Dr. Fayq Al Akayleh Promoted to Associate Professor

COBA faculty member, Dr. Fayeq Al Akayleh recently celebrated his promotion in academic rank from assistant to associate professorship. Based on numerous research projects and papers that have been published in internationally peer-reviewed and reputed specialized journals, Al Akayleh deservingly earned his promotion. The research works focused on the areas of international economics, econometrics, growth and economic development, international trade, and labor migration.

In the Advances in Economics and Business Journal (November 2016), Al Akayleh published a paper entitled, “Do Foreign Workers’ Positive Contributions to GDP Outweigh the Negative Effect of their Outward Remittances on GDP? A Case Study of Saudi Arabia.” The paper examined the effects of foreign workers’ outward remittances on the economic activity of a country that hosts foreign labor by developing a new econometric technique to measure the effect of workers’ outward remittances on gross domestic product of the world’s largest oil producer, namely Saudi Arabia. Results indicated that outward remittances had negative and significant effects on all types of aggregate demand. The total effect of outward remittances on GDP was, then, negative. The study findings proved that the net effect of non-Saudi workers on GDP was positive for the Saudi GDP.

In December 2017, Al Akayleh published a second paper entitled “Accession to World Trade Organization and Its Implications for Trade Diversification and Economic Activity: Evidence from Saudi Arabia” in the International Journal of Economics and Financial Research. This research work proved that trade patterns in Saudi Arabia have changed in some areas and remained unchanged in others because of accession to the WTO. The study proved that Saudi Arabia’s accession to the WTO resulted in a remarkable increase in trade share and that accession to the WTO had a positive and significant effect on economic activity.

Dr. Fayeq continues to serve as a full-time faculty member as YU teaching undergraduate students at COBA and postgraduate students in the MBA and EMBA programs.

Harvard-Sponsored Research Project Makes Progress

The Harvard Kennedy School coordinated research project entitled, “A Pilot Study on Occupational Choices by Saudi Youth”, which is undertaken by Al Yamamah University in cooperation with King Saud University, is making progress towards its end goals and objectives.

The project, which was launched in July 2017 for one year, focuses on the evaluation of Saudi individual choice patterns for alternative labor and employment scenarios (policies) that could make a direct and practical contribution towards the Nitaqat program, which has proven inefficient in the sense that the gap between labor demand and supply still persists irrespectively.

The proposed program of research would complement the system of quotas and occupational bans in place through the introduction of monetary and non-monetary incentives. From a more theoretical perspective, the proposed research program could complement Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” policy document by contributing towards the ‘Thriving Economy’ theme of the vision statement. Offering a toolkit of demand driven policy initiatives and practices could allow the Kingdom to correct imbalances in the labor market, thus reducing unemployment and improve the national economy’s competitiveness standings.

Dr. Yaseen Ghulam, dean of postgraduate studies and scientific research at YU, said, “the research project focuses on the rapid transformation of the national economy which seems to impact disproportionately the more dynamic segment of the Saudi working population. This is a problem that needs to be tackled for two main reasons. On the one hand, those in their early years in the labor market find it particularly difficult to adapt to changing labor conditions. On the other hand, slow adaptation to changing employment and labor conditions may affect the competitiveness of the Saudi economy.”

The outcomes of this study will contribute greatly to the fulfillment of Vision 2030 with regards to Saudi labor market adjustments by identifying the determinants of individuals’ occupational choices which could offer an evidence-based perspective to Saudi policy makers and managers. “This project is a pilot study and upon completion of the project,” according to Dr. Ghulam, “a larger and more significant project is likely to be approved leading to a significant increase in YU research contribution, community service and position within a relatively short period of time.”

The research team consist of Dr. Yaseen Ghulam, dean of postgraduate studies and scientific research at YU, Dr. Fahad Saleh Alolayan, vice dean for business development, King Abdullah Institute for Research & Consulting Studies, KSU, Dr. Saleh M. Alodayni, assistant professor of economics, College of Business Administration, KSU, Prof. Shabbar Jaffry, UK and Dr. Alexandros Apostolakis, Greece.


The Skills Record: A New Tool to Boost Students Engagement

The Deanship of Admission, Registration and Student Affairs launched a new solution to enhance, document and reward students’ engagement in extra-curricular activities.

The students’ “Skills Record” is an official document issued by the Student Activities Unit in the deanship and lists all the training workshops that the student took during his academic life at university. According to Dr. Soliman Alkharboush, dean of student’s affairs, this record “will maximize the students’ opportunities of finding employment after graduation by officially documenting their acquired skills and capabilities in non-academic domains, thus boosting their employability competitiveness.”

