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Khalifa University Conducts Successful Professional Development Week for over 200 Faculty and 400 Students

September 13, 2020

KU’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) held its second annual Professional Development Week from 17 August to 21 August 2020.  The virtual PD week was full of interactive workshops and presentations designed to promote participants’ personal, academic and career growth.

The week kicked off with a welcoming speech from Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, KU’s Executive Vice President. He praised the KU community’s efforts to overcome the many obstacles caused by COVID-19.

The PD Week offered a variety of sessions for faculty, staff and students including extensive training on Blackboard, KU’s new learning management system.  More than 200 faculty and 400 students attended various topics during the event ranging from Innovation through Integration to Online Learning Opportunities for faculty and students.

Plenary speakers included Dr. Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California (USC), Dr. David Marsh, Director, Innovation & Outreach, EduCluster Finland, University of Jyväskylä Group, Finland, and Dr. Elaine Gallagher, Educational Consultant.  Their presentations titled, “Innovation through Integration, Fundamentals of Language Acquisition,” “Writing: Will more writing make you a better writer?” “The Effects of Globalization on Education in the 21st Century,” and “Developing Critical Thinking Skills,” were well-received by faculty and students, who commented on the breadth of knowledge and experiences of these internationally-known educators.

From KU, Dr. Hassan Barada, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, College of Engineering, presented on ABET and Learning Outcomes, while Dr. Curtis Bradley, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, along with some Lab Teaching Staff, shared how they delivered their lab sessions using virtual labs during the pandemic. Sofiane Benna, Director of IT, shared IT services for faculty and students and John Radkowski, Director of Research Services, explained the process of research proposal submissions.

Participants received first-hand, world-class reports on how to implement teaching techniques based on empirical research to achieve success in teaching and learning. 

Undergraduate and postgraduate students presented in several sessions during the PD Week sharing their experiences in tutoring their peers in the Learning Centers, sharing their final projects from a leadership course, and from a teaching certificate course for Teaching Assistants. Faculty gained insights from the students’ perspectives.

Given that COVID-19 has closed schools in 160 countries, affecting more than one billion students worldwide, it is imperative that we become aware of, and involved in, transformation occurring in education systems, which must depend on distance learning finding common ground in the impetus required for the transformation of our educational processes. 

KU’s PD Week was aimed to inspire faculty and students, and instill in them a sense of motivation to get recharged and ready for the new academic year. It was an opportunity for the KU community, faculty and students, to exchange knowledge, experiences, and interact with each other.

CTL is planning to host another successful and memorable PD week in the Spring.

Staff Report
2 September 2020