Qatar University President Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad during her presentation at the forum.
DOHA: The three-day forum for the Middle East and North Africa Association for Institutional Research (MENA AIR) has brought together international experts to discuss best practice in data gathering and institutional research, specifically in higher education.
Qatar University (QU) hosted delegates from across the Middle East, North Africa and USA during the fourth edition of the annual conference, which concluded on Friday.
Institutional research (IR) enables organisations to collect data in a targeted way, analyse it and implement changes which will benefit the organisation as a whole in terms of its efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction of staff and its overall reputation. QU has used IR to make improvements across the university and it plays a crucial part in the university’s application for international accreditation.
Under the theme of “Innovations in institutional research: promoting institutional effectiveness in the MENA region”, the conference featured plenary sessions, workshops and panel discussions on areas including strategic planning, accreditation, sharing best practice, online evaluation of teaching and learning and quality assurance.
QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad described how an increased demand for higher education in the region has led to a need for more detailed understanding of universities, their constituents’ needs and areas for improvement.
She told delegates that the point of effectively gathering data is to give a better understanding of an organisation’s circumstances and to allow them to act on the findings in order to make targeted improvements.
“The critical component of institutional research is the need to link data to action. In other words, institutional data should be used to make better management decisions at all academic and administrative levels, and then to evaluate interventions and changes that have been implemented. Such type of data-driven actions leads to a more focused, more responsive, and more efficient institution as well as to an environment that is more satisfying to faculty, students and staff,” she said.
Outgoing MENA AIR President Rasha Radwan said: “This forum gives us a good opportunity to get together as IR professionals, assessment and planning experts to learn from each other and share our experiences, hopes, best practices and solutions.”
The conference was organised by Qatar University’s Office for Planning and Development (OIPD).
OIPD Director Dr Jamir Chowdhury takes over the role of MENA AIR President for the academic year 2012-13.