The importance of technical education has risen to a whole new level. The dynamic environment in tech-enabled industries has paved the way for technical expertise across different segments of technology. It has been identified that there is a dire need of technical experts in the field of STEM. Particularly, in the engineering sector, engineers with good skill set are required worldwide. Tomorrow’s engineers are expected to have abstract and experimental learning with the ability to ascertain certainty, handle ambiguity, formulate and solve problems, work independently and in teams as well. Their aim needs to be towards maintaining a balance between correspondence of engineering science and engineering practice. With the context of engineering education, the emphasis should shift from course content to a more vivid view and at-hand practical approach. The focus on the development of human resources is paramount along with vast educational experience. Such experiences can be helpful if the individual courses are connected and integrated with overall development spectrum. A vision for the 21st century engineering education can be narrowed down to developing in as much individualized manner as possible.
Recently, it has been observed that there is a growing consensus with respect to professional engineers’ need for an integrative master’s degree. The universities are required to offer more practice-oriented master’s programs consisting of stronger connections to the industry. As one independent report suggests, “Technical education is a world of work that has become more interdisciplinary, collaborative, and global, which requires that we produce young people who are adaptable and flexible, as well as technically proficient.” It would be an understatement to say that the word ‘potential’ has never been as lucid as it is today. Potential describes capability, possibility, and opportunity – all of which exist in abundance in this era of knowledge and distributed intelligence. It just needs to be cultivated and flourished in a distinctive form, reaching anyone and everyone who seeks it.
There are only a few educational campuses that provide such kind of vibrant and vivid ecosystem for learning and producing resources, which benefit the society on a global level. A certain conviction is required for serving in the field of teaching and education to surpass the normality of study and research. With a similar conviction to deliver excellence in education, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai, a satellite campus of Rochester Institute of Technology – New York, USA, has emerged out as the front runner in delivering quality education. This highly technologically focused American University is located in Dubai Silicon Oasis – Dubai, United Arab Emirates. RIT Dubai was established in 2008 and is accredited by both, the United States and the UAE Ministry of Higher Education.
The university offers internationally recognized American degrees in Business, Engineering, and Computing for bachelor’s as well as master’s programs. Students can also study at RIT’s global campuses located in New York, Croatia, and Kosovo. The university provides them with the opportunity to earn relevant work experience while studying through RIT’s nationally-unique and equipped CO-OP program. A graduate from RIT Dubai has benefits equivalent to graduates of RIT New York and the graduates’ degrees come from the main campus at Rochester, NY.
All business degrees at RIT University in Dubai are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). Also, the engineering degrees are accredited by the Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Additionally, RIT is licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in the UAE. RIT Dubai offers master’s degree that caters to the future needs of the UAE. It has recently developed new master’s programs in Data Analytics and City Science in collaboration with Smart Dubai. RIT also provides diplomas in Corporate Happiness and Innovation.
RIT Dubai is an educational partner of Dubai Police, FAZAA, DAFZA, DEWA, RTA, Dubai Government Workshop, DGWorld, Smart Dubai, and Silicon Oasis Authority. The university in Dubai welcomes more than 70 nationalities on campus and graduates of the institute are currently working in leading organizations like Siemens, OTIS, Carrier, General Motors, Dubai Police, Fractal Systems, Ministry of Defence, Musanada, Dubai Health Authority, and Etisalat.
RIT Dubai’s Legacy: Imparting Knowledge Vibrantly
“Cultures you are seeking don’t get created. You need to plan and push for a collection of certain habits in the environment that establishes it,” says the Dr. Khalid Khawaja Provost of RIT Dubai. At the institute, creation of proficient learning culture starts with additional effort in hiring best faculty and staff along with utmost qualifications and right attitude. Retaining the good staff or team is necessary and for that, a trust system is established with accountability that nurtures qualities like proactive caring and helping. This is topped with extra effort to bring in the required resources to invest in education and research initiatives.
To continuously keep the students updated about the progress and new discoveries in the engineering disciplines, RIT Dubai takes some quintessential steps. There is a multi-fold effort which starts from day one. All engineering students at the institute get involved with discovery modules to explore the basics of their discipline. Every student is prepared for co-operative education (internship) and one must complete blocks of these within certain time-frame. The engineering programs are connected to the RIT global campuses’ network with different opportunities for interaction, connection, and exchange. RIT Dubai’s engineering curriculum is constantly supervised and is reviewed for updates and upgrades. One of the prominent examples of it is the Electrical Engineering program which has recently added an energy alternative and is now under the process of adding a robotics option. The Mechanical Engineering program has also included a recently started aerospace option and is on the track of adding an automotive option.
