SQU Media/Santhosh Muthalath
The 28th graduation ceremony of Sultan Qaboos University was held on 5 and 12 November 2017 at the Amphitheatre of the University under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Hinai, State Advisor. In the first ceremony, 1818 graduates from the science graduates received their degrees. In the second ceremony, 1409 graduates from the humanities colleges received degrees. The ceremony marked the graduation of the 9th batch of PhD graduates, the 22th batch of master's degree holders, and the 28th batch of bachelor's degree holders.
The number of graduates from each college is as follows: the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences (256); the College of Engineering (408); the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (173); the College of Nursing(100); the College of Science (422); and the College of Economics and Political Science (459); the College of Law 236, the College of Arts & Social Sciences 668, and the College of Education 505.
Speaking at the first ceremony, H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU, outlined the major achievements of the university’s science colleges, staff and students during the previous academic year. “A group of students from the College of Engineering won second place in the GCC Gulf Robotics Challenge in its second edition at Qatar University. Students from the Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering received first place at the 9th annual Wooden Bridges Competition, which is held annually at the American University in Dubai. A team from the Department of Computer Science, College of Science won the fourth place in the Gulf Programming Competition, which was held in Kuwait”, he said.
Touching upon staff achievements, the Dr. Al Bimani said that Prof. Nicholas Woodhouse, Professor at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, and Dr. Omeyma Taha Elshafie, Senior Consultant at SQU Hospital, won an award from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists for the best scientific paper for describing a Euthyroid athyroxinemia, a novel endocrine syndrome. Dr.Omeyma Taha also won the Ibn Sina Distinguished Service Award instituted by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Dr. Maha bint Mubarak Al-Khaduri, Assistant Dean for Training and Community Services, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, won Al Mar’a Excellence Award in 2016 for health and education from Women's Foundation in the Sultanate.
Dr. Mahmoud Ibrahim Masoud, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, received the best research award in engineering education from among 403 papers presented at the International Conference on Engineering Education in Athens. Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Harthi was appointed as an external evaluator at the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the United States of America. Prof. Salma Mohammed Al Kindy, Dean of the College of Science, and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Sultan Qaboos University, received “Lifetime achievement award in Chemistry” by the Venus International Foundation (VIF), India. Dr. Nasser bin Said Al-Salti, from the College of Science has been selected as the Young Affiliate for 2017-2021 by The World Academy of Sciences Arab Regional Office (TWAS-ARO).
The American National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine chose Dr. Majid bin Salem Al Ruqaishi from the Department of Physics at the College of Science, representing the University and the Sultanate to participate in the Fifth Arab- American Symposium, to be held in Rabat, Morocco at Mohammed V University. In addition, he received a research fellowship from the American National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which qualifies him to conduct advanced research in nanotechnology at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Al Bimani listed the patents received by the University during the previous academic year. A research team from the College of Engineering received a patent for the invention of a multi-port portable wireless charger. A student team from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering received a patent for the invention of convertible wheel chair for persons with special needs. A research team from the College of Science got a patent for the application of nanostructured zinc oxide membranes for separating oil from water. A research team from the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences received patent for the production of value added date syrup through the crystallization of sugar (date honey).
Reeling out the progress of SQU in term of research and academic accreditation of programs, the Vice Chancellor said that two research centers has been established: the Sustainable Energy Research Center and Nanotechnology Research Center taking the total number of research centers at the university to 12. The Research Centers conduct research and build capacity in areas that are of great importance to the Sultanate. The Department of Computer Science, College of Science received the academic accreditation from ABET for six years without any deficiency, weakness or concern. In addition, self-study report of the department has been chosen among the best 50 well-written Self-Study reports in 2016.
Dr. Al Bimani further said that the university is working on implementing its strategic plan 2040. “Each year, we feed all vital sectors at the Sultanate with qualified and high level of knowledge of the national cadre to be part of the system that drives the process of building on the Renaissance”, he said. He said that SQU has initiated the process to establish a club for the graduates of the University, which will serve as a communication channel between the graduates and the university.
