Why Innovation is Key to the University Experience of the Future
Sponsored by United Arab Emirates University
In 2014, an article published by Forbes discussed the future of higher education and how it depends on innovation. Five years on, it’s a discussion that’s more relevant than ever.
As higher education becomes increasingly expensive and digital technologies become ever more instrumental to the education experience, institutions are having to adapt their business models and service offerings in order to remain relevant to societies, economies and most importantly, students.
One example of a university that’s orchestrating change and going beyond quick fixes and simple tweaks is United Arab Emirates University.
Why innovation and strategic thinking is critical for universities in the long-term
It’s almost impossible to mention the words ‘higher education’ without ‘innovation’ following closely behind. Despite the clichés, innovation in higher education isn’t just about staying ahead, it’s about staying relevant and sustainable in a globally unpredictable environment.
It’s also not about simply disrupting teaching and learning methodologies, but about strategically molding these methodologies in order to cultivate new ideas, enhance creativity, encourage collaboration, and promote inclusion and diversity.
So, with standards of higher education getting higher and higher there’s an imperative need for institutions to think outside the box and tap into their innovative mindsets.
The roadmap to the ‘University of the Future’
Thanks to advances in technology and the ever-competitive graduate job market, universities need to adapt just as quickly in order to offer students an education that will prepare them for the inevitable challenges and opportunities they’ll face after graduation.
As the leading national higher education institution of the UAE, the United Arab Emirates University plans to be a hub of strategic significance by conducting cutting-edge research in numerous fields and inculcating the spirit of discovery and entrepreneurship.
It’s comprehensive project, titled ‘University of the Future’, has been at the heart of the university for the last two years, and plans to produce indigenous leaders of the highest caliber, as well as attract international scholars to create a vibrant interactive research and learning environment.
The university plans to contribute to entrepreneurship-driven research and develop strong interdisciplinary programs in strategically selected priority areas, which will be managed by the university’s research centers. They will then align graduate programs with these areas.
Building from this, the university aims to promote the exchange of knowledge through forming high-tech innovation clusters and by attracting investment from business and international sources. The institution will then also collaborate with high-profile national agencies, industry and international institutions.
What it means for students
What goes on behind the scenes at higher education institutions may not be your first food for thought when it comes to narrowing down your university options. However, as the number of students applying to university continues to rise, institutions need to ensure they stand out and offer students an education that delivers.
A regular revision of academic programs while considering market needs is essential to developing sound academic programs that foster competitiveness, internationalization, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and lifelong learning.
For example, United Arab Emirates University aims to adopt and revise learning approaches by embracing as well as devising technology that facilitates the delivery and assimilation of knowledge, as well as promoting curiosity and critical thinking.
How does this work in practice?
The continuous growth of the aerospace industry in the United Arab Emirates has encouraged the recent offering of United Arab Emirates University’s Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. This is just one example of how the university is providing future-proof education, as the program will cater to the growth in space-related activities currently taking place in UAE, along with the aerospace hub that’s already started in Al Ain City.
Studying on this program means you’ll become skilled in using state-of-the-art engineering tools and technical communications and develop your creativity and leadership skills in order to cope with the rapidly evolving aerospace engineering technologies.
You’ll also efficiently design, manage, execute, and evaluate aerospace engineering systems components to satisfy clients/market needs per design specifications and requirements, as well as develop a high level of awareness of social, economic, and environmental issues that are relevant to aerospace engineering science.
This article was originally published in July 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020