Orientation Days held at GUtech

“I hope to achieve a high GPA. I want to develop myself,” said a student

HALBAN The Orientation Days for new students and academic staff were held on campus today morning. Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances welcomed a large number of Foundation Year students. Foundation Year students will study Academic English, Mathematics and IT throughout one year before they move on to one of the BSc or BEng programmes. “We want to educate you to the best possible. We will teach you but you will be responsible for your education,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech while adding that the next years will fly by, and the student will still remember this first day at the university. During the induction for students the International Office introduced their services. Aysha Farooq, a GUtech alumni who works at the International Office mentioned that the German language is very important for the students and will help them to persue their studies in Germany including at RWTH Aachen University. The Department of Student Affairs highlighted their services to the students, such as non-academic counselling, clubs and associations, career guidance, social events and accomodation services. In addition, the Department of Registration and Student Affairs introduced the student portal with all its services. “The secret in education lies in respecting the students,” said Fouzia Williams, English lecturer at GUtech during an academic introduction for new teaching staff, which was held on the side-lines of the student orientation days.

Wajd Al Mantheri is one of the new students, she will study International Business and Service Management (IBSM) at GUtech. Wajd went to high school in Kuala Lumpur, where she also studied Management and Business for one year. “At that time I felt that I like business, it is my major. I have selected GUtech because of the International Business programme. I hope to achieve a high GPA. I really want to develop myself, especially in communications. I wish to discover new things and develop tourism in Oman in future, for example cable cars in mountain areas,” she said.

A number of international students and graduates from RWTH Aachen University started their internships or studies at GUtech today morning. Among them is Mariana, an IAESTE exchange student from Mexico, where she has been studying Petroleum Engineering. Mariana will conduct a six months internship in the Department of Process Engineering at GUtech.

(c) Text and Photo: GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

The African Leadership Academy visited GUtech

HALBAN To learn more about higher education, a delegation of representatives from the African Leadership Academy (ALA) including one of its founding members, Chris Bradford, visited GUtech along with a Conservative Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber, Amjad Bashir, last week. The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell welcomed, the delegation and provided an overview of the history of the institution before they discussed potential for cooperation. ALA is a residential, secondary institution located in the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The academy is dedicated to high school students, between 16 to 19 years from South Africa and the rest of the world, with alumni from 45 countries.

Lecturers of GUtech Foundation Programme Train on Finnish Best Teaching Practices

During a four-day workshop, lecturers of GUbridge for the Foundation Programme at the German University of Technology (GUtech) were introduced to the best teaching and learning practices in the Finnish education system. The workshop was delivered by Finnish experts, Mr Antti Saukkonen & Mr Juho Alpua of the Finland-Oman School, from 17th to 20th September at GUtech campus.

The Finnish experts are members of the newly established Finland-Oman School (FOS). The new addition to the group of educational initiatives by Oman Educational Services, OES, the owner company of GUtech, GUbridge, FOS, and other affiliates.

The workshop introduced participants to the Finnish teaching and learning approaches to improve the pedagogy of the Foundation Programme and to furnish the lecturers with a toolkit of practices susceptible to promote active learning among students. “These approaches should entice students to take responsibility of their learning and thus equip them with 21st century skills, mainly cooperation, social interaction, self-assessment and peer-assessment.” Said Saukkonen. “Best practices in the education system of Finland are transferrable and are being successful in other contexts outside Finland” Continued Saukkonen. Most importantly, “The Finnish education system has a toolkit of methods that we apply in the classroom to entice students to learn efficiently and effectively and we are to help the Foundation Programme lecturers to adopt these practices” commented Alpua.

The collaboration between the team of FOS and GUbridge subscribes into the vision set by the management of OES. Speaking of opportunities for collaboration between FOS and GUtech, Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finance cum CEO of OES, shared: “The workshop serves our vision for bringing efficiency in teaching and learning which will benefit the Foundation Programme students at GUtech, while paving the path for a lifelong collaboration between the team of FOS and GUtech.”

“The one-year Foundation Programme is expected to bridge the knowledge gap students may have before landing onto the Bachelor programmes at GUtech. To achieve this, we want our students to acquire necessary study skills and improve their English language to a level equivalent to 6.0 in IELTS.” reasoned the General Manager of GUbridge, Ahmed Saud Al Salmi. Besides, “Leveraging the school resources brought in by our Finnish experts opens up avenues for cooperation between FOS and GUtech.” He added.

The workshop was an opportunity to engage GUbridge lecturers in active learning approaches as they had the opportunity to get hands-on experience designing and practicing teaching strategies inspired by the Finnish education system, with close guidance and instant feedback. The Finnish experts also got the opportunity to assess the areas that require further efforts for the sake of achieving efficiency and effectiveness in teaching and learning of the lecturers involved in the Foundation Programme.

“We want to equip our lecturers with the Finnish pedagogical approaches in a practical manner to help them adopt and apply them immediately in the classrooms. Educators from across the globe hail the achievement of the Finnish education system. So why we should not learn from our Finnish educators. They are here on campus and are enthusiastic to share their skills and knowledge with the Foundation Programme team” emphasized Ahmed Saud Al Salmi.

GUbridge, an institution under OES, is tasked with preparing students for GUtech’s Bachelor programmes through a one-year Foundation Programme.


“Team Work is like a Football Game”

HALBAN Improving collective efforts within a team can lead institutions to higher performances of their staff members and an overall better customer service. With a workshop on teamwork, the annual Professional Development Days (PDD) for all GUtech staff members continued on Tuesday. “Team work is not an individual activity. Successful teams fuel the accomplishment of strategic goals. When we work together we can achieve much more than individually. It’ s like a football game,” said Thomas Hellebrandt from the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) at RWTH Aachen University while adding that it is important to have a team leader, to coach or guide through the entire team work. “A chairman controls the team moves according to the team’s objectives and develops ways to work together.” Thomas Hellebrandt and his colleague Tobias Adam have been leading the two-day workshop for GUtech staff members.

Norms and guidelines should be established for the entire team building process. “Presenting problems in a way that promotes mutual discussions and a problem solving as well as trust in each other and being open-minded in other opinions are essential tools for successful working teams,” said Tobias Adam. In each team there are different roles that can change within the process, such as the information giver, the information seeker, the initiator, the opinion giver, the elaborator, the clarifier, the consensus seeker and the standard setter. Depending on the involvement and effectiveness of a team there are different concepts used such ‘the high performance team’, ‘the work group’, ‘the pseudo team’ or ‘the potential team’.

The major goals of different team building activities were getting to know each other, improving the communication flow, using synergies between team members and increasing the motivation. “With the accomplishment of a successful project, the joint team efforts should be celebrated,” said Tobias Adam. Today’s team-building workshop will be followed by a research management workshop for the academia to be held tomorrow at GUtech. A presentation on improving research performances was conducted by Elsevier yesterday. Elsevier is a global leader for science and business information analytics, based in the Netherlands. Elsevier publishes a large share of scientific articles worldwide with a high impact factor. Their so-called ‘Scopus’ database facilitates the search for authors of academic papers and their affiliations as well as finding the right journal for publishing the scientific research. The main aim of the week-long workshops is also to welcome new academic and administrative staff members at GUtech and to enhance the overall research and teaching environment at the university.

© GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

Professional Development Days held at GUtech

The annual Professional Development Days (PDD) were launched at GUtech yesterday. The main aim is to welcome new academic and administrative staff members at GUtech and to improve the overall research and teaching environment. The one-week programme includes presentations by the Rectorate on new activities and strategic approaches to research including research funding as well as an introduction to a new student information system, workshops on teamwork, research project management and intercultural communication. On Tuesday a presentation on improving research performances was given by Elsevier, a global leader for science and business information analytics, based in the Netherlands. Elsevier publishes a large share of articles worldwide with a high impact factor. Their Scopus database facilitates the search for authors, scientific papers and affiliations as well as finding the right journal for publishing scientific research. Several workshops of the PDD are held in cooperation with the Mechanical Engineering Department of GUtech’s partner-university in Germany, RWTH Aachen University.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

GUtech and Outward Bound Oman sign agreement

The German University of Technology (GUtech) and Outward Bound Oman (OBO) on Sunday signed an agreement at the GUtech campus to jointly run theoretical and practical courses that develop the personal and professional abilities of GUtech students.

The main focus of GUtech and OBO’s jointly developed courses is the development of key life skills such as responsibility, engagement in learning and work, creative thinking and problem solving, innovative thinking, leadership, planning, communication and teamwork — all skills that will prepare participants for employment, as well as equip them with vital project management skills.

GUtech staff will deliver the theoretical components of the courses, whilst the OBO team is responsible for organising the relevant field-based courses.

The collaborative agreement was signed by Prof Dr Michael Modigell, the Rector of GUtech and Mark Evans, General Manager of Outward Bound Oman. The ceremony was attended by Dr Ing. Najah Al Mhanna Dean of Engineering and Computer Science faculty and Ali Al-Humairi, Lecturer in the Computer Science Department and the programme Focal Point.

“GUtech strives to create opportunities for its students to gain practical experience through different tools and initiatives, and this agreement with Outward Bound Omanis among others that will offer our students the opportunity to apply theoretical skills in real-life circumstances,” said Prof. Dr Modigell.

Mark Evans of OBO, said, “GU Tech has a well-deserved reputation in Oman for quality, and we are delighted to be working with them. However, success in the workplace is as much about attitude, and behaviour, as it is about having good grades, and that is where our four days/three-night courses that focus on work ethics, and performance, add value to the outstanding work already being done here at the university.”

The agreement will permit GUtech students to benefit from jointly delivered courses, over a period of three years. The first course will begin in December 2018.

Set up in 2009, and established by Ministerial Decision in 2014, OBO is a non-profit organisation that operates under the Ministry of Social Development.

Tourism and the Digital Transformation Forum on 26 September

In celebration of the World Tourism Day 2018, the Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism in Oman will hold a forum on “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” on the 26th of September at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, between 6 – 8.30 pm, followed by dinner. “The event is sponsored by the Kempinski Hotel and Shell Oman to whom we are very grateful. The forum will present testimonials on how the tourism sector worldwide has been shaped by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A leading panel of international and national experts will be discussing their recent initiatives in heritage, hospitality, tourism development, marketing and quality assurance in an interactive and concise forum,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management at GUtech.

Technologies are emerging, disrupting and affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era in which digitalization builds and impacts societies in new and often unanticipated ways. It is worthwhile considering exactly what kind of shifts we are experiencing and how we can ensure, collectively and individually, that this revolution creates benefits for all. Tourism was one of the first sectors to digitalize business processes on a global scale, bringing flight and hotel booking online to become a digital pioneer. As information and communications technology (ICT) became a global phenomenon, tourism was a consistent early adopter of new technologies and platforms. Digitalization of the tourism sector influenced business and consumer alike and required a complete paradigm shift in the sector. Disintermediation meaning the gradual disappearance of the travel agencies and the move of the tourism sector into a business to consumer model. This might have led to loss of business on one hand, but has on the other created many others. Another interesting development is in the area of the power of the consumer, the wisdom of the crowd has now replaced quality assurance agencies, consumer is no longer interested in how many stars the hotel have but rather on the quantity and quality of reviews on tripadvisor.

This year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) will help to put the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.

“Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in his message for the World Tourism Day 2018.

The programme of International Business and Service Management (IBSM) is one of GUtech’s fastest growing programme of studies. The programme of study focuses on the tourism sector from an international and national perspective. More information on the forum can be found on the GUtech website.

(c) GUtech/ Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management

Parlamentarian of the German Bundestag visited GUtech

HALBAN A member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), MP, Mr Roderich Kiesewetter from the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) visited the German University of Technology (GUtech) last week. The delegation who was on a two day visit to the Sultanate was accompanied by H.E. Thomas Schneider, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Oman.

Mr Kiesewetter is a representative of foreign affairs for the CDU/CSU-Caucus. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2009. In the Bundestag he serves as member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and substitute member of the Defence Committee. Mr Kiesewetter is a former General Staff Officer of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces). Since November 2014 he is chairman of the CDU’s federal specialised committee on foreign, security, development and human rights policy.

The Rectorate of GUtech welcomed the guests at the university. Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell introduced Mr Kiesewetter to the development of the university in the past eleven years, since its establishment. Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism & Service Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, spoke about her department and the importance of tourism development according to the government’s vision to promote sustainable tourism. Prof. Heba Aziz also stressed on GUtech’s close cooperation with different German Universities of Applied Sciences in Stralsund and in Munich. Currently, around 60 % of the Non-GCC incoming tourists are German-speaking tourists. Oman will be the partner-country of the International Tourism Fair ITB 2020, which is held annually in Berlin (Germany).

In addition, the parliamentarian and his accompanying delegation visited the GUtech EcoHaus. Mr Kiesewetter was briefed by Prof. Dr. Hind Barghash, Head of Environmental Engineering at GUtech and four female graduates of Environmental Engineering about the energy efficiency of the building. The students recently completed their BEng thesis on renewable energies. Mr Kiesewetter showed a strong interest in the student’s research and he asked them about possibilities for internships and start-ups in Environmental Engineering.

(c) Text and Photo: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet


The New Academic Year will start on 30 September

HALBAN The new academic winter semester 2018/19 will start on Sunday, 30th September at the GUtech. Over 2,000 students will start their next semester, including a large number of Omani and international students, who are expected to begin their studies in the GUtech Bachelor Programmes and in the Pre-University Programme, GUbridge. The Orientation Days for new students of the Pre-University programme and the Bachelor programmes will be held on Thursday, 27 September.

“I remember my own academic career. The start of the university studies is closely linked to a new chapter in life. We are looking forward to welcoming a new batch of students as well as new academic staff members and interns that will join us from all over the world. GUtech fosters intercultural exchange. We believe we can all learn and grow from each other’s cultures and perspectives. We expect all students to work hard. We wish to push them out of their everyday comfort zone to increase their knowledge. In terms of social life, the university offers many activities from sports to theatre and media clubs,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector at GUtech.

Prior to the Orientation Days for students, the annual Professional Development Days (PD days) for administrative and academic staff members and for interns will be held. The PD days are conducted in order enhance the professional knowledge and soft skills. Regarding the infrastructure, the university has been growing continuously throughout the past ten years. “This year we will inaugurate a new building with lecture halls and architecture studios as well as an accommodation building for approximately 450 students,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell.

GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University (Germany), one of the leading universities of Technology in Oman. The university offers various full-time BSc and BEng programmes in Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering as well as in Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Logistics, International Business and Service Management and Computer Sciences. All programmes are taught in English. The university will launch Master programmes in the summer semester.