will be able to follow up on this.

Dr Erik Forsberg is working to consolidate the research efforts of the College. I have invited him to visit CQUniversity to see what we have done this with our research institutes and centres. He will be contacting Jennelle Kyd about this visit.

The College also has a centre for Excellence for applied Research and Training CERT. It would be well worth taking a look at the CERT web site at . CERT is the commercial arm of the College. It was stunning to see the equipment in this centre. They have a super computer that is in the top 400 fastest computers in the world. Our researchers could access some time on this computer to deal with large complex data sets. It also has one of the three most advanced simulation centres in the world. When we were there it was running a simulation of an oil refinery. Just think what we could do with one of these in partnership with industries in Central Queensland!

The College is just starting to get into railway engineering. They were very interested to hear that we were a leader in this field. They are very keen to look at a relationship in this area. I will be following up on this when I get home.

There are many possible links that could be made with this College. In particular I think we should be looking to make links with them in railway engineering, allied health, aviation and through our Professional Doctorate program. We have received a letter of intent from the College to follow up on some of these areas. In many ways this College is very similar to us – even if it is better resourced. I think that a relationship with this institution could be considered to be a peer to peer relationship. This could be very important going into our future. I would urge colleagues to take a look at their web site at .

In the afternoon we met with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). I had met Professor Jim Mienczakowski and Dr Robert Thompson the evening before. This afternoon they were joined by Mona Majed Al Mansoori and Robert Turner. You can find out more about ADEC at

We discussed many issues – but the main one was the award of ADEC scholarships to UAE students who are studying at our international campuses. We have had a few issues with this in the past. I was very grateful to Mona Majed Al Mansoori for explaining to me the rules regarding these scholarships. It seems that they are only given to students studying in Australian universities which are ranked in the top 200 universities in the world. We are not quite there yet! There is however a chance to get such students if we can show that we are the best place for them to study in Australia. So there is a chance that we could get some of these students studying in our areas of excellence – such as railway engineering. We will explore this.

There are also opportunities to offer study options to the high school students that ADEC sends to Australia each year. This is particularly about English language studies, which will be worth exploring.

We had a very interesting discussion with Bob Turner about VET opportunities. ADEC is just starting to consider sending students overseas for VET. We are starting to have discussions with CQ TAFE about how we can work more closely together. As this relationship develops there could be great opportunities to work with ADEC.

In the evening we had dinner with a former student – and his brother, who is going to attend CQUniveristy Melbourne later in the year. They were fascinating company – and we had a really stimulating discussion about differences between living in Australia and the UAE.

Driving through the UAE is like being on the set of Top Gear. There is just about every super car driving about the streets. On the way back to the hotel we had a competition to see who could spot the most interesting car – Geoff Wessling won with a Bentley Continental GT Speed.

My computer was not downloading email earlier on. I hope this is still the case – it will give me an excuse not to clear emails. So I am off now - to either do emails – or to go bed!


Anonymous said...

Scott. HCT look great but I notice that Faculty teach 20 hours per week

A bit hard to do any research with that workload

Colin Cole said...

Very interested to talk further about increasing links in Railway Engineering. There are possibilities in both existing research and the existing postgraduate programs.
We also started discussing 2+2 type undergraduate railway engineering degrees with FESTU in east Russia late last year (Khaborosvk) with a longer term vision to link into a general group of "Railway Universities" in Russia and China.