Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb inaugurates NACADA conference at Zayed University

24 Feb 2016

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance and President of Zayed University, Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, inaugurated NACADA conference, the Global Community of Academic Advising, which was held for the first time in Dubai campus on Tuesday.

The NACADA is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty members, and administrators who are working to enhance the educational development of students and promote student success by advancing the field of academic advising globally.

More than 200 academic advisors, academics, student affairs professionals, and educators in the UAE, the region and beyond attended the 2016 NACADA conference.

The four-day event, which started on February 22 and will end on February 25, not only provides an interactive forum for discussion, debate, and exchange of ideas pertaining to academic advising through numerous activities and publications, but also serves as an advocate for effective academic advising by providing consulting services and funding for research related to academic advising.

At the outset of the conference, Professor AlMehaideb, gave a welcome speech on behalf of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna.

In his opening remarks, Professor AlMehaideb expressed his sincere gratitude and highest appreciation to NACADA board members saying: “It is marvelous opportunity for Zayed University to host NACADA conference for the first time in its campus and a great opportunity to involve in a vibrant environment, where we can gather and exchange valuable ideas.”

“Zayed University has always been committed to student success, as a key component for its progress and sustainable development. The Office for Student Success was established at Zayed University to enhance students’ success by supporting them in making a smooth and successful transition to college, while maintaining an excellent academic standing and reaching their lifelong educational goals. This mission is accomplished through an internationally designed, comprehensive array of programs, services, and resources,” he added.

The opening ceremony was attended by officials from both parties including Dr. Marilyn Roberts, Acting Provost at Zayed University, Professor Jyoti Grewal, Dean of University College at Zayed University, Dr. Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director, Dr. Karen Sullivan Vance, Director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center at the Western Oregon University, deans, and faculty members.

A large number of the Peer Assistance Leader Program (PALs) students assisted professionally and diligently in the numerous daily administrative duties of NACADA International Conference.

Dr. Nutt, who was appointed as the Executive Director of NACADA in October 2007, has had vast experience in education and presented at numerous state, regional, national, and international conferences on the topics of student success, academic advising, institutional effectiveness and assessment, retention, and advisor training and development.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, who contributed in making this event a success. I have visited Zayed University in Abu Dhabi in 2011. It is a wonderful experience to be back here again. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna, Professor AlMehaideb, and Bryan Gilroy, the Conference Chair and Assistant Provost and Campus Director.”

“As we all know from seeing the major emphasis that higher education is putting globally on the success of our first generation students. I am excited to affirm the commitment of NACADA’s board members to reach all students globally, focus on their experiences, and strategies to help in their transition to college,” he added.  

The four- day forum shared scholarly research that clarifies best practices as well as strategies and programs that engage students in advising, connect with leading practitioners in the field of academic advising, and give a greater insight into advising students from the Arab Gulf, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond.

Professor Jyoti Grewal, Dean of University College at Zayed University, also gave a keynote speech during the event.

“NACADA conference aims to strengthen and sustain confidence in students’ capabilities. Our focus at the University College in Zayed University is students. We ensure that students receive what they came to seek; an education that was nuanced, full, comprehensive, and fully supported; an education that would give them the tools to become productive citizens of their communities and the world,” Jyoti, who had a successful teaching and administrative career that spans nearly three decades, said.

The international conference also tackled key challenges facing students and higher education in the present time.   

Dr. Karen, whose research areas focus on academic advising, motivation, resiliency, and fostering youth access to higher education, gave a keynote speech during the event.  

“Students are the reason. They are our priority in the midst of an ever-changing world. Advisors are those who empower students to reach their goals and achieve their dreams,” she said.


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