Higher education instructors and professionals met at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss methods to increase and improve academic advising efforts in the region. Organized by KAU, the two-day conference in November 2015 titled “Academic Advising for Higher Education of the Gulf Cooperation Council States: Reality and Hope” included the participation of 38 neighboring educational institutions.
“All educational institutions in the Arab region and the Arabian Gulf aim for their educational outcomes to be in line with the international systems of quality assurance,” Dr. Amin Noaman, head of the conference’s organizing committee, said.
King Abdulaziz University was founded in 1967 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and has over 2,000 faculty members and more than 37,000 students. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Higher Education is dedicated to ensuring that many of their universities achieve world-class status. This academic advising training is one way universities are improving mobility with academic institutions around the globe.
In attendance were members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which consists of six Arab states in the Persian Gulf region. The GCC is an agreement between these countries whose objectives are to formulate similar regulations, set up joint ventures, and foster economically progressive educational programs. The goal of the conference is to not only improve the quality of education in Saudi Arabia, but in the surrounding countries as well.
UTeach-Liberal Arts Assistant Director Carlos Eric Bowles presented at the event on behalf of the UT Global Initiative for Education and Leadership (UTGI). Bowles’ keynote, titled “Conceptualizing Academic Advising: Reality and Hope,” used analytical data to address effective and positive methods an advisor may employ in order to meet the needs of their students.
“The purpose of academic advising is to create academic environments that are informative, supportive, learner-centered, interactive, and engaging for students within institutions of higher education,” Bowles said.
Prior to the conference, Bowles gave a half-day workshop to advisors from King Abdulaziz University. Bowles discussed some of the resources available for academic advisors, which include applications, course sequencing and course planning, and statewide statistics. His inclusive presentation touched on subjects ranging from core values to differing advising styles. This event was meant to foster conversation about various tactics for motivating and supporting students.
Bowles previously presented on behalf at UTGI in Muscat, Oman, in 2014 at an Academic Advising Symposium for Arab Open University. Bowles has been recognized with numerous local and national awards. He serves as an instructor for the Rapoport Service Scholarship Program and is currently completing his Educational Psychology dissertation at UT Austin.