Zayed University organizes Student Affairs Administrators Conference (NASPA)

31 Mar 2010

Zayed University organized the 4th Student Affairs Administrators for Higher Education for GCC Universities (NASPA GULF) conference at Dubai Campus. The conference lasted two days in participation with 200 specialists in administration and student affairs departments from around the GCC and a number of  faculty members and administrators at Zayed University. The conference aims to build the cooperation in this sector to develop the performance of students in universities and higher educational institutions and enhance their skills and abilities.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice-President of Zayed University, stated the vital role the Student Affairs departments play in preparing the appropriate educational and social environment and supporting student's extracurricular activities that integrate with the academic plans. The conference addressed many issues, most importantly ideas to solve learning difficulties among students which reflect negatively on the academic and educational performance and requires concentrated efforts to help these specific students to complete their studies. The conference has many goals, including supporting community programs, promoting voluntary work among students, exchanging experiences in this regard which adds value to the skills of the students. Zayed University is keen to organize diverse programs that contribute to the community through experts and faculty at the university with the participation of students.

Dr. Asma Obaid, Student Affairs and Cultural Counselor at Zayed University, said a special committee has been formed to organize the conference which includes Ola Taji, Student Affairs Coordinator at Zayed University, and Suhair Awadalla, Counselor-Student Services at Zayed University.

Dr. Obaid added that the conference is held this year is focused on enhancing cooperation to develop student performance through integration and coordination between student affairs departments at GCC universities. In his opening statement, Dr. Daniel Johnson, Zayed University Provost, addressed this issue stressing the importance of cooperating in promoting extra-curricular activities and scholarship programs outside the UAE for students to gain experience and interact with other cultures. The conference also aims to support student activities and develop their leadership skills and enable students to see the latest practices applied by prestigious international universities in this field.

Suhair Awadalla and Ola Taji said the conference including scientific presentations by Dr. Gad Elbeheri, Executive Director of the Centre for Child Evaluation & Teaching in Kuwait. Dr. Elbeheri explained the learning difficulties among university students and how to help them overcome these challenges through awareness, accurate diagnosis, and the use of university counselors' expertise. Dr. Joy Smith, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Clemson University, USA, discussed the importance of sharing experiences and expertise among student affairs departments at international and regional universities.

The conference comprised of workshops and seminars dealing with many issues, including counseling, academics, raising health awareness among university students as part of their social and academic activities and the role of extra-curricular activities in raising cultural awareness. The workshops also propose strategic academic plans and its compatibility with the surrounding environment and develop communication skills for students with special needs. The seminars included discussions on the role of counselors in helping students that suffer from dyslexia.