Zayed University Granted Renewal of International Accreditation

14 Jul 2013

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in the United States has announced that Zayed University’s full international accreditation has been reaffirmed. This reaffirmation of accreditation by the MSCHE marks Zayed University one of a very few universities in the Middle East to achieve this status. Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State and President of Zayed University, praised the renewal of the international accreditation that Zayed University has earned from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Al Shamsi highlighted the importance of this achievement as evidence that ZU has met the all the criteria and advanced education practices that are required for this designation. This achievement reflects the vision and the unlimited support to education by the wise leadership, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses, the Supreme Council members and rulers of the emirates, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Zayed University has always strived to implement the best educational practices that are adopted by top international educational institutions, and earning the MSCHE accreditation reaffirms the superior quality of education that Zayed University is offering our students.

Dr. Al Shamsi also praised the efforts that H.E Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, has long invested in the field of higher education, and commended the guidance he has provided, and the initiatives he has undertaken to help position higher education institutions in the UAE amongst the best international higher education institutions.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed University, said: “This accreditation ranks Zayed University among the top international universities in the world. Achieving this accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation, and adjustment and can take several years to complete. During these years, Zayed University developed and implemented a plan to meet the MSCHE Accreditation Standards, which required a high-quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement, and curricula responsive to the needs of businesses”, added Dr. Al Jassim.

Zayed University received many commendations on its mission, performance and operations from the visitation team representing the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The University was found to be in compliance with all Standards required to continue its accreditation under the MSCHE. Having received accreditation through the MSCHE in 2008, Zayed University underwent the normal five-year intensive review for reaffirmation of its accreditation by a visitation team charged to evaluate the progress of every unit in the university against its stated mission and the fourteen Standards that the MSCHE uses to ensure that educational programs meet international standards and best practices.

The team found as exceptional at Zayed University the quality of its students and graduates, an outstanding and distinctive general education program which prepares students for success in their majors and in careers, provides them with higher level language skills in Arabic and English, an understanding of Islamic Studies, and extraordinary perspectives on global issues. The university was also cited as having excellent learning outcomes and assessment programs. A high quality faculty devoted to students, research and to service to the UAE was also cited as a feature of ZU. The team noted an unusually high graduation rate of its graduates which indicates very high student satisfaction with their educational experiences, a superb Academic Bridge Program to prepare students for the very high academic quality expected in the University and strong administration were cited as university strengths. The team noted that the unusual growth rate of nearly 20% per year indicates the high respect that prospective students and their families have for the University. The new ZU program to support students with special needs was cited as a distinction. Further, it was noted that the University Council is working well and has a strong commitment to ZU. The team also made four recommendations and six suggestions for improvement over the next few years.

By being accredited by the MSCHE, Zayed University shares its distinction in the UAE with the American University of Sharjah and New York University-Abu Dhabi and with notable universities in the US such as the American University in Washington, DC, Columbia University, Cornell University, Georgetown University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. Other universities accredited by the MSCHE in the Middle East include the American University of Beirut and the American University of Cairo.

Accreditation is a process of external quality review used by higher education to evaluate colleges, universities and educational programs for quality assurance and quality improvement. Institutions and educational programs seek accredited status as a means of demonstrating their academic and educational quality to students and the public. Accreditation is an impartial, third-party validation that an educational institution meets challenging, but achievable standards of quality, and provides a mechanism for continuous improvement. It is a dynamic process which requires the commitment and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders. It engages the community and ultimately assures the public of an organization's integrity.

Announcement of the renewal of accreditation commended ZU on the exceptional quality of its self-study, a required step for accreditation and reaffirmation. Further, it was stated that ZU met or exceeded all 14 of the standards against which the MSCHE evaluates applicants for accreditation. The reaffirmation is good for ten years with a periodic report due in 2018.

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