Zayed University

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Zayed University
Zayed University (logo).png
Motto"Working together for your success"
Established1998; 21 years ago (1998)
PresidentNoura Al Kaabi
Vice-presidentReyadh Almehaideb

Zayed University (abbreviated ZU; Arabic: جامعة زايد‎) is a UAE university established in 1998. It is one of three government-sponsored higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates. Achieving accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the USA, it became the first federal university in the UAE to be internationally accredited.[1] It is named in honor of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country's first president.

ZU offers 17 majors and 10 minors at undergraduate level and 10 master's degree.[2] The University has eight colleges: College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, College of Business, College of Communication and Media Sciences, College of Education, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Natural and Health Sciences, College of Technological Innovation, and University College.[2]


Zayed University was established in 1998 by the Emirati federal government. Until 2008 the university was accepting only UAE national women, but after the opening of Sweihan campus, a collaboration between Zayed University and the UAE Armed Forces, approximately 200 male students were admitted.[3]

The university is currently engaged in cooperative relationships with a number of institutions throughout the world such as: Al-Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Scotland, Australian National University, School of Business Management and Organization of the Foundation Antonio Genovesi Salerno in Italy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain and Waseda University in Japan.[4]

In March 2019, Zayed University is ranked 22 out of 122 in the QS World University Arab Rankings.[5] However, in QS World Rankings it's ranked 701-750.[