H.E. Dr. Saud bin Nasser Al-Riyami, currently the Academic Consultant for Higher Education Council, is the fourth SQU president and the first president from the university academic staff. Dr. Riyami started his academic career by obtaining his first degree in Geography from Ain-Shams University, Egypt. Right after his graduation, he was appointed first as the Head of the Department of Teaching Aids and Scientific Labs and then as the Director of Examination in the Interior Region of the Sultanate. Soon after that, he pursued his postgraduate education by joining the University of Wales in Britain where he got his MA degree in Methods of Teaching Geography. Upon completion of his MA degree, he joined SQU as an instructor in the College of Education for a short period. Then he joined the University Of Pittsburg, USA, where he obtained his PhD degree in Methods of Teaching Social Studies. Upon graduation, he joined the Academic staff in SQU as an instructor in the College of Education. Shortly after that, he was appointed as Deputy President in the Sultan Qaboos University in accordance with the Royal Decree # 12/2000 issued on January 25, 2000; soon, in less than two years, he rose to the position of the President of SQU in accordance with the Royal Decree 48/2001, issued on May # 14, 2001. He remained in his position until 2008 when the Royal Decree # 13/2008 was issued appointing him as an Academic Consultant for the Higher Education Council.
The term of Dr. Riyami was an actually thriving and distinction stage in the history of SQU as great awaiting human potentials had been realized and utilized to the best of the university’s interests; consequently, the University, with its academic staff, personnel, students and medical staff, has developed a great name for itself among worldwide higher education institutions and established its standards of excellence at all levels regionally and internationally. SQU had been honored with the great achievements of its students who had won the top ranks in international forums and gatherings in scientific and technical innovations and cultural, artistic and sports competitions. In the actual leadership practice and realization of such achievements, His Excellency personally (during his presidency term) headed a number of the committees and served as a member in several local and international committees and participated in a number of international academic and scientific forums and conferences, such as Higher Education conference, held in Cuba in 2004, Environment Conference, held in Germany, headed the official Omani delegation to the Round Table Dialogue organized by the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Arab-Chinese Dialogue held in 2006. He was also a member of the National Association for Geographical Sciences. He was chosen as one of the notable figures included in Prof. Mohammed Al-Turaiqi Encyclopedia for Human and Development Personalities and was also chosen as a member on the council of administration/board of directors of Prince Naif Arab Academy for Security Sciences in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, out of His Excellency’s great concern in developing and maintaining intercommunication open channels with the student body, he formed a committee headed by himself for student communication which has contributed greatly to the stability and settlement of the students’ academic status
Highlights of achievements during his term:
- The approval of many undergraduate study plans and programs in the different colleges of the University.
- The approval of new MA programs in the different colleges of the University.
- The approval of a PhD program in Carbonate Studies.
- The approval of the establishment of research centers in the University.
- Initiation of a Research Chair from the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Biotechnology.
- The creation of and hosting many academic and scientific seminars on campus, such as New Economy Seminar, Arabic Language Seminar, and many others.
- The initiation of Shell Chair in Carbonate Studies.
- The construction of Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Center.
- The winning of many international and universal rewards and prizes, such as: The Cooperation Council for Gulf Countries Award/Reward for the best educational and research institution in the field of environment in 2001, 2002, and 2007, which is offered by the general Secretariat of The Cooperation Council for Gulf Countries
- The obtaining of the Accreditation Certificate from CAAC.
- The obtaining of research patents for some inventions registered in the University name.
- The initiation and of several memoranda and letters of understanding and cooperation between SQU and its counterpart international universities and research institutes.
- The execution of a great number of strategic, applied and academic research projects and joint research projects with other universities in neighboring and friendly countries.
- The execution of many construction projects for the University colleges and centers, including for example and without limitation, College of Nursing building, College of Engineering annex, Administration Building annex, among many others.
- The execution of many construction projects for the University Hospital, such as the FAMCO (Family Medicine and Dental and Oral Clinic) building and the rehabilitation and renovation of many wings and clinics in the hospital.
- The accreditation of several programs in the college of Engineering by the American Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).
- The obtaining of the international quality assurance certificate (IZO) 9001/2000 by the Hospital of SQU in 2005 from B I Management Systems, an international company specialized in the operations of verification, evaluations, testing and accreditation.
- The designation of special awards to the distinguished official, researcher, teacher, student, and Medical Doctor.