Doha, - The new academic year was inaugurated with the Annual Convocation address in which Qatar University (QU) President Dr Hassan Al Derham highlighted the organization's strategic transformation, and discussed its ongoing efforts towards the achievement of a "QU Model" and to advancing its positioning among the top universities worldwide.

The event was attended by QU leadership, deans, heads of departments, program directors, faculty members, staff, students and alumni.

In his remarks, Dr Al Derham welcomed the attendees and wished them a successful year towards the fulfillment of QU goals and objectives. He noted that QU has started its strategic transformation towards the achievement of a "QU Model" through nine (9) pillars. He said: "The first pillar focuses on advancing QU's role as Qatar's premier national university that provides high-quality education. The second pillar aims to strengthening the organization's role as a social and strategic partner in national development, while the third and fourth pillars focus on maximizing admission opportunities within the university and on providing smooth opportunities for students from various cultural backgrounds, as well as various professional and academic interests." On the fifth pillar, Dr Al Derham stressed the importance of providing academic and research programs that align with international standards and with the principles of the Arabic and Islamic culture and identity. He observed that the sixth and seventh pillars aim to prepare distinguished national leaders and to benefit from QU's resources to develop the national human capital towards building a knowledge-based economy. He went on outlining the eight and the ninth pillars that focus respectively on making QU a role model in terms of financial and human resources and on enhancing the organization's engagement through the establishment of a university board and the enhancement of the role of the colleges' and departments' boards.

He added: "The University has adopted a number of indicators to benchmark its strategic achievements. They include an increase in the percentage of students graduating within the period of 4 years to 60%, the decrease of the period spent by students at the university to graduate from 5.9 years to 4.5 years, the establishment of 5 interdisciplinary research centers for graduate studies, the increase of professor appointments within the faculty body to 25%, and the enhancement of QU position in international rankings to become one of the top 300 universities in the world and among the best 200 universities in at least two minors." Al Derham also highlighted the recent successes that QU has achieved in international rankings noting that the university has been ranked No 393 in the QS World University Rankings, No 49 in the QS Top 50 under 50 ranking, and among the best 600 universities in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/17.

Following his address, Dr Al-Derham honored QU members in various categories -- Outstanding Faculty Service Award, Outstanding Teaching Award, Media Award, and Young Alumnus Award.

Source: Qatar News Agency