University of Balamand in Dubai in September 2018

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UoBDubai Investments PJSC, the leading, diversified investment company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, has announced that the University of Balamand in Dubai (UOBD), its wholly-owned subsidiary, is set to open its first UAE campus in Dubai Investments Park (DIP) in September 2018.  While the university development will be financed mainly by DIG, UOB will be mostly providing the management and know how.

The opening is a result of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2014, and will be the first university in DIP, which has seven schools offering a wide array of international curricula.  Admissions for September 2018 intake are under way.

The UOBD campus at DI House – DIP is spread across approximately 75,000 square feet. This is the first campus of University of Balamand outside Lebanon, where it operates five campuses. UOB is the second university to expand outside the country after University of Saint Joseph (USJ), which has a Law School in Dubai.

The UOBD is licensed by the UAE Ministry of Education. With a strong focus on Engineering and Science streams, UOBD will offer undergraduate programs in Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. All these programs are accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), a government-run institutional licensure and degree accreditation department of MOE.

UOBD intends to offer Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and Professional Teaching Diploma, upon their review and accreditation by CAA at MOE. All degrees are based on the American model of higher education.  UOBD will eventually offer the entire spectrum of 70-plus academic under-graduate programmes and master’s degree in 55 disciplines currently on offer in its Lebanon campuses.

Khalid Bin Kalban, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Investments, said: “Driven by the UAE government’s emphasis on the higher education sector and a knowledge-based economy, the private sector higher education segment in the country is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 8%. Dubai Investments is committed to play a strong role in facilitating this knowledge-sharing. Bringing the University of Balamand in Dubai is part of this strategy.”

He added: “There is huge demand for such world-class universities among the Emiratis and Arab youth, with nearly 80% of Emiratis and Arabs prefer enrolment in local universities. Dubai Investments is confident that the new University of Balamand in Dubai campus will add a lot of value to the higher education sphere in the UAE and GCC.”

Dr Walid Moubayed, CEO and Vice-Chancellor of University of Balamand in Dubai, said: “The University of Balamand – Lebanon has a strong legacy of offering holistic education to equip the future generations for the competitive world. The UOBD is thrilled to bring this expertise to the UAE and GCC through its comprehensive academic programs.”

Founded in 1988, the University of Balamand is a private, independent educational institution of higher education with over 5,700 students in its rolls across its five campuses in Lebanon, which provide 70 undergraduate majors, 55 graduate majors and six post-graduate programs

King Abdulaziz University Leads the Arab Region in the 2018 Asia University Rankings

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ArabiaHigherEdBy Arabia Higher Ed Editorial Team

Times Higher Education (THE) released on February 7 its 2018 Asia University Rankings, and were led by the National University of Singapore which claimed the first position for the third year in a row.

China’s Tsinghua University claimed the second place, swapping positions with its Beijing rival Peking University, who came in third this year. Three institutions from Hong Kong, two from South Korea and one each from Singapore and Japan claimed the rest of the top 10.

China surged this year as the overall average score of the country’s institutions has climbed by more than 2.5 points since last year, with about half this change a result of the increased citation impact of its scholarship.

The Asia rankings this year are dominated by Japan who claimed 89 universities in the top 359 Asian universities, followed by China with 63 and India with 42.

The rankings feature the same seven Arab countries from last year, that is, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.  The top position in the Arab region was claimed by King Abdulaziz University who claimed the 23rd position in the rankings.

Khalifa University and Qatar University unseated King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and King Saud University by claiming the second and third positions respectively.  Khalifa University improved its Asia rankings from 76 to 32 in Asia while Qatar University 77th position to the 52nd.  

Khalifa's rise in the rankings came in after the successful merger between three Abu Dhabi higher education institutions last year: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Petroleum Institute and Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (Kustar).  Last year, KUSTAR was ranked at the 76th position, and neither Masdar nor the Petroleum Institute were listed in 2017 Asia rankings.

Lebanon had a poor showing this year where the American University of Beirut was the sole representative who improved its rankings from 85 to 75. 

Academic excellence in Asia correlates with the country income and the availability of higher education. According to THE, wealthier countries tend to perform better in the rankings; the higher a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the higher the average score of its institutions in the ranking. However, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar from the Arab region underperform compared with what one would expect based solely on their wealth.