Opportunities and Exposures
RIT Dubai is a pioneer at developing talent for the future and works closely with the industry partners to ensure that the graduates’ skill-set meet the industry needs. Increasing students’ employment opportunities and career development is an important facet of the student experience at the university.
The co-operative education program (CO- OP) is an intensive internship experience, which varies from 3-12 months. CO-OP is a relevant work experience and thorough immersion into industry-based activities, which allow students to exercise their classroom knowledge in a professional and practical environment. As a result, students graduate with solid work experience of blending theoretical knowledge and practical applications. Every student needs to complete the 12-week CO-OP (internship) course as preparation. The course covers more than the traditional job searching tools; it incorporates elements of continuous career development, work ethics, and professional communication in an experiential manner.
Besides the CO-OP program, RIT offers several opportunities for students to interact and perform networking activities with the recruiters or employers on and beyond campus. Through interactive career sessions, competitions, and traditional career fairs, students meet renowned experts from the leading companies in the industry, such as Google, Siemens, CISCO, KPMG, Huawei, and General Motors. Some of the notable employers at RIT Dubai are OTIS, Carrier, Aramex, Emerson, Nestle, Smart4Power, Halliburton, Fractal Systems, Total, Fujitsu, FedEx, and Emirates Airlines.
Outlook on Technological Advancement
Technology is ever-changing at a faster pace. Such advancement is affecting both, the technical and non-technical disciplines. Hence, the engineering sector is under a lot of pressure to keep up with the dynamics. Initially, practical skills and tools associated with this sector should be seamlessly integrated into the technical delivery mechanisms. Students nowadays require to graduate with enough tools and technical know-how to secure their first job or start their own business. Graduates are in no position to rely on the companies to hire them with complete intent of training them on all aspects of a tech-job. Secondly, development of soft skills and attitude towards critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship in students should be a priority and must be included as a part of the program. Finally, while there is an inclination for specific skills in specific areas, RIT Dubai always strives to establish a strong foundation for any of the programs.
RIT Dubai is proud of its diverse alumni who excel in various industries and change the future for the better with their activities. One notable example is Ms. Mashal Waqar, who has been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2019. Mashal is the co-founder and COO of The Tempest (thetempest.co), an award-winning digital media portal, covering topics of interest for millennial women. Today, The Tempest has reached over 10.3 million subscribers every month and spread across 90 countries. Mashal is a TedX speaker and she gave an inspiring speech at the acclaimed Stanford MENA Forum. She has been quoted and published in over twenty national and international media outlets. Currently, she is working on a scholarship fund that will empower underprivileged female students through undergraduate scholarships in STEM and media fields. Mashal graduated in 2017 with Computing Security Bachelor’s degree and well illustrates the diversity and talent that RIT nurtures.
Message from the President
RIT University in Dubai is led by Dr. Yousef Al Assaf. Dr. Assaf acquired his Bachelor of Science’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Sussex University, UK, in 1984 and his PhD from Oxford University in 1988. Dr. Assaf was a founding member and chairperson of the industrial engineering department at the University of Jordan, where he also worked as the outreach manager. He was also one of the founding members of the electrical engineering and computer engineering programs at American University of Sharjah. Dr. Assaf was appointed as the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering (CEN) at Australia in 2004 and has served at the capacity in 2005. Later, he was appointed as the President of RIT Dubai.
He has led the institute with dedication. Advicing the aspiring students and the prospective alumnus, Dr. Assaf says,“I am confident that you will find your experience at RIT Dubai enriching, exciting, and productive through having access to leading faculty, innovative degree programs, extensive resources, and the latest learning technology. RIT Dubai students will be well prepared to enter into their chosen professions to compete and lead in the global market.”
Sketching the Future Road map
RIT Dubai aspires to be an institute of choice for the students in the engineering domain. For that, it is building a new campus, for which it received the funding of 200 million dirhams. The first phase of this new establishment will be completed by 2020. It is designed to be a working lab with defined themes that make it Smart, Sustainable, Connected, and Innovative. Also, there will be the opening of an innovation hub, for public and private industries to use, for creating and developing solutions to problems in an innovative way.
Currently, RIT Dubai is also involved in building the smart city accelerator with Dubai Silicon Oasis. It’s in collaboration with DU, Orange, and Chamber of Commerce. The idea behind this accelerator is for students to be the members of the accelerator and provide support to new technical solutions from all over the globe.