Engineering Education for a Resilient Society: A Case Study of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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1 Engineering Education for a Resilient Society: A Case Study of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Mujahid Ulla Faiz and Mubarak Saad Al-Mutairi Abstract In this paper, we have compared the achievements of educational institutions in Saudi Arabia in terms of ABET accredited programs and world university rankings. In other words, a brief survey of all ABET accredited programs at the associate, bachelor s, and master s degree level in Saudi universities and colleges is presented. Moreover, we have also compared the global rankings of Saudi universities over the last 6 years from 2009 to 2014, according to some of the most widely recognized international university ranking systems. Finally, we hope that our paper will be helpful in motivating educational institutions in the Arab world to continue to improve their performance in terms of accreditation and rankings both regionally and globally. Keywords ABET accreditation, Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR), Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QSWUR), Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (WRWU), U.S. News & World Report s (USNWR) rankings. I. INTRODUCTION Ongoing civil wars, unrest, and political instability in some Middle Eastern countries are severely impacting the education system in these countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has shown a great deal of resilience during these difficult times. Education has remained the top-most priority for Saudi Arabia and continues to receive the largest proportion (25%) of the total budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 [1], despite a sharp fall in the oil prices. The education sector has been allocated SR 217 ($57.9) billion for FY 2015 [1], up from SR 210 ($56) billion budgeted in FY 2014 [2]. This year s budget [1] has allocated funds for opening of 3 new universities in Bisha, Hafr Al-Batin, and Jeddah, thus bringing the total number of public universities in Saudi Arabia to 28. This clearly indicates that Saudi Arabia has been moving towards a knowledge-based economy by investing in education. Moreover, in 2015, Saudi Arabia has also merged the two Ministries of Education and Higher Education [3]. The merger will thus bridge the gap between the two Ministries. Three of the Saudi universities are among the best in the world. These include King Fahd University of Petroleum & Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology Unit Computer Science & Engineering Technology Unit Hafr Al-Batin Community College University of Hafr Al Batin Hafr Al-Batin 31991, Saudi Arabia King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia {mujahid, Abdulaziz University (KAU). Over the last 6 years from 2009 to 2014, at least one of these three universities has been featured in the top 500 lists of the most widely recognized international university ranking systems such as Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR) [4], Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QSWUR) [5], Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) [6], Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (WRWU) [7], and U.S. News & World Report s (USNWR) ranking of world universities [8]. Other Saudi universities and colleges, which are making their mark both regionally and globally include Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (ImamU), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), King Faisal University (KFU), King Khalid University (KKU), Qassim University (QU), Taif University (TU), Umm Al- Qura University (UQU), Hafr Al-Batin Community College (HBCC), Jubail Industrial College (JIC), and Yanbu Industrial College (YIC). Moreover, there are a number of ABET accredited programs in Saudi universities and colleges at both the associate and bachelor s degree level [9]. Most of these ABET accredited programs are uniquely tailored to meet the industry requirements of Saudi Arabia. The ABET accredited programs at the associate degree level offered by Saudi colleges [9] range from Chemical Engineering Technology, Computer Science & Engineering Technology, Electrical Power Engineering Technology, Electronics Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Non Destructive Evaluation Technology, Polymer Engineering Technology, and Process Operations and Chemical Analysis Technology. At the bachelor s degree level the ABET accredited programs offered by Saudi universities and colleges [9] range from Aerospace Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Biomedical Technology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Control and Instrumentation Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering Technology, Industrial and Systems Minerals (KFUPM), King Saud University (KSU), and King