The latest edition was further to include 359 universities, up from 300 last year. All universities in the top 200 are also given a distinct rank (previously those between 100th and 200th were listed in bands) to provide greater transparency of the results.

The Asia University Rankings employ the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings. The score is based on subjective measures (25%) as well as objective measures (75%). The indicators are grouped into five areas: teaching (25%), international outlook (7.5%), industry income and innovation (7.5%), research (30%), and citations (30%).

Saudi Arabia Leads the Arab Region in the 2017 Highly Cited Researchers

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highly citedBy Arabia Higher Ed Editorial Team

The number of researchers from Saudi Arabia has been consistently ranking in the top 5% of the list of the most highly cited authors.

According to the latest edition of the Highly Cited Researchers List, produced by Clarivate Analytics, Saudi Arabia claimed the 12th position in the world in terms of countries with the most entries in the annual publication with full primary affiliation.

The list features more than 3,539 researchers, in 21 fields, who produced a "notable" number of highly cited papers in Clarivate's Web of Science database over the period 2005-2015.

Authors are selected on the basis of "consistent production" of highly cited papers - defined as those that rank in the top 1 per cent by citations for field and publication year - to allow early career researchers to be considered as much as established names.

King Saud University came in first in the Arab region with 22 entries and was closely followed by King Abdulaziz University with 21 entries.

Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt were each represented by one list entry.
At the global level, researchers from the US continue to be the most represented in the list, with almost half of all the entries being affiliated with organizations, including research institutes and universities, in the US.

In total, the US had more than 1,640 entries, a 7 per cent increase on last year, with the UK second, being responsible for almost 342 entries. However, China is gaining fast: its representation in the list has jumped 36 per cent compared with last year, giving it almost 251 entries.

In terms of institutions, Harvard University claimed the top spot (109 entries), Stanford University (64 entries) came in second, and Germany's Max Planck Society (47) came in third.

As for China, the number of Chinese researchers making a list has gone up by more than a third in just a year. The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) came in the fourth position with 45 entries on the list. The institution also comes fourth in the world behind Germany's Max Planck Society.

Clarivate says that two "dominant" research themes have emerged in recent editions for this list: cancer genomics and the development of solar power using the mineral perovskite.

10 Reasons Why Rankings Matter in Higher Education

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rankingsBy Anna-Malin Sandstrom

University leadership and policy wonks excitedly await the results of yearly university rankings. Part of the excitement is waning, however, due to the same (old) institutions being listed every year. In the EAIE Barometer study, 35% of practitioners indicated that improving international reputation or position in rankings is one of the top three reasons for internationalising. Rankings are used by some governments in their higher education policy, by institutions looking for international partners and by prospective students searching for a place to study – due, often, to the lack of other widespread metrics. But how powerful are rankings in the higher education world?

1. National policy

The study Rankings in institutional strategies and processes (RISP): Impact or illusion? upholds that many governments use rankings to provide funding for selected institutions deemed as capable of becoming world-class, whereas others make use of rankings for classification purposes. In recent years countries as diverse as India, the Russian Federation and the Netherlands have made use of rankings in their partnership schemes, recognition and immigration policies.

2. Institutional decision making

According to the majority of the respondents of the same RISP survey, rankings affect institutional decision making. In it, 27 percent of respondents report that policies have been revised, 26 percent report that focus has shifted to new features of existing procedures, while 23 percent indicate that changes have taken place in the research areas prioritised and 21 percent that the criteria for recruitment and promotion have been affected.

3. Monitoring and benchmarking

The vast majority of RISP survey respondents report that they monitor their institutional performance in rankings and that the senior institutional leadership is involved in this process. Some even have dedicated staff or units for this purpose. Many use rankings not only to monitor their own performance, but also that of their partners and competitors for benchmarking purposes.

4. Data collection

A briefing paper from the Institute of Higher Education Policy states that, in practice, rankings impact discussions about, and collection of, comparative data on both a national and institutional level. Rankings encourage not only the collection but also the publication of education data – according to the Global university rankings and their impact study.

5. Partnering

Most research in the field indicates that rankings impact institutional partnering. This applies particularly to international partnering, as knowledge of (prospective) partner institutions is often not sufficiently available. Having a highly ranked partner can also be used for reputational purposes.

