It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you to the AOU Faculty of Language Studies. I am honored to have been appointed Dean of this great College as of second semester 2016/2017. Before joining the AOU, I was Dean of the Faculty of Languages, Sana’a University, Yemen. In 2015, I joined the AOU as an academic administrator in the Deanship and a Prof. of Linguistics in the AOU Kuwait Branch. These two years of immersion in both the administrative and academic spheres of work at the University were definitely beneficial and rewarding.
FLS is distinguished for its excellent programs, highly qualified faculty members, terrific administrators, state-of-the art facilities and highly competitive students. The impressive work of the College has been acknowledged by the University senior officials, and with our philosophy of organized teamwork, diligence and commitment, we are determined to take FLS further ahead.
In its attempt to attain distinction, the FLS accords a great deal of attention to the principal component of the teaching-learning process, namely the learner. The most recent teaching theories, methods, approaches and procedures advocate that the learner should be the focal point of the educational process. Indeed, cognitive and humane oriented approaches call for shifting the focus from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’, where the learner becomes the center of the teaching-learning process, and this is exactly what is being exercised in our FLS programs. Our teaching is student-centered and we incessantly urge our colleagues to keep an eye on the most up-to-date teaching approaches, selecting from them what works for their students, for themselves and for the teaching-learning practice, taking into account the individual and cultural needs of our learners. Besides, we endeavor to get our students involved in what they learn; tutors in our College are encouraged to talk and listen, present and give learners a chance to present, comment and invite learners to comment, etc. Student involvement is perceived as an extremely essential learning method; for we believe that no truly meaningful learning occurs unless students are actively engaged in what they learn. Benjamin Franklin, the Pioneer of the American modern civilization, was a believer of the Confucius philosophy, which states: “tell me and I forget; teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn.” We in the FLS are devout believers in this philosophy of education. We strive as hard as we can to give our students the opportunity to discuss with their tutors and with their classmates the topics presented in class, prepare presentations and conduct mini-research projects. The fact that students have to, according to the AOU blended learning model, study 75% of each subject on their own is another essential element that is conducive to developing the learner’s independent personality. That is, learners are given a chance to tackle parts of the subjects by themselves rather than be completely dependent on their teachers to spoon-feed them, as is the case with most traditional face-to-face methods of schooling.
The second major objective we endeavor to accomplish at the FLS is to equip our learners with the indispensable skills required by the job market. In the world of today, the workplace does not accord much attention to merely the certificate a graduate holds, but rather to the certificate and the skills that this graduate possesses. Such skills include English communication skills, computer skills, initiative-taking skills as well as inter- and intrapersonal communication skills, and this is exactly what we are committed to equip our students with throughout their four-year journey of our BA programs.
We are truly proud of our graduate and post graduate programs and we see to it that we periodically evaluate their effectiveness and propose new ones that the job market needs. Our current programs do serve the community, and at present we are deliberating the possibility of initiating other important programs such as Translation, TEFL and English and Media programs. We feel that such programs will bridge important gaps in our local and regional job markets.
Finally, we extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz, Founder and Chairman of AGFUND, President of AOU Board of Trustees for this magnificent Pan-Arab Higher Education Institution, which paves the road for brighter future of education in the Arab World. Thanks are also due to her Excellency Prof. Modi Al-Hamoud, President of the University for her pioneering efforts to foster the best academic standards in all spheres of the University. Finally, thanks are due to the Vice Presidents, to my colleagues in the FLS and to our administrative staff and students.