2 Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Petroleum and Gas Engineering, and Software Engineering. In this paper we attempt to highlight the milestones reached by the Saudi educational institutions in terms of ABET accredited programs and world university rankings over the recent years. The rest of this paper is organized as follows. The ABET accredited programs in Saudi universities and colleges are discussed in Section II. The global rankings of Saudi universities are discussed in Section III. Finally, we conclude our paper in Section IV. II. ABET ACCREDITED PROGRAMS IN SAUDI UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES In this section, we present a brief survey of all the ABET accredited programs at the associate, bachelor s, and master s degree level in Saudi universities and colleges. A. Associate Degree Programs Figure 1 shows the number of ABET accredited associate degree programs in Saudi colleges. As can be seen from this figure, there are totally 16 ABET accredited programs at the associate degree level in Saudi Arabia. The ABET accredited associate degree programs at YIC [9], which is located in Yanbu Industrial City include Electrical Power Technology, Electronics Technology, Instrumentation and Control Technology, Manufacturing Technology, Mechanical Maintenance Technology, and Process Operations and Chemical Analysis Technology. Both JIC and YIC are affiliated with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY). In [10], we have presented a comparative study of all the ABET accredited associate degree programs at HBCC, JIC, and YIC. In [11] [12], we have described in detail our experiences of using the faculty course assessment report (FCAR) methodology for the assessment of both course learning outcomes (CLO s) and ABET student outcomes (SO s) supported by the microcontroller applications and cooperative training courses offered by the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology unit at HBCC, respectively. B. Bachelor s Degree Programs Figure 2 shows the number of ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs in Saudi universities and colleges. As can be seen from this figure, there are totally 59 ABET accredited programs at the bachelor s degree level in Saudi Arabia. Fig. 1. Number Of ABET Accredited Associate Degree Programs In Saudi Colleges. The ABET accredited associate degree programs at HBCC [9], which is located in Hafr Al-Batin city include Computer Science & Engineering Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Non Destructive Evaluation Technology. HBCC is affiliated with KFUPM. The ABET accredited associate degree programs at JIC [9], which is located in Jubail Industrial City include Chemical Engineering Technology, Electrical Power Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Mechanical Maintenance Engineering Technology, and Polymer Engineering Technology. Fig. 2. Number Of ABET Accredited Bachelor s Degree Programs In Saudi Universities And Colleges. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at KAU [9], which is located in Jeddah include Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering (Biomedical), Electrical Engineering (Computer), Electrical Engineering (Electronics and Communications), Electrical Engineering (Power and Machines), Industrial Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering (Aeronautical), Mechanical Engineering (Production and Mechanical Systems Design), Mechanical Engineering (Thermal Engineering and Desalination Technology), Mining Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at KFUPM [9], which is located in Dhahran include Aerospace Engineering, Applied Chemical Engineering, Applied Civil Engineering, Applied Electrical Engineering, Applied Mechanical Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Chemical Engi-

3 neering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Control and Instrumentation Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, and Software Engineering. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at KFU [9], which is located in Al-Ahsa include Computer Information Systems and Computer Science. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at KSU [9], which is located in Riyadh include Biomedical Technology - Instruments, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum and Gas Engineering, and Software Engineering. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at QU [9], which is located in Al-Qassim include Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at TU [9], which is located in Taif include Computer Engineering and Computer Science. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at UQU [9], which is located in Makkah Al-Mukarramah include Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The ABET accredited bachelor s degree programs at YIC [9] include Chemical Engineering Technology, Electrical Power Engineering Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. C. Master s Degree Programs Figure 3 shows the number of ABET accredited master s degree programs in Saudi universities. As can be seen from this figure, not many ABET accredited programs are available at the master s degree level. Only KFUPM offers ABET accredited Master of Engineering and Master of Science programs in Construction Engineering and Management [9]. Figure 4 shows the total number of ABET accredited programs at the associate, bachelor s, and master s degree level in Saudi universities and colleges. As can be seen from this figure, there are totally 77 ABET accredited programs at all the 3 above-mentioned degree levels in Saudi Arabia. Fig. 4. Number Of ABET Accredited Programs In Saudi Universities And Colleges. III. In this section, we have compared the global rankings of Saudi universities over the last 6 years from 2009 to 2014, according to some of the most widely recognized international university ranking systems such as THEWUR, QSWUR, ARWU, WRWU, and USNWR ranking of world universities. A. THE-QSWUR For the first time ever, two Saudi universities made their way into the global university rankings in KSU and KFUPM were ranked 247th and 266th, respectively, by THE- QSWUR, thus making these Saudi educational institutions the top ranking universities in the Arab world. Table I shows the global rankings of Saudi universities according to THE- QSWUR in 2009 [4] [5], [13]. TABLE I. ACCORDING TO THE-QSWUR. University 2009 KSU 247 KFUPM 266 Fig. 3. Number Of ABET Accredited Master s Degree Programs In Saudi Universities. B. THEWUR THE and QS ended their collaboration after jointly publishing their global rankings of universities until Table II shows the global rankings of Saudi universities according to THEWUR over the last 5 years from 2010 to 2014 [4]. Note that KFUPM has not been listed even once in the world university rankings published by THEWUR over the last 5 years from 2010 to Table III shows the Saudi universities in THE 100 Under 50 over the last 4 years from 2012 to 2015 [14]. THE 100

