University President

 

 

 

 

Thanks be to God, who has blessed us with Islam and its principles, and peace be upon our Teacher, Prophet Mohammad, our exemplar of good deeds; his family, and his Companions.
Dear colleagues, the leadership of King Abdul Aziz University,
May the peace and blessing of God be upon you.
Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuhu

I thank God that He has given us, in this University, the active, intellectual minds and working hands that you and all your colleagues represent. You all work earnestly, carefully and faithfully to upgrade this university in the service of our religion and this bountiful land. I thank God that He has placed Science and Organization at our service so that we may make optimum use of our endeavors, ideas and positive work through a clear-cut, specific plan that ensures the achievement of the goals we aspire to. The impact of our organization is clear for all to see: the university has recently witnessed several pioneering, qualitative shifts that have led to the dissemination of an agreeable culture, the adoption of suitable practices and the realization of distinctive achievements.
The university’s strategic plan was launched in 1424H. It entailed the ambitious goals of its employees and adherents, and these goals revolve on six axes: academic upgrading; total quality; scientific research; increasing the number of stakeholders; the ideal exploitation of resources; and partnership with local and international institutions.
The plan has reinforced the policy of change for the better. It has also consolidated continuous improvements, the adoption of suitable international practices, the revival of practices drawn from our heritage, and ascertaining performance according to international performance indices.
You will remember our meeting at the Fourth Quality Forum in 1424 H, when, according to a bold and ambitious plan, we raised the slogan, 'Change for the Sake of Development'. I thank God that things went according to plan, and in some cases great results have been achieved that were beyond our expectations.
You will also recall that in 1428 H the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques honored me by renewing his confidence in me, whereby I have continued to head this great university. Our slogan then was 'Towards Internationalism by Word and Deed,' and I thank God that we have been able to score several achievements in that direction.
These four landmarks were really important for drawing a clear and ambitious path for the university: strategic planning, academic accreditation, total quality and international partnership have become the prevalent culture in the university, and they represent the means and methodologies for the achievement of goals, ambitions and leadership. Furthermore, the exchange of knowledge and experience has become the major requirement for all the sectors of the university. Distinguished achievements have followed one another, bearing the mark of development and the ambitions of this university.
In the field of academic upgrading, the university syllabi were changed and updated, and new programs were introduced. The Foundation Year was also introduced, bringing with it basic subjects and skills acquisition. Furthermore, all the facilities and means of the university – buildings, labs and work force – were upgraded. International accreditation was also obtained, a unique and unprecedented achievement among the universities in the region. Thirty-three academic programs have been accredited – apart from the accreditation awarded to the university hospital – and several programs are very close to obtaining the highest academic accreditation. Also, many sectors have obtained the ISO Certificates for total quality. Moreover, the services of the university have been extended to an increasing mass of people, whether students, faculty, administrators, technicians, or society at large. We have also distinguished ourselves in scientific research. We now compete with many research centers. We have obtained several patents for inventions, and have won several local research competitions. We have also had the lion's share in all the research and student competitions, as well as in other competitions.
I thank God that we have also achieved a great deal in the field of partnership with local and international organizations. We have set up a Business and Knowledge Alliance with four branches: business incubators, expertise houses, knowledge parke and central labs. We have also established the academic endowment to support research, and have signed several agreements with local private and governmental sectors and international institutions.
The university, with its planning and cadres, has taken under its wings several rising government and private universities and colleges in many parts of the Kingdom, so that it is leaving its imprint everywhere. We are also leaving our mark on research, methodology and academic programs outside the Kingdom. For instance, we are cooperating with the University of Business Administration in Madrid to found an Islamic economic center in Spain; and some European countries have sent students on scholarship to study at our university within the framework of an ambitious student exchange program.
The real driving force of K.A.U. lies on the ideas and work of its students, administrators, technicians and faculty, who, together, make up a total of 150,000 people. The university is concerned with their worth and with their abilities to make distinguished contributions, and it is also especially concerned with the construction, implementation and benefits of its planning and achievements.
Our students receive the greatest part of our attention, and for this reason there have been several new programs. External education, Distant Learning, E-Learning, digital libraries and parallel programs have all been developed. Moreover, the number of graduate programs has increased, and graduate students are supported in the field of research, and are also enabled to receive distinguished learning. The university is also concerned with developing the students' personalities, and with their cultural and intellectual make-up, it is furthermore interested in affording them various recreational activities in an agreeable and motivating environment that fosters in them the feeling of dedication, patriotism and pride in their national Islamic identity and its concepts. This area has witnessed a continuous improvement in the programs that are offered to them owing to the restructuring of some of the faculties, the revision of curricula and the development of skills and expertise.
As for faculty, the university has provided them with the means to develop their personalities and skills and has provided them with the opportunities for research and interaction at the international level, as well as meetings with social organizations that represent all the aspects of society and its activities, whether governmental or private, industrial, commercial or financial. In this regard, some universities have followed our steps. In addition, incentives have been augmented by the increase in the awards presented of a moral value and also by generous money awards for distinguished performance.
With regard to our colleagues the administrators and technicians, the university is concerned with developing the university environment for their benefit by seeking total quality, with the result that its successful program allowed several sectors to obtain the ISO after the revision of some policies and procedures, the application of electronic and financial mechanisms, and the professional development of the employees. There has also been an expansion in the development of administrative character and skills through various summer courses at the university and elsewhere in and outside the Kingdom. Besides this, there are money incentives for good performance, the acceleration of promotions and solutions to the problem of salaries that have remained fixed for many long years and which gave the employees the feeling that they had stagnated.
The achievements of the university are the outcome of an extended period of time that dates back to 1384H, as well as of the accumulation of goodwill, strenuous efforts, generous support and blessed work to disseminate science and knowledge, prepare generations for the future, develop sciences and upgrade society.
Every result in which we take pride stems from these deep roots and depend upon the contributions of the leadership, the administrators, the faculty and the students. These span four decades of work and giving. May God reward them. And let us not forget to pay our tribute to the committee that founded this unique university, and to pay our tribute also to its former presidents.
Our achievements are also the outcome of the extension of place, geography and work and are the product of good deeds that go beyond the confines of this university to embrace several aspects of society as well as the governmental and private institutions of the Kingdom. These deeds even transcend the borders of the Kingdom to blend with and contribute to the endeavors of prominent people in the world to disseminate well-being, the development of knowledge, and Virtue.
