posted on June 6: University of Sharjah graduates first class with McMaster’s help


Today is an historic occasion for the University of Sharjah as it holds its first graduation ceremonies, due in part to the teaching and guidance provided by McMaster University faculty and staff.

The university is the culmination of a vision of His Highness Shaikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah to have a university to serve not only the United Arab Emirates, but also other Arabs and expatriates in Dubai and the northern Emirates.

His Highness sought advice from the American University in Beirut and established links with prestigious international universities to ensure that the academic programs met international standards.

The international reputation of McMaster led the University to Hamilton. Under the leadership of Andrea Baumann, associate health sciences dean (nursing) and director of the Faculty of Health Sciences International, McMaster's School of Nursing has undertaken a groundbreaking initiative of providing the direction and assistance in the development of the College of Health Sciences.

Currently, the College of Health Sciences has five departments: Medical Diagnostic Imaging (MDI), Nursing, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Technology, and Health Services Administration. The collaboration has resulted in a number of McMaster faculty members being based full time at the University of Sharjah, including Ernie Edmonds, chair of the Department of MDI, Elizabeth Rideout, chair of Nursing, and Helene Larin,chair of Physiotherapy. John Vickers, a professor in pathology, has been instrumental in establishing the McMaster approach to health sciences education. Donna Sergeant has brought her extensive experience from Pakistan to the development of the nursing program.

In addition, a number of faculty members have been providing short-term consultation such as professor Helen Thomas who provided a community health workshop. There is a liaison office in McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences that provides support and information. The office supports the links between the two universities in areas such as distance education and leadership and management.

The College of Health Sciences is working with the hospitals and other health service facilities in Sharjah to provide first quality clinical education. The health services have not had experience in providing clinical education for university health sciences programs. Lessons learned from the strong links between McMaster University and the hospitals and community agencies in Hamilton have been invaluable to the work in Sharjah.