Higher Education

  • MENA top 30 snapshot released as THE MENA Universities Summit launches

    Institutions from 11 countries feature in a top 30 that previews what a new ranking of universities in the Middle East and North Africa could look like

    A third of the universities in the table, which was drawn up by Times Higher Education and measures research impact, are based in Egypt. However, the country has only one institution in the top 10: Beni-Suef University, which was ninth. 

    Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have three institutions in the top 30, which was released as THE holds its inaugural MENA Universities Summit in Qatar.

    The event includes a consultation on proposals for a full THE ranking for the region, building on the flagship World University Rankings. This would combine the citation scores from Elsevier’s Scopus database, used for this snapshot, with a wider range of performance metrics.

    The top five had been released last month, putting Texas A&M University at Qatar in first place ahead of the Lebanese American University. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University was third, ahead of Qatar University and the American University of Beirut.

    The rest of the top 10 includes two Saudi institutions: King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, and King Saud University, in seventh and eighth respectively.

    Morocco’s Cadi Ayyad University was sixth, while Jordan’s Hashemite University was 10th.

    Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said the top 30 gave us “fascinating insight into the research strengths of the MENA region” but was “just a snapshot to stimulate wider discussions about the most appropriate metrics for ranking the region’s universities”.

    “The THE World University Rankings use 13 separate performance indicators to judge institutions across the full range of activities – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – and we would like to extend this tried and trusted formula to the MENA region,” he said.

    “The question we are discussing here at the summit in Qatar is what is the appropriate range and balance of metrics to suit the specific missions of MENA institutions, and whether we can develop new indicators specifically for the region.”

    The top 30 snapshot was calculated using the ratio of the citations received by an institution’s publication output between 2009 and 2013 and the total citations that would be expected based on the average of the subject field.

    Qatar, Lebanon and Morocco each had two universities in the top 30, as did Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia.

    MENA top 30 snapshot

    1 Texas A&M University at Qatar QAT 519.87 91.91
    2 Lebanese American University LEB 332.63 85.45
    3 King Abdulaziz University SAU 3673.46 83.72
    4 Qatar University QAT 772.69 76.00
    5 American University of Beirut LEB 2319.69 75.14
    6 Cadi Ayyad University MAR 901.78 74.71
    7 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals SAU 2869.33 71.57
    8 King Saud University SAU 7141.93 71.30
    9 Beni-Suef University EGY 492.04 70.75
    10 Hashemite University JOR 690.48 70.18
    11 United Arab Emirates University UAE 1762.86 69.68
    12 Djillali Liabes University ALG 492.31 69.49
    13 Mohammed V University at Agdal MAR 1472.52 66.13
    14 Suez Canal University EGY 987.26 65.50
    15 American University in Cairo EGY 676.43 63.14
    16 Sultan Qaboos University OMA 1591.16 61.57
    17 American University of Sharjah UAE 842.01 61.53
    18 University of Tunis TUN 1050.99 60.93
    19 Minia University EGY 720.32 60.70
    20 Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi UAE 602.59 60.44
    21 Sohag University EGY 442.54 60.16
    22 Kuwait University KUW 2098.09 59.84
    23 Assiut University EGY 1577.02 59.72
    24 Yarmouk University JOR 494.15 59.24
    25 South Valley University EGY 633.56 59.09
    26 Alexandria University EGY 2539.79 58.97
    27 University of Bejaia ALG 311.26 58.45
    28 National Engineering School of Sfax TUN 799.60 57.99
    29 Mansoura University EGY 2779.96 57.09
    30 University of Tanta EGY 1257.54 56.52

    Source: Times Higher Education

  • France plans elite top-10 mega-university

    President Hollande at a Paris science centre: The French government wants to compete with Silicon ValleyBy Sean Coughlan -BBC News education correspondent

    Imagine the chagrin of French universities whenever international rankings are published.

    The top places are invariably filled with the US and UK academic powerhouses. And then coming up fast are the ambitious Asian universities.