4 Under 50 is a ranking of the top 100 universities under 50 years old. Note that KFUPM was established in 1963 and the university completed its 50 years in Moreover, KAU was established in TABLE II. ACCORDING TO THEWUR. University KAU KSU TABLE VI. REGIONAL RANKINGS OF SAUDI UNIVERSITIES ACCORDING TO QSWUR. University 2014 KFUPM 1 KSU 3 KAU 5 KFU 18 UQU 19 KKU 22 ImamU 28 Alfaisal University 42 PSU 43 TABLE III. SAUDI UNIVERSITIES IN THE 100 UNDER 50. University KFUPM KAU C. QSWUR Table IV shows the global rankings of Saudi universities according to QSWUR over the last 5 years from 2010 to As can be seen from this table, 3 Saudi universities feature in the top 500 list of QSWUR in KFUPM, KSU, and KAU are ranked 225th, 249th, and 334th, respectively, by QSWUR in Note that, in 2013, KSU is tied with the University of Oulu in Finland and KAU is tied with Brunel University London in the United Kingdom (UK). The former two universities are ranked 253rd and the latter two universities are ranked 360th by QSWUR in 2013 [5]. TABLE IV. ACCORDING TO QSWUR. University KSU KFUPM KAU UQU KKU ImamU KFU years from 2009 to As can be seen from this table, KSU was the only Saudi university to feature in the top 500 list of ARWU in 2009 and was ranked between However, in 2014, we have 4 Saudi universities appearing in the top 500 list of ARWU. KSU and KAU are ranked between , whereas KFUPM and KAUST are ranked between by ARWU in 2014 [6]. TABLE VII. ACCORDING TO ARWU. University KSU KFUPM KAU KAUST E. WRWU Tables VIII X show the global rankings of Saudi universities according to WRWU over the last 5.5 years from July 2009 to July 2014 [7]. Note that KSU is the only Saudi university to regularly feature in all the 11 top 500 lists of WRWU from July 2009 to July TABLE VIII. ACCORDING TO WRWU (PART 1). Table V shows the Saudi universities in QS Top 50 Under 50 over the last 3 years from 2012 to 2014 [15]. QS Top 50 Under 50 is a ranking of the top 50 universities under 50 years old. TABLE V. SAUDI UNIVERSITIES IN QS TOP 50 UNDER 50. University KFUPM KAU Table VI shows the regional rankings of Saudi universities according to QSWUR published for the first time in As can be seen from this table, 3 Saudi universities namely KFUPM, KSU, and KAU are ranked 1st, 3rd, and 5th, respectively, in the Arab world. In total, 9 Saudi universities are ranked among 50 institutions across 12 countries in the Arab region by QSWUR in 2014 [16]. Note that Alfaisal University and Prince Sultan University (PSU) are private universities. University July 2009 Jan July 2010 Jan July 2011 KSU KFUPM KAU TABLE IX. ACCORDING TO WRWU (PART 2). University Jan July 2012 Jan July 2013 Jan KSU KFUPM KAU F. USNWR Rankings USNWR started publishing their global rankings of universities from Table XI shows the global rankings of Saudi universities according to USNWR rankings in Note that, in 2014, KSU is tied with Chiba University located in Japan, National Technical University of Athens located in Greece, Tilburg University located in Netherlands, and University of Saskatchewan located in Canada. All these 5 universities are ranked 473rd by USNWR ranking of world universities in 2014 [8]. D. ARWU Table VII shows the global rankings of Saudi universities according to ARWU or Shanghai ranking system over the last 6

5 TABLE X. ACCORDING TO WRWU (PART 3). University July 2014 KSU 244 KFUPM - KAU - TABLE XI. ACCORDING TO USNWR RANKINGS. University 2014 KSU 473 Table XII shows the regional rankings of Saudi universities according to USNWR rankings in As can be seen from this table, 3 Saudi universities namely KSU, KAU, and KAUST are ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, in the Arab world. In total, 13 Saudi universities are ranked among 91 institutions across 16 countries in the Arab region by USNWR rankings in 2014 [17]. The 2014 USNWR regional rankings of Saudi universities, which are not shown in Table XII are as follows: KKU is ranked 27th, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences is ranked 36th, TU is ranked 37th and is tied with the Lebanese University located in Lebanon, KFU is ranked 41st, Taibah University is ranked 48th, QU is ranked 63rd, UQU is ranked 65th, Jazan University is ranked 71st, and University of Dammam is ranked 79th. Fig. 5. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In TABLE XII. REGIONAL RANKINGS OF SAUDI UNIVERSITIES ACCORDING TO USNWR RANKINGS. University 2014 KSU 1 KAU 2 KAUST 3 KFUPM 8 Tables XIII XIV show the number of Saudi universities in the top 200 and top 500 lists of the world university ranking systems, respectively. In tables XIII XIV, N/A is not applicable. TABLE XIII. NUMBER OF SAUDI UNIVERSITIES IN THE TOP 200 LIST OF THE WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKING SYSTEMS. Fig. 6. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In WURS THE-QSWUR - N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A THEWUR N/A QSWUR N/A ARWU WRWU USNWR Rankings N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A - Figures 5 10 show the global rankings of Saudi universities over the last 6 years from 2009 to 2014, respectively, according to some of the most widely recognized international university ranking systems. In Figures 5 10, we have considered only those Saudi universities, which appear in the top 500 lists of the world university ranking systems discussed in this section. Furthermore, in Figures 5 10, we have considered the world university ranking lists published by WRWU in July of each year from 2009 to Figures show the number of Saudi universities in the top 200 and top 500 lists of the world university ranking systems discussed in this section, respectively. Fig. 7. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In 2011.