6. Branding

The Trends in Higher Education Marketing, Recruitment, and Technology study shows that university branding requires constant effort and data to support a desired image. A university’s position in rankings serves this purpose well. Ranking outcomes are often mentioned on institutional websites, on social media and institutional presentations in order to increase institutional visibility and credibility.

7. Student choice

The Effects of Rankings on Student Choices and Institutional Selection study outlines how rankings affect the choice of study destination, particularly when studying internationally. Especially as, in such cases, information about institutions and education system in the direct network of prospective students is often limited.

8. Quality of enrolled students

The same study purports that the quality of the students enrolled correlates with how well a university performs in rankings. That is, students with good academic records prefer to enrol at highly ranked institutions perceived as offering better education – or, at the very least, a more impressive diploma.

9. Attracting researchers

Researchers tend to seek to employment at institutions that are perceived as prestigious in their field. Respondents of the RISP survey believed that rankings influence prospective researchers. This was particularly perceived to be the case for internationally-ranked institutions.

10. Research choices

Due the indicators used, rankings reportedly affect research choices in three different ways: the language of publication, with an increased preference for English; publishing on matters of international interest; and prioritising publishing in specific journals.

In sum, rankings influence our view of academia and prestige and therefore affect institutional and personal decision-making – as well as policies and practices. Many argue that this is not due to their merit, but rather due to the lack of other comparative international data on the same scale. The influence rankings have varies, however. It is dependent on the type of higher education institution, the higher education system it is located in, and the availability of other information.

Anna-Malin is Policy Officer at the EAIE

US International Student Enrollment Dips for First Time in 12 Years

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shutterstock 178714502By Michelle Taylor for LabEquipment

More than 1 million international students on non-immigrant student visas enrolled in U.S. higher education in 2016/2017, a roughly 3 percent increase over the previous year. However, the number of new international students, or those enrolled at a U.S. institution for the first time in fall 2016 decreased by 3 percent—marking the first time there has been a decrease in the 12 years since stats started being tracked.

According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), which has released the Open Doors report annually for the past 12 years, factors in the decline could include a mix of global and local economic conditions, among other reasons. Significantly, large government scholarships from Saudi and Brazil were scaled back, contributing to the largest decline from students in those two countries.

What’s more, IIE conducted a separate survey in September/October 2017 to assess the upcoming 2017/2018 academic year. The nearly 500 institutions that responded reported continued flattening in the number of new enrolled international students—with an average decrease of 7 percent.

Now, those may just be numbers, but they are important given how much international students benefit U.S. colleges, universities and society in general.

In 2016, according to the Department of Commerce, international students brought $39 billion to the United States economy through tuition, room and board and living expenses. Open Doors’ 2017 report indicates that the majority of international students receive their funds from sources outside the U.S., including personal and family, as well as their home country’s government and universities.

“Their roles on campus as teaching and research assistants support the faculty in many departments, especially in STEM fields, and their diverse perspectives help enrich classroom learning for U.S. students,” reads the Open Doors report.

While the numbers are still increasing overall, and it’s certainly not a mass exodus, there is still some room for concern. Why, for the first time in at least 12 years if not longer, are international students not coming to the United States for higher education?

“Students continue to be attracted to the high quality and diverse opportunities offered by U.S. colleges and universities. But it is critical for U.S. institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world,” said IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman.

Location, location, location

According to the report, for the third consecutive year, the largest growth was in the number of students from India. Rather unsurprisingly, China holds the top spot, sending almost double the amount of students to the U.S. than India, but India’s rate of growth outpaced China’s. China and India are now accountable for approximately 50 percent of the total enrollment of international students in the U.S.

Countries following China and India include (in order): South Korea, Saudi Arabia (which was third last year), Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico and Brazil.

The Open Doors report also examined the number of American students who studied abroad in the 2016/2017 year, reporting an increase of almost 4 percent. Although the total number of 325,339 is at an all-time high, only about 10 percent of U.S. undergraduate students study abroad before graduation.

Interestingly though, American students majoring in STEM fields comprise more than 25 percent of those students who study abroad—a number that has been growing faster than the average for all other fields.

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