    But what about the French, with their centuries of scholarship and ancient institutions? There was a university in Paris before Oxford or Cambridge.

    French universities are conspicuous by their absence. In the most recent QS World University Rankings there were none in the top 20 and only two in the top 100.

  • Launch of MOOCs-for-Refugees Program

    MOOC wordleThe U.S. Department of State and massive open online course provider Coursera are partnering in launching Coursera for Refugees, a program to offer career training to displaced people around the world. The program will focus on nonprofits that help refugees, which will be able to apply for fee waivers to access the Coursera course catalog. The organizations will then be able to offer free access to MOOCs to the refugees they serve. The State Department will help Coursera find organizations that can host in-person cohorts of refugees enrolled in the same MOOC. The first such cohort will be hosted at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Coursera is the latest MOOC provider to offer educational services to refugees. Earlier this year, edX partnered with Kiron, a free education provider for refugees, to offer college credit to Syrian migrants.

  • Maghreb

  • Microsoft Jordan partners with Jordan Universities network to launch Jordan Open Courseware platform for public universities

    MicrosoftLogo new sizeIn collaboration with Microsoft Research India, Microsoft Jordan has partnered with the Jordan Universities Network (JUNet) to launch the Jordan Open Courseware Platform - www.elearning.edu.jo - for public universities. The Platform, which will be hosted by JUNet on its Microsoft Azure cloud, aims to increase the efficiency of higher education tools and expand university student access to knowledge.

  • Pharm.D. program gains renewed accreditation

    acpe reaccreditation 2015 01 180“This is a great testimony to the hard work and dedication of the School of Pharmacy’s dean, faculty, staff and students. Their passion for continued and unparalleled excellence in the Pharm.D. program have paid off handsomely,” said LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra of the news that the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) had extended the university’s Doctor of Pharmacy program’s accreditation for another eight years.

    The ACPE is the only agency in the U.S. that offers accreditation to Pharm.D. programs and LAU’s School of Pharmacy (SOP) first gained accreditation — which will be extended for another eight years this coming June — in 2002.

    “The process was long and challenging. In addition to the comprehensive on-site review of the ACPE visiting team in the fall, we had for two years been preparing a self-study report,” explains Imad Btaiche, interim dean of the SOP. “ACPE standards are comprehensive. Each one addresses a part of the program and the school. Producing the report required a great deal of coordination and data collection, focusing on students, faculty, assessment, curriculum, practice experiences, facilities and finance,” he adds.


    As a guarantor of quality, accreditation affords LAU’s graduates opportunities to work in the best hospitals in the U.S. “I have been working very hard to ensure my place in the Pharm.D. program,” says fourth year pharmacy student Vikan Aznavorian. While there are 75 students enrolled in each of the five years that make up the B.S. in Pharmacy curriculum, only 30 are accepted annually to the Pharm.D. program, which requires an additional sixth year of study.

    Aznavorian is confident and determined, however. Spending half of his final year learning at a hospital in Texas is only a part of the appeal of the LAU program. “I intend to spend my residency in the States, so graduating from a U.S. accredited program with experience at a hospital in that country will give me a huge advantage.”

    Pharm.D. student Alexandra Abi Saleh has just returned from Texas, where she and other sixth year students spent a semester completing core courses at the Houston Methodist Hospital. “Educationally it was great,” she enthuses. “I was exposed to a lot and we learned and had hands on experience in every aspect of clinical pharmacy, including in-patient and out-patient care and in the E.R.”

    The affiliation with the Methodist Hospital is one of many factors that ensured continuation of the LAU program’s accreditation, says Btaiche. “It has been an asset of quality to our students. Pharmacy is a practice-based profession, so you have to provide them with good sites for their practice so they will be well-prepared.”

    While very pleased with the renewed accreditation, Btaiche sees it as a springboard for further program development. “We now intend to focus on faculty research productivity, possibly expanding into graduate programs for pharmaceutical education,” he says. “We also hope to further develop the clinical practice model at our own university hospital, to enable greater cooperation alongside other medical professionals in the interest of patient care.”

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