Students can easily obtain the Skills Record, in English and Arabic, through Edugate, the university’s online platform. Under the “Skills Record” icon, they can register any training courses or workshops they attended after accepting the terms and conditions of the registration form.

The Skills Record uses a points system which rewards the students for attending and/or organizing training workshops, public lectures or conferences. In this system, 5 points are given for attending, while organizing is rewarded with 10 points, which is a clear indication of the university’s keenness on motivating students to take a more active and creative role in extra-curricular activities.

“Active students with the highest aggregate points receive a special honor certificate from the university president as well as gifts of appreciation at the end of the academic year,” according to Alkharboush.


Graduation Ceremony in March

Under the patronage of HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Riyadh Region, the university organizes the graduation ceremony of the 10th bachelor’s degree cohort and 6th master’s cohort in the evening of Sunday 25 March 2018 at Sheikh Mohammed bin Ibrahim Alkhudair Hall on campus.

The ceremony will be accompanied by the Career Days, the annual 3-days employment event which brings a group of elite companies in Riyadh to help YU and local university graduates find employment opportunities that fulfill their professional aspirations. The event will include a series of carefully-chosen workshops on employment and job-searching and preparation skills. The workshops will be open to the university students and the public.

INTERLINK at YU Holds Annual PD Workshop

As the fall semester came to closure, INTERLINK at YU held its annual Professional Development Workshop for its faculty to share knowledge, know-how and classroom experience and to help move forward with clear thoughts and plans for the spring semester.

The workshop, which was held on 8th January, was opened by General Director, Dr. Nebila Deib, who thanked the faculty for their successful efforts during the fall semester in relation to all teaching and administrative issues. Supported by the assistant directors, Mr. Bu Madyan Kahtan and Ms. Helen Honczarenko, Dr. Deib went on to review most important academic and administrative issues of the fall semester and the best ways to advance performance, enhance the students’ learning opportunities and improve the program in various aspects.

INTERLINK at YU faculty then moved to the core of the workshop where they listened to four engaging presentations prepared and delivered by their colleagues, Mr. Georgios Kormpas, Ms. Layla AlKhatib, Ms. Randa Sibahi and Ms. LaNesha Hammett.

Starting the session, Mr. Georgios Kormpas’ s presentation dealt with the controversy of the using technology in the classroom: whether it was a disruptive agent, or a learning facilitator. He highlighted that many teachers tended to adopt new technologies that were introduced to them based on certain books or part of a conference or workshop, and how these technologies work sometimes, and some others tend to be a burden and add extra time to the teacher’s busy schedule. Kormpas went through the theoretical background of both disruptive technology, as well as, disruptive innovation and their practical implementation and use in today’s classroom, highlighting the importance of moderate use of technology in the classroom side by side with conventional means of teaching.

From technology in the classroom, the workshop proceeded to a presentation about benchmarks by Ms. Layla AlKhatib. The presentation focused on contextualizing grammar, vocabulary, and lesson contents with the projects and benchmarks inside the sessions and into the students’ course portfolios. AlKhatib’s presentation helped decipher the benchmarks with practical examples and backing it with literature and statistics.

The third presentation highlighted the importance of reflective practice in teaching and learning as a standard practice. In this presentation, Ms. Randa Sibahi explained the meaning of reflective practice as taking an active role in learning and recognizing one’s personal responsibility for one’s own lifelong learning. Her presentation focused on exploring the perceptions of EFL teachers on reflective teaching as a tool for teacher development and its challenges in the higher education sector in Saudi Arabia. Sibahi recommended that professional development of staff should provide in-service teachers with professional training about reflective practice and work with college administrators to produce a culture of inquiry in their teacher-learners, to meet the increasing interest in the role of reflection in professional development, especially amongst teacher educators in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The last presentation was about core projects and was given by Ms. LaNesha Hammett who focused on the ORN 4C Group Core Project, Media Analysis. As project-based education is the foundation upon which the English language courses at INTERNLINK at YU are structured, and as the teaching and learning that unfold in the classroom are centered around a core project that is scaffolded over an eight-week term, Hammett explored the approaches and methods that she developed in teaching that course, which facilitate student learning, particularly how to create a “driving question,” which helps make the project relevant for the students, as well as other best practices, interactive activities, and a variety of important “takeaways.”