A one day workshop for faculty members on course development and developing standard contents was held at Abasyn University, Islamabad Campus on 5th June, 2016. All the faculty members of Islamabad Campus participated in this multi-faceted activity with the Chancellor, Abasyn University Mr. Muhammad Imranullah in the chair.

The Deans of Management Sciences and Computer Sciences & Technology were among the resource persons on the occasion. The workshop was moderated by Mr. Aziz, Deputy Registrar of Abasyn University by elaborating the rationale and need of the workshop.

Dr. Umar Farooq, Dean Management Sciences Faculty while welcoming the participants stated the basic purpose of the workshop to be the convergence of views by all associated with the academic arena on identifying issues that need to be addressed instantly in terms of taping the opportunities and facing the new challenges in the avenue of higher education. He said that shared insight, vision, experience and strategies which through fruitful discussion today will lead towards new ideas and approaches to take the University to new heights and make it a marvel of academic excellence in the region.

He enumerated the following issues confronted currently by Abasyn University:

  • The dire need for self-appraisal of existing academic and administrative governance practices.
  • A critical analysis of Abasyn University academic programs and courses from financial perspective and assessing the student enrolment trends.
  • A thorough evaluation of the teaching-learning quality and the need for systematizing the academic issues and quality.
  • Need for bringing drastic improvements in the internal processes in terms of working mechanism at the academic statutory bodies level.
  • The need for enhancing the opportunities for learning & growth for all students and staff.

He opined that as the higher education scenario is rapidly changing. For sustainability and growth, he suggested three strategies:

  • Strategy No. 1. Go against the Crowd
  • Strategy No. 2. Follow the Market Trends
  • Strategy No. 3. Do nothing.

He further elaborated that in all cases we have to make rigorous endeavors to improve the knowledge, skills and values of our graduates. Today the ‘student centered university’ is a rare commodity but tomorrow with it survival would be next to impossible so he emphasized on the critical analysis of everything to enhance the quality at University academic programs.

He stressed the need to develop a system of mutual trust, respect, transparency, communication and accountability through shared governance. 10 years of operations is nothing in the life of a University, we have to chalk out strategies to straighten our path for bringing uplift to Abasyn University and all associated with it.

He hoped that the light of wisdom and knowledge will overcome the darkness of ignorance, poverty and ethnicity in this country and we should try to transmit this university greater in honor and esteem and glorious in traditions to the next generation.

Dr. Zahid Saleem, Dean Faculty of Computing & Technology outlined the need for actions to be taken to improve internal processes, teaching assessment and feedback, academic support and resources at Abasyn University. He highlighted some of the achievements at both institutional and individual level but reiterated that a lot needs to be done to sustain the growth of the university.

He elaborated the system of developing standard contents for academic programs and courses and apprised the audience about the suggested new management and governance strategies for the University and emphasized on enhancing the due diligence procedures in the coming year.

He stressed the need for refining the offering schemes to improve fresh student recruitment, progression and retention in order to improve the financial arena at the University. He emphasized that the University staff should take great pride in the stewardship to work closely with faculty and students in all dimensions.

The Chancellor-Abasyn University was the Chief Guest on the occasion who welcomed and congratulated all the participants on the eve of successful bid for the workshop. He apprised the participants that for the future, the University had already mapped out how to build on the road to success and to establish the most modern academic structure at the University. He categorically mentioned that the University will pursue the policy of ‘Go against the crowd’ in the years ahead by making more investments in academic, human and physical resources at Abasyn University.

He elaborated the academic vision for the University to excel in academic excellence and the reorganization necessary to achieve stipulated objectives. The importance of all staff, faculty and administration aligning behind the objectives was stressed by him to the audience.

The workshop proceeded amid constituting various working groups with each group having 5 faclty members, one facilitator and a group leader. The group task assigned to them was to deliberate on the subject of ‘Devising and Refining Academic Programs and Contents’.

After the group working, presentations by the group leaders highlighting group findings and suggestions on the topic of the workshop were made.

The groups in general reviewed the initiatives currently being engaged in by Abasyn University. These include a discussion of the role of faculty in academic affairs, offering new academic programs, strengthening of the existing academic programs, idea of shared governance, advisory committees; attempt to revitalize the scholarship program to serve as a first step in student motivation, steps to be taken for conflict resolution; completion of the documentation project, offering new short term educational programs, decentralization of the decision making, establishment of Faculty Development Center, offering of new degree programs, integration with industry faculty exchange programs.

The final session of the conference was the concluding address by the Chancellor-Abasyn University to the participants. Concluding the conference in his final remarks the Chancellor said that to help institutionalize the process for streamlining the academic proceedings and meet the challenges of the future, it was affirming to note that most groups were thinking along the same lines, with consensus on major issues and attention to what needs to be done for improvement in the academic arena at Abasyn University.

He termed this unanimity of views as a good sign because it shows that all associated with Abasyn University are very much involved and know the organization from interior and exterior in the real sense of the word. He further emphasized on incorporating the student views on the various aspects of their experience at Abasyn University to elicit through such mechanisms as student surveys and improving communications and relations with students to refine the teaching and learning.

He expressed his satisfaction over the adequately designed and effective arrangements for academic programs, governance, efficiency and effectiveness as the hall mark of Abasyn University. However, the emphasized the need to further add rigor to existing academic and administrative proceedings at Abasyn University.

He promised the audience that Abasyn University will pursue the policy of ‘Go against the crowd’ and will make substantial investment in academic, human and infra structure development to further strengthen the University and its cause and will never let down the mission of Abasyn University.

He stressed to need in particular to launch new endeavors for bringing expertise in strategic planning, organizational leadership and collaborative and entrepreneurial approaches to academic program development at Abasyn University.

The Chancellor thanked all the participants of the workshop for their presence and worthy input into the deliberations of the working group and expressed his interest in giving it a regular feature in terms of holding the consultative event many times during the year.

The conference concluded at 5:30 PM and the delegates were served refreshments.

Mr. Zimran Ihsan Khan

Director, QEC