The student Ghassan bin Abdul Malik Al Mazroui from the College of Engineering delivered the graduation speech, in which he expressed gratitude towards the university and its staff for all the support they received during their academic life at SQU.
Addressing the gathering on the second ceremony, H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani summarized the achievements of the university, with special focus on its humanities colleges, staff and students during the previous academic year. “Students from the College of Law bagged the first place at the Arab Moot Court Competition organized by Kuwait International Law School in Kuwait. The students also won the first place at Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Moot Court Competition, held in Dubai”, he said.
Nasser bin Saif Al-Saadi, PhD student, from the History Department, College of Arts and Social Sciences, received the "Abdullah Al-Naim Award” for his contributions to the history and archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula particularly for his research entitled "The Confiscation of Funds in Oman between the Political Situation and Economic Impact”. The award was presented by the Society for History and Archeology in the GCC countries in Riyadh. The student Laith bin Ishaq Al Kindi from the College of Arts and Social Sciences got the second place in memorizing the Holy Quran at 24th international competition of reciting the Holy Quran, Egypt. A group of female students won the first positions in the Holy Quran, debates, human research and cultural competitions at the event of the Second Scientific and Cultural Forum for students of Universities and Higher Education Institutions in the GCC countries, organized by the General Authority for Applied Education and Training in Kuwait.
Honorable Dr. Saleh bin Salim Al Busaidi from Curriculum & Instruction Department, College of Education received the Distinguished Scientist Award in Curriculum Design presented by the Venus International Foundation through the Venus International Research Awards (VIRA) 2017 in Chennai City, India. Dr. Mohammed Sabir Arab from the History Department, the College of Arts and Social Sciences, selected as the “Cultural Personality of the Year” at the 36th edition of the Sharjah Book Fair. From the Deanship of Student Affairs, Dr. Yousef bin Salim Al Hinai, former Dean of Student Affairs, has been selected by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) to become a member of the Advisory Committee for Student Affairs in the Middle East. Touching on the achievements of the SQU Hospital, the Vice Chancellor said that a team of pediatric surgery at the University Hospital conducted 100 surgeries using laparoscopic splenectomy technique.
QS, one of the worlds reputed university rankings has ranked SQU among the Top 10 in the 2018 Arab Region Rankings. This is the first time that SQU has achieved this feat. This year the ranking evaluated nearly 150 universities from 16 countries, making the QS Arab World Region Rankings 2018 the most comprehensive of its kind. Dr. Al Bimani summarized the achievements in academic accreditation as follows: The College of Arts and Social Sciences received institutional accreditation from the Agency for Quality Assurance (AQAS) for six years from July2016 until September 2022. The Bachelor’s programs in Tourism, Geography, Music and Musicology received the international academic accreditation from AQAS. The BA program in Information Studies received academic accreditation from Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. The Sociology and Social Work program received the academic accreditation from The Accreditation Agency in Health and Social Sciences (AHPGS). The Master’s program in Geography received international academic accreditation from AQAS. The Master’s program in Information Studies received academic accreditation from Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
At present, the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies at the University offers 98 Master’s and PhD programs through the colleges of Medicine & Health Sciences, Engineering, Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Economics & Political Science, Arts and Social sciences, Education, Law, Nursing, and Science. The number of postgraduate students since the inception of the university reached 3444. The total number of graduated students since its inception is 54721.
In terms of research, seven strategic research grants were selected for funding by His Majesty’s Trust Fund and 90 internal grants were approved by SQU. Apart from this, seven collaborative research grants were approved within the GCC Joint Research Program. In the fields of communications and nanotechnology, an agreement has been signed with Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) to provide support for research projects in this regard. In addition, the university adopted a mechanism for establishing research groups at the University and allocated an annual prize for the best research group. With regard to community service, the Center for Community Service and Continuing Education provided 46 different programs and activities for 1061 participants.