In today’s fast-paced world, where technology is advancing every day, universities must have a faculty that is up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. For that reason, many prestigious universities have appointed highly competent professionals to deliver state-of-the-art education to their students.
In this regard, Sanaa Kaddoura, the Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Zayed University, stands out as a remarkable example of expertise and dedication. She is an accomplished researcher, a seasoned teacher and a visionary leader in the field of computer science. With years of experience and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Sanaa has become a vital member of the university’s faculty.
Sanaa’s expertise, dedication and passion for teaching and research make her a valuable asset to the university and a respected member of the academic community.
Sanaa shared insights on her approach to integrating new methods in teaching to increase efficiency in education.
Let’s indulge in the significant facts she shared!
Leadership Journey: Success and Challenges
Sanaa is not just a leader by position but also by her actions. Currently, Sanaa leads a research team in her lab where they conduct cutting-edge research on applying Artificial Intelligence to solve real-life problems. Her team consists of 3 researchers working on two distinct projects, and she makes sure to lead them in the most efficient way possible to produce great results together.
Back in her professional journey, her first remarkable leadership action was recognized in 2012 while working at OBAS, an e-learning company. Her manager noticed her decision-making abilities and the initiative to empower new colleagues and support existing ones with her knowledge. This led to her promotion from a curriculum creator to a Team Leader. Though the responsibility became higher, Sanaa enjoyed it and excelled in her new position.
In 2015, Sanaa moved to the UAE and had to re-establish and prove herself again in a new environment. Her first position allowed her to challenge herself to fix a company-wide computer system that was not functioning at the time. She created a new ad-hoc system by herself that could produce reports in a timely fashion. Although it was not her job, Sanaa took on the work as a programmer, administrator and data entry operator to get the reports once.
In support of this, she says, “Although it was stressful, the results were satisfying enough and helped me to discover more about the hidden leader inside me.”
As a university professor, Sanaa’s job as an educator is a leadership position as well. Every semester, she has new learners who expect a lot from her, and she never disappoints or lets them down. As an educator, Sanaa wakes up every morning ready to lead her class and make an impact.
Sanaa believes that leadership is an action, not just a position, and her actions speak louder than words. Her ability to empower others, take on challenges, and lead her team with efficiency makes her a true leader.
University’s Values and Work Culture
The vision of Zayed University is “To enable leaders capable of shaping the future, passionate about knowledge and innovation, keen on self-development and ready to anticipate future challenges as inspired by Sheikh Zayed’s timeless legacy.”
Zayed University’s values focus on Pioneering, Passion for knowledge, Innovation, Competitiveness, Tolerance, and Institutional Reputation.
Zayed University supports research and encourages faculty and students to engage in research projects. The university also provides all the needed assets for that, including funds, a library, resources, etc.
Education Industry Influence: Expertise and Insights
Throughout her educational and professional experiences, Sanaa has noticed the high demand for specific skills and knowledge in the market, especially in the education industry. As a result, she has made it a priority to emphasize these skills in her courses and prepare her students to meet the demands of the industry.
Currently, Sanaa is leading a research project that explores the required skills in the marketplace, particularly in the era of artificial intelligence. The project aims to develop a system that can benefit the education industry by allowing universities to assess their curriculums and ensure they equip educators with the necessary skills. The system is expected to be launched soon, and Sanaa is optimistic about its potential impact on the education industry.
Sanaa is a firm believer in the positive impact of technology on education. Her passion for this topic is reflected in the numerous research and magazine articles she has written on the subject. In her classes, Sanaa ensures that technology is an integral part of the learning process.
She utilizes online Learning Management Systems (LMS) for all resources, communication, announcements, and exams. Sanaa also incorporates online and gaming tools to increase learner engagement and help students avoid rote learning. Her classes are visually stimulating and she makes use of online simulations, videos, images and gaming tools to make the learning experience more exciting.
Zayed University, where Sanaa teaches, supports faculty members with the latest technologies and provides them with the necessary training, enabling Sanaa to take full advantage of technology in her classes.
“Preparing for Change: Future Prospects”
Artificial Intelligence and the newly demanded skills in the market will cause a revolution in the education sector. All institutions must go through a transformation stage to keep up with the market need. Sanaa says, “If this does not happen, we will have a problem with many jobless graduates with university degrees because they do not have the required skills.”
In order to keep pace with the industry 4.0 demand, Zayed University changed its programs to new ones that can prepare a new generation of graduates who are creative thinkers, doers and future builders of the nation. The new programs are interdisciplinary, innovative and up-to-date.
Sanaa has always been passionate about making a positive impact on society through her work. As a faculty member at Zayed University, her primary goal is to support the university’s mission and vision while pursuing her passion for research and teaching. She further shares, “I aim to lead more research projects that directly impact society. I dream of using my research skills and IT competencies to serve humankind.”
She also emphasizes sustainability stating, “I believe that life and science can interact together, and we can all use our skills to help find solutions to the critical problems we are facing globally.”
One of Sanaa’s main areas of interest is sustainability. She believes that collaborative research between different fields of study, such as IT, health science, and social science, can help find solutions to the critical problems faced globally, such as global warming. Sanaa is keen to explore how IT skills can be utilized to serve the goal of sustainability. In her previous research project, she utilized Artificial Intelligence to predict water quality and she is now expanding her work to cover more problem areas.
Sanaa is excited about the potential impact of her research and hopes to lead more research projects that directly impact society. She believes that through collaborative research and the utilization of modern technologies, it can be efficient to find solutions to critical problems and make a positive impact on society. Sanaa is grateful for the support and resources provided by Zayed University, which enable her to pursue her passion for research and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Entrepreneurial Advice: Navigating the Dynamic Industry
Sanaa believes in the power of advice and guidance in shaping a person’s life. She follows certain principles that guide her to stay motivated and focused on achieving her goals.
One of the most critical pieces of advice she follows is to “stay up-to-date” continually. She emphasizes that the new industry will be skills-based rather than degree-based, and staying up-to-date with the latest skills and competencies is crucial to succeed. She often assesses herself on how many skills she has, rather than how many degrees she holds, to stay competitive in the job market.
The second piece of advice she follows is to “believe in yourself” and not get obsessed with negative thoughts. She tells a story of a deaf frog who could not hear people telling him that he could not do it. Sanaa advises everyone to be like the deaf frog and not get disheartened by negative thoughts or comments.
Finally, Sanaa emphasizes the importance of integrity. She advises them to always do the correct thing, whether someone is looking or not because whatever one does will ultimately return to us. She believes that acting with integrity not only builds trust and respect but also helps us lead a fulfilling life.