Rustaq, Dec 2 – A two-day National Academic Advising Symposium was held at the Rustaq College of Education recently. It was organised by the college’s English Language and Literature Department. Titled ‘Academic Advising, Is it worth it?’ the symposium was held under the patronage of Dr Muna al Jardaniyah, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Manpower. It was attended by Dr Abdullah al Sarmi, Under-Secretary of Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Abdullah al Shibli, Director-General of the Directorate-General of Colleges of Applied Sciences, besides delegates from the Ministry of Higher Education, administrative and academic faculty members of Rustaq College as well as students.
The symposium was aimed at “creating a standard definition” for academic advising and applying it in higher education institutions in the Sultanate. There were two certified workshops and discussion on academic advising in the US, UAE, Europe and Oman. It saw a total of 34 presentations delivered in Arabic and English languages.
Dr Ahmed al Badri, the Dean, in his speech, stressed the importance of such symposiums where experiences are exchanged in a vital field.
The first keynote speaker, Dr David from the University of Derby UK, highlighted the major roles of academic advising in the UK, its value, challenges and limitations in the UK and its impact on students.
Dr David, a retention specialist with 16 years of experience working as a teacher, administrator, student adviser and manager, spoke about academic advising in the UK and about the worth of faculty tutoring in academic institutions.
The papers presented on the first day were: ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ by Eliot Wright; ‘Exploring College of Applied Sciences’ predisposition towards academic advising’ by Dr Hamed al Mehrzi and Dr Hafidh al Riyami; ‘Be social and sociable’ by Sonal Limaye and Fatima Faisal; ‘Effective questioning technique’ by Ruqaia al Wahaibi; and ‘Proposing a working framework for academic advising for the foundation programme’ by Sharifa al Adawi.
Dr Soufiane Trabelsi showcased the Sohar University General Foundation programme vis-à-vis academic advising.
Day two began with a keynote speech by Dr Mahvash Ali titled ‘Why does advising matter in higher education?’ Dr Mahvash is the Director of Academic Support Centre at American University of Sharjah since 2012. A licensed clinical psychologist, she also teaches abnormal psychology and biopsychology at the undergraduate level.
She has worked in a number of US universities, including Washington University, Ohio University, University of Michigan and Seattle University, both in academic and student affairs.
Dr Mahvash’s speech was followed by a guest speech titled ‘Student-to-student advising: The 21st Century Approach’ by Dr Nabil el Kadhi, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buraimi.
Dr El Kadhi has more than 25 years of experience in academics, and more than 15 years in the management of higher education and research.
The second day of the symposium saw Tariq Omar discussing his paper titled ‘Academic advising: A case study of Al Sharqiyah University-Oman’. Divyajyothi M G presented a paper on ‘Strategies to be adopted in academic advising that benefit students careers and life goals’.
Badriya Mohammed al Balushi