Our march on the path of development and practical applications is obstructed by core issues that must be confronted, dealt with and resolved. Some of these issues are: the merger of the Women’s and Teachers' Colleges with the university; the development of the new universities; the expansion of the university horizontally and geographically; the development of its infrastructure; switching to an opened university by reinforcing its role as a house of knowledge that offers counsel and sponsors work; switching to an electronic university with all its resultant development in organization, regulations, and in the administrative, financial and academic sectors; focusing on the application and evaluation of syllabi and faculty; laying down specific measurements for performance and its follow-up; and developing graduate studies, scientific research, the endowments and scientific chairs.
If all these issues are well dealt with we will – God willing – achieve internationalism in work, results, relations and continuous distinction.
The university has signed several agreements with several international institutions of higher education and has benefited in part from some of them. The time has come to translate these agreements into tens of exchange programs and projects with specific goals and results that would serve the learning process and scientific research and society, and which would raise the university's position education-wise. The goals and results would also allow for the exchange of knowledge and culture and the reinforcement of experience. Many international institutions of higher education, research centers and centers of excellence are open to more agreements.
The university's adoption of practical programs such as business incubators, expertise houses entrepreneurship, sponsoring genius and talent, and some academic chairs shows to what extent the university, in cooperation with the governmental and private sectors, wishes to reformulate the labor market in the Kingdom to make it commensurate with the Kingdom's economic capabilities, its human resources and its place in the world. These programs should be further activated and continually developed.
If the direct outcomes of the university are education, scientific research and community service, internationalism requires an international presence and its own outcome, and that outcome is presenting the proper image of the university and disseminating it in all the local and international academic platforms. We must admit our obvious shortcomings in this area. The reasons, perhaps, may be attributed to the nature of our scientists and producers, and the lack of talk and media exposure so as not to consume time and also as sign of humility to God in the belief that he will reward us for our modest silence. But there are rights unto ourselves and our country, and it is right to show our distinguished achievements and to present the image of the university with truths and deeds.
Strategic planning requires strategic thinking, the ability to criticize constructively, comprehending the best practices and suggesting alternatives, the ability to move from problem to resolution and combining creativity and a realistic, calculated boldness. It also entails the ability to define what is best for a given field, to aspire to it, and interact with it. It also involves embracing enlightened ideas and their exponents. Carrying out a strategic plan requires the ability to embrace the bold, win over the hesitant and neutralize skeptics, and also to think of ingenious ways to secure resources and utilize them wisely.
K.A.U. has adopted change for the better as a permanent basis, constant improvement is its policy and aspiration to the best practices is the road it has taken. This policy hinges on cooperation and requires, first of all, good intentions, boosting efforts, infusing a spirit of initiative and starting steadfastly and with confidence according to a unified vision.
Your university will continue to be strong and energetic as long as its sons in all sectors are imbued with its vision and mission, are determined to translate them into ambitions and goals commensurate with their determination, and refuse to allow any obstacle to stand in their way.
The change we aspire to requires pioneering planning that takes into consideration reality, the latest in all fields, work systems, means of performance, and methods of achievement. Change also demands re-engineering old and traditional methods of work in a manner that would allow these traditional methods to benefit from new ideas and tools, and to adapt to competition and the demands of the age in constructing changing organizations capable of absorbing what is modern, in order to raise the standard of performance.
The change we aspire to requires calculated risks, bold ideas and readiness to open up new horizons. The change we aspire to requires planning to achieve success.
The decade 1420-1430H was one of change and continuous improvement, a policy set by the executive administration. The change also encompassed University Vice-Presidencies and all their sectors and administrative methods. Thanks to its experience, the University was able to smoothly take up responsibility for several newly-established universities and colleges and merge others into it.
Change and continuous improvement require a clear-cut plan that delineates the road that we must take. The plan must be the outcome of the ideas of its faithful sons. Ten years ago, the vision and mission of the university were defined by its sons and the first strategic plan in which many of its sons participated was laid down in 1423/1424 H. The long-term goals of the strategy were set in 1414 H and the strategies defined for the years 1425-1430 revolved on six axes mentioned previously, namely; academic upgrading; total quality; scientific research; increasing the number of stakeholders, the ideal exploitation of resources and partnership with local and international institutions.
Today we meet as a family to agree and work together to set the university's second strategic plan (1431- 1435H). I have chosen a specialized team from amongst you to carry out this work, headed by the University Vice-President for Development. The members of this team are the Councilor for Strategic Planning and the Supervisor of Strategic Planning Administration.
I hope you will facilitate the work of this team so that it can carry out its duties with maximum efficiency. Examples of the way you can facilitate their task are:
• Active participation in 3-day workshops, which may be conducted outside Jeddah.
• Participating in handing out and collecting questionnaires inside the faculties.
• Enabling the team to obtain all available data and information in each sector.
• Enabling the team to use the conference rooms that are equipped to allow for video conferences with the Women's Campus.
As we have agreed, cooperation with the team responsible for setting the second strategic plan involves several workshops, focus groups, surveys, studies and meetings.
With regard to the three projected workshops, a select group of university staff concerned with their performance will take part in them. The workshops are:
• A workshop on (the future we aspire to).
• A workshop on (defining strategies).
• A workshop on (programs and projects).
As for the focus groups, there are several, such as:
• The international focus group, which comprises consultants from international universities and research centers known for their model practices in conveying experiences and adopting the best practices.
• Stakeholders focus group, formed of the governmental and private sectors.
• Faculty focus groups comprising faculty who have recently returned from scholarships. The purpose of this group is to record their ambitions and experiences, suggest original programs and projects to ensure and reinforce interaction at the international level and to exchange experiences between our university and others around the world.
• Various focus groups from the Women's Campus.
• Focus groups comprising distinguished students from both campuses and from different levels of study. The function of this group is to know their mind map with regard to the university environment including buildings, facilities, faculty, learning activities, student activities, administration, actions and procedures.
• Focus group comprising graduates who entered the labor market. Its purpose is to know what they had hoped the university would adopt, and also to know their vision on how the university may be developed.
• Focus group comprising students on scholarships in different countries of the world. The function of this group is to acquaint itself with the new, positive experiences they have been exposed to, and what experiences they have had may be of use to the university. The group will also encourage them to practice their successful experiences in the universities where they are on scholarship and then transplanting these experiences into King Abdulaziz University.

