Skip to main content

The positive impact of Senior Fellowship at Majan University College

25 May 2022 | Majan University College staff Three academics from Majan University College, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, talk about how the process of constructing Senior Fellowship applications positively impacted their professional practice

When it opened in 1995, Majan University College (MUC) became the first private sector higher education institution (HEI) in Oman. MUC was also the first HEI in the Sultanate to gain institutional accreditation from the Oman Authority for Academic Accreditation and Quality Assurance of Education, the national higher education quality assurance agency. The College has always prided itself on providing a stimulating learning experience for its students, so in Advance HE it found a partner well-attuned to its needs and aspirations.

Ijaz Ahmad

Director of Quality Assurance in the College’s Faculty of Information Technology
Ijaz Ahmad joined MUC in 2013. He has since been a pillar of the College’s Faculty of Information Technology and became its Director of QA in 2015. From the outset, he was excited to be one of the first MUC staff to have the opportunity to apply as a Senior Fellow. Among other things, Ijaz feels that the experience of writing his Senior Fellowship application not only increased his ability to reflect deeply on his professional practices, it also improved his ability to write documentation for programme/institutional reviews overseen by external bodies, and to prepare rationales for new programmes. Over the period when he was compiling his application, he feels that his analytical and critical thinking skills deepened. This positive change is also evident in his day to day activities. “When a change is made in our processes or documentation – such as a recent change in the assessment review form – I feel better able to evaluate the outcomes of the change and my own contribution to it,” he says.

Dr Ammar AlBalushi

Head of Majan’s Faculty of Business Management (FoBM)
Dr Ammar AlBalushi, Head of Majan’s Faculty of Business Management (FoBM), became a Senior Fellow in 2020. He contrasts the experience of completing his PhD with that of applying for Senior Fellowship. The former involved looking externally, at scholarly publications and collected data; whereas for Senior Fellow, he had to look inside himself for his own motivations and professional impulses. As Head of Faculty he now often analyses the effects of his own actions, as he and the FoBM team strive for continuous development and improvement. Overall, while he feels that applying for Senior fellowship did not teach him anything new in terms, for example, of his knowledge of his subject area, it certainly sharpened both his ability to reflect and the frequency with which he finds himself analysing his actions and their outcomes. Above all, he says, he is grateful for the status conferred by Senior Fellowship certification. “I regard it as a badge of professionalism, officially confirming that I have the skills, knowledge and values set out in the professional Standards Framework.”

Dr Farhad Tayebipour

Director of Quality Assurance in the Faculty of English Language Studies
Dr Farhad Tayebipour, is the Director of Quality Assurance in the Faculty of English Language Studies and is at the time of writing also Acting Head of the Faculty – so he currently has his hands full! Nevertheless, he found time recently to talk about his experience of applying for Senior Fellowship in the 2019-2020 academic year. One of his challenges was simply a matter of memory; recollecting all the details relating to one of his case studies, which concerned activities in his previous job in Iran. In drafting his application, Dr Farhad reflected on all aspects of his work, looking for instances where his own espoused theories were not consistent with his practices. He has found that this enhanced his awareness of how he communicates with colleagues (particularly in relation to QA matters), how he promotes interaction in class, and how he tailors his teaching to the needs of different kinds of students: both the exceptional ones, and the ones who are struggling. For Dr Farhad, “the reflection I undertook while preparing my Senior Fellowship application was an awareness-raising process. I looked critically at all my professional practices and focused on how to do even better.”

Since the first group of MUC applicants were successful in late summer 2018, a total of almost forty MUC staff have gained  Fellowships in three categories: Associate Fellowship, Fellowship, and Senior Fellowship. Of these, five have since left the College, but almost twenty Fellows, a dozen Senior Fellows, and four Associate Fellows remain. Together they make up about two-thirds of the College’s academic staff. While it is difficult to describe or estimate the impact of the Fellowships scheme on the College, it certainly seems that it has led to greater sophistication in debates about learning and teaching matters. The testimony of the three staff featured here also provides evidence of the benefits that arise from submitting a successful application.

Majan’s partnership with Advance HE is closely monitored by the College’s Dean, Dr Maha Kobeil and Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs, Nabila Al Macki (who is also a Senior Fellow). It is directly overseen by an Associate Dean, Dr Brian Poole, who adds the following:

“We expect to continue entering some of our staff for Fellowships, because we see the benefits both in terms of individual growth and institutional development. In addition, as time goes on, we hope to collaborate with Advance HE on other projects – particularly those that will empower and upgrade the skills of young Omani academics, in line with Oman’s 2040 vision.”

Fellowship demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. Across four categories, from Associate to Principal, Fellowship provides individuals with recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of teaching and learning. Find out more here

Find out about Advance HE memberships for International higher education providers. Advance HE has three membership packages, Access, Strategic and Global, each providing access to a worldwide network with resources to transform your institution. 

Find out more about our accreditation services; and explore our work to enhance the quality and status of teaching for individuals around the globe. 

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

Keep up to date - Sign up to Advance HE communications

Our monthly newsletter contains the latest news from Advance HE, updates from around the sector, links to articles sharing knowledge and best practice and information on our services and upcoming events. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter now.

Sign up to our enewsletter