6 TABLE XIV. NUMBER OF SAUDI UNIVERSITIES IN THE TOP 500 LIST OF THE WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKING SYSTEMS. WURS THE-QSWUR 2 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A THEWUR N/A QSWUR N/A ARWU WRWU USNWR Rankings N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 Fig. 8. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In Fig. 11. Number Of Saudi Universities In The Top 200 List Of The World University Ranking Systems. Fig. 9. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In IV. CONCLUSIONS As a result of this study, the following conclusions can be drawn: There are totally 16, 59, and 2 ABET accredited programs in Saudi universities and colleges at the associate, bachelor s, and master s degree level, respectively. KFUPM is the only university in Saudi Arabia, which has ABET accredited programs at all 3 degree levels. Fig. 10. Global Rankings Of Saudi Universities In Fig. 12. Number Of Saudi Universities In The Top 500 List Of The World University Ranking Systems.

7 KFUPM has 4, 16, and 2 ABET accredited programs at the associate, bachelor s, and master s degree level, respectively. Universities and colleges in the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, except Saudi Arabia, still do not have ABET accredited programs such as Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Technology, Mining Engineering, Non Destructive Evaluation Technology, Nuclear Engineering, and Polymer Engineering Technology. These ABET accredited programs are unique to the universities and colleges in Saudi Arabia. KSU is the only Saudi university regularly featuring in the top 500 lists of ARWU and WRWU every year from 2009 to KSU, KFUPM, and KAU are the only 3 Saudi universities regularly featuring in the top 500 lists of QSWUR every year from 2010 to The highest global rankings ever achieved by Saudi universities over the last 6 years from 2009 to 2014 are as follows: KSU was ranked 247th by THE- QSWUR in 2009, KAU was ranked in the range by THEWUR in 2012, KSU was ranked 197th by QSWUR in 2012, KSU was ranked in the range by ARWU in 2013, KSU & KAU were both ranked in the range by ARWU in 2014, KSU was ranked 164th by WRWU in July 2010, and KSU was ranked 473rd by USNWR ranking of world universities in The highest global rankings achieved by Saudi universities in 2014 are as follows: KFUPM was ranked 225th by QSWUR, KSU & KAU were both ranked in the range by ARWU, and KSU was ranked 244th & 473rd by WRWU & USNWR ranking of world universities, respectively. In 2014, 2 Saudi universities feature in the top 200 list of ARWU. In 2014, 3 Saudi universities feature in the top 500 list of QSWUR, 4 Saudi universities feature in the top 500 list of ARWU, and 1 Saudi university each features in the top 500 lists of WRWU & USNWR ranking of world universities. [5] QSWUR, London, UK, [6] ARWU, Shanghai, China, [7] WRWU, Madrid, Spain, [8] USNWR, Washington, D.C., USA, [9] ABET, Baltimore, MD, USA, Oct [10] M. M. U. Faiz and M. S. Al-Mutairi, A Comparative Study of ABET Accredited Associate Degree Programs at Yanbu Industrial College, Jubail Industrial College, and Hafr Al-Batin Community College, to be submitted in Proc. of the 7 th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conf. (EDUCON), Abu Dhabi, UAE, pp. 1 8, Apr [11] M. M. U. Faiz, U. B. Mansoor, S. M. Asad, and K. Mahmood, Using Faculty Course Assessment Report for the Assessment of an Associate Degree Course in Engineering Technology Program, accepted in Proc. of the 6 th IEEE Int. Conf. on Engineering Education (ICEED), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pp. 1 6, Dec [12] M. M. U. Faiz and M. S. Al-Mutairi, Assessment of a Cooperative Training Course using Faculty Course Assessment Report in an ABET Accredited Engineering Technology Program, accepted in Proc. of the 45 th Annual Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conf., El Paso, Texas, USA, pp. 1 7, Oct [13] Ministry of Higher Education, The Current Status of Higher Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, KSA, pp , ISBN: [14] THEWUR, London, UK, [15] QSWUR, London, UK, [16] QSWUR, London, UK, [17] USNWR, Washington, D.C., USA, ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the University of Hafr Al Batin. REFERENCES [1] Ministry of Finance, Recent Economic Developments and Highlights of Fiscal Years 1435/1436 (2014) & 1436/1437 (2015), Riyadh, KSA, pp. 1 7, Dec [2] Ministry of Finance, Recent Economic Developments and Highlights of Fiscal Years 1434/1435 (2013) & 1435/1436 (2014), Riyadh, KSA, pp. 1 6, Dec [3] Ministry of Education, Riyadh, KSA, [4] THEWUR, London, UK, 2015.

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