As for the meetings, these comprise:
• This meeting.
• A meeting with the male students of the university.
• A meeting with the female students of the university.
• A meeting with the councils of some of the faculties and some of the committees.
The proper protocol will be applied to all the meetings, focus groups and workshops so that use may be made of the outcomes of these proceedings to formulate the plan with its strategies, programs, projects and performance indices and their evaluation. The policy that will be adopted by the strategic planning team depends on the successful application of planning and the utilization of various tools and techniques for analysis, to ascertain the accuracy and practicality of the outcomes of the plan. This will allow for the formulation of multilevel documentation so that the goals, programs and developmental projects of the strategic planning team, which will play a major part in the formulation of the documentation, would be known to all sectors of the university.
The university leadership will act to meet all the requirements for implementing the plan after its approval. It will also follow up regularly with all the sectors during the stages of implementation according to clear performance indices, and with the utmost transparency.
To talk about the vision and aspirations of your university is to talk about your vision and aspirations and those of your colleagues, and the employees, men and women, who are the pride of the university. I hope that this meeting will be tantamount to a pledge to work diligently to please God and satisfy our leaders who have put their trust in us and given us this responsibility towards our future generations and society.

You will remember the speech I gave to you at the start of my first term in office. I asked for your support that we should work together. At the start of my second term in office, I asked you to continue your support. I thank God that you responded and that together we have achieved much of what I have mentioned and not mentioned.

Now we need to put our hands together to carry on with our distinguished work and benefit our sons and daughters in this beneficent land. Remember what we build today is a link in the chain of construction since the university was founded and I wish you a long life and distinguished achievements by you and for you.

I ask God to grant us success in our diligence in order to please Him. I thank you, and I appreciate your support and your coming here today. I also thank the Vice- Presidents of the University, the members of the strategic planning team, Professor Essam Filali, the Strategic Planning Advisor to the University President, Professor Abdulghani Milibari, Director of the Strategic Planning Administration and all those who have worked and continue to work with them to prepare this plan which will be a beacon for us during the coming five years, God Willing.

Thank you and God bless you.

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Last Update 2/18/2016 12:47:05 PM