KU Faculty Completes Two Years of Work in a Community of Practice with Peers and Administrators
Melanie Bowman, Lecturer, Management Science and Engineering, Khalifa University, has been named a Faculty Innovation Fellow by Stanford University, after completing two years of work in a community of practice with other faculty and administrators from around the world. She has become one of only 16 educators from 11 global higher education institutions to be named under the Faculty Innovation Fellow program, an offering of the University Innovation Fellows, housed at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school).
In the Faculty Innovation Fellows program, educators design unique projects that help students gain vital real-world skills and mindsets in an innovation ecosystem. The Fellows collaborate with one another to learn new change strategies, develop projects, gather feedback on ideas, and share resources.
Humera Fasihuddin, Founder and Co-Director, University Innovation Fellows, and Co-Managing Director, d.school at Stanford University, said: “Melanie Bowman exemplifies the kind of educator we believe is necessary for higher education institutions to succeed in today’s global society. Graduates need to be able to tackle messy and ambiguous problems, for which there is no clear right answer. A different kind of educator that is both inviting and engaging will push students out of their comfort zone. Melanie Bowman’s project at KU does exactly that.”
Fasihuddin added: “Engaging women, particularly Emirati women, in a peer-learning environment to try a new physical athletic activity engages both mind and body. We are very proud of Melanie Bowman and pleased to see these developments at Khalifa University.”
The goal of Bowman’s project was to enhance the lives of students through cycling. To support this, Bowman and her colleagues organized weekly rides in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club’s #sherides initiative. KU Student Life provided transportation for female participants, enabling them to cycle on a closed track exclusively for women. The outdoor rides attracted more than 50 KU ladies on some weeks.
The highlight of Bowman’s innovation efforts was the KU male / female indoor cycling challenge. This unique challenge took place at KU and utilized the MyWhoosh cycling program, allowing students to compete with each other in a live online environment. Female participants cycled in the gym, while male participants cycled in the atrium, represented by virtual avatars. This event marked the first time that a UAE university facilitated a culturally appropriate environment for males and female students to compete with each other.
Bowman said: “I am proud of what was achieved at KU and the personal journey this UIF program allowed me to undertake. I am delighted when students come to me and chat about cycling or exercise in general. I can see there is a healthy movement here at KU, encouraging the community to form friendships through exercise and make healthy sustainable choices as we all attempt to strike a happy balance between our work, student life and recreational pursuits.”
With a 20-year track record in Australia and the UAE at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Bowman is additionally experienced in delivering training within the vocational education and corporate sectors. She has been involved in key training projects and initiatives within commercial and educational environments, and her experience extends into executive coaching and business consulting. Bowman also has a passion for cycling.
02 October 2023