Al Falah University (AFU) College of Business Administration (COBA) is committed to community engagement and community service. The intention is to organize faculty and staff expertise, as well as the University’s facilities, equipment and learning resources to provide recurrent benefits to the community beyond the classroom, while regarding the community as a prime stakeholder in the continuous development of the University’s programs and services.
The goal of faculty and staff involvement in active community service is to generate support for the University from external stakeholders, by means of identifying specific needs that can be filled by faculty competences, whether these needs are articulated or not, and by encouraging faculty and staff members to meet these needs in ways that can generate recognition for the University. The intention is to create shared value in a strategic way that allows both the University and the community to benefit from this interaction.
It is important to differentiate between professional and community service. Professional service consists of faculty engagement with (a) his or her discipline, by means of serving as conference panel conveners or keynote speakers at professional association meetings, for example, or taking a leadership role in such an association (b) his or her College and University, by contributing effectively to committee work, as well as fulfilling administrative roles, when invited to do so.
In turn, community service consists of documented outreach, using faculty expertise, institutional facilities, equipment and learning resources to provide benefits to community groups beyond the classroom, while also enhancing the University’s reputation. The Commission for Academic Accreditation requires licensed UAE institutions of higher education to demonstrate their service to local community needs. Accordingly, faculty/staff community activities need to be included in annual evaluation criteria and professional development plans.
The College’s Community Engagement Committee will include the elaboration and implementation of AFU’s community engagement plan, as well as its continuing evaluation for the purposes of quality enhancement. The Committee will work in collaboration with faculty members, and will lead in establishing the initial Community Engagement Plan. The College Advisory Council may provide feedback regarding the co-curriculum and community engagement plan evaluation. This Committee will also help to ensure that all community activities are consistent with the mission of the University.
Encourage faculty research and conference, seminar and workshop presentations relating to community issues, given the available expertise in each College, whether from a local, regional or international perspective
The Committee Chair will explore additional opportunities for relevant faculty and staff to contribute their expertise to community partners in business, industry and the government. The community activity of program faculty will be included in their annual performance evaluations, as well as their professional development plans.
All of the University’s faculty and staff are kept informed of AFU’s community engagement agenda by emails, posters, text messages, and social media, and are provided with structured opportunities as desired to contribute to program initiatives, and to suggest new ideas.
For COBA, community engagement may be viewed as a win-win proposition, one that also enriches the experience of participating faculty and staff members, potentially also providing practical experience that can feed into research-led teaching.