Founded in 1870, De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester has grown as a global university, which aims at international expansion and Dubai was chosen as the right city to start with.
DMU Dubai will welcome students from all backgrounds in September 2021 and is ambitious to offer the perfect educational experience to its students, involving award-winning teaching, excellent facilities and an unforgettable student experience.
In an attempt to know more on the opening of DMU Dubai, Al Khaleej has conducted an interview with Mr Simon Bradbury, the Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Dean of Arts, Design and Humanities at DMU.
We have started our conversation with:
What were the main motives behind inaugurating DMU Dubai campus?
“Coming to Dubai is a big step for DMU and an important movement for our university’s vision and mission, which is fundamentally becoming a global educational institution that recognizes the value and transformative nature of international education experiences that is even more important than ever.
We believe that all DMU students should have an access to international opportunities to enrich their educational experience and broaden their horizons. We have already an international presence through our campus in Leicester and we have students from 133 countries, besides a number of international partnerships and different exhibitions”.
How is DMU in Dubai going to support or complement DMU’s mission and vision in Leicester?
“As a global leading business hub, Dubai is a huge opportunity for us in terms of its key growth industries. It offers a bridge to connect the East and the West to offer unrivalled access to most unique, invaluable international opportunities at different levels.
Therefore, having a branch in Dubai, particularly, is considered an ambitious, strategic step that we are sure will be a turning point to DMU’s international presence.
DMU’s participation in Expo 2020 will also play a key role in achieving its vision and fulfilling its mission. We are glad to be one of the only official founding partners of the UK pavilion in Expo 2020.
Our commitment to serve the region comes along with the opportunity to take a step forward in our strategy”.
How is Dubai campus going to serve sustainability pursuits of DMU?
“DMU is committed to shaping and promoting a sustainable world by deploying research excellence, critical, strategic thinking and well-built plans. We also have a well-established research strategy that is central to DMU’s mission.
“We have an excellent research record as we are committed to serve the public good, by investigating what impacts society, solve issues and make an actual change in people’s lives and behavior through originating solutions in various life aspects.
“DMU commitment to conduct sophisticated research aims to develop critical thinking skills among its students.
In a world full of multidimensional challenges, our cutting-edge research projects and teaching techniques in sustainability is helping to change the world.
DMU is the only higher education institution in the UK to be listed as a global hub for one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 16) to promote peace, justice and strong institutions.
Making a positive change to the world has earned DMU a prestigious place among the top 50 universities in the world for sustainability based on the university ranking.
We are capitalizing on research expertise, educational links, and key assets, the opportunities we will find in Dubai and the region will be complementary to our vision and mission in Leicester. In Dubai campus, we have English language programs and international year zero that are also aligned with the SDGs not only the obvious areas like renewable energy, water energy, etc. Therefore, we will be able to serve sustainability from our campus in Dubai as we must do and we will”.
How do you think DMU in Dubai will benefit from Expo 2020? what are the opportunities in this regard?
“As we are the head-on sponsor for the UK pavilion, if you go out to Expo to the UK pavilion, you will see a story about the history of DMU and its ambitious future.
“We are very proud to be part of this great event. As we start operating in Dubai, there will be takeover moments that will operated throughout the year aligned to different priorities in the UK and the UAE, in each of those we will have a presence and two types of engagement, which will range from leading experts, academic staff, and students.
“There will be an opportunity for our students from the UK to engage and participate in workshops in Expo and get unique international opportunities. We will have many DMU academics, researchers and experts conducting panel talks in Expo tackling essential issues in relation to the region.
Participating in Expo is also about engaging with other industries and organizations in Dubai, bringing them to the pavilion and building good relationships with them and this will be a really great foundation to start with in Dubai.
“The opening of DMU Dubai at this time, in particular, alongside with expo is part of our strategy and engagement in Expo is our first step in our investment in Dubai. Expo will be running just as we are opening the campus in Dubai and we will make sure that we maximize this benefit to get the most out of it”.
Do you have any unique initiatives planned for DMU Dubai?
“In addition to our participation in Expo, we will have plenty of other events in relation to Engineering, Cyber security, etc.
“We are also very ambitious and excited to launch our strategy Education 2030, which will be all about re-framing our academic offer and making constant improvements to our curriculum, thus, bringing more opportunities for students along with the recognizable rapid technological change.
“This strategy aims at serving students who want to fit learning into their increasingly complex lives. Basically, the essence of this strategy is about developing a framework that is student-cantered, robust, and future-proofed to best support both teaching and learning, plus ensuring the delivery of a high-quality educational experience.
Besides, our formal launch of the campus in Dubai will also be in December 2021, so this would be another important event.”
How do you plan to ensure that DMU Dubai will be no dilution of DMU Leicester academic standards?
“DMU Dubai will be ensured to operate at the same level of quality as Leicester’s campus. We are planning to exactly align our academic delivery and calendar in Dubai to what is happening in Leicester, even the same curriculum will be taught at the same timing, which is very beneficial and effective to enable conversations and collaborations among students in the two campuses.
“Also, the staff of DMU will be leading the delivery of courses in Dubai and will ensure that students in Dubai campus will get the exact same educational experience as DMU students in Leicester.
“This experience is embedded in all different aspects of the educational journey, in which the conversations between Dubai and Leicester campus will give us a chance to constantly improve the academic experience in Dubai in alignment with Leicester’s.”
A drastic change is obviously seen in the world of education in the last 18 months. Branch campuses are taking an increasingly essential role to play as we think of higher education overseas, especially to those students who may prefer or choose to study closer to where they live.
Beside sustainability, you can get a UK higher education without having to travel abroad and leave home. Mobility is also another important element, in which at some point of a student’s academic journey, he/she can move and continue their studies in DMU Leicester.
“This is a really interesting opportunity for students as well. As we look into the future, branch campuses are getting more important with more advantages, especially if it is located in Dubai that is considered a well-known global hub at different levels, including education”.
How is Dubai campus going to operate within the current situation of COVID?
“As all academic institutions made adjustments to adapt to the COVID situation. Here in Dubai, we are following all the current regulations to support students, make them feel safe and still be able to access all the educational resources to acquire all the qualifications they need.
“Even if things get difficult, we are prepared to support students in other ways and we have lots of experience around developing online learning when it is necessary. What I find is quite interesting over that period is because we started looking creatively on how students can study online, it creates more opportunities for collaborations among students between Dubai and the UK, give students to go through such diverse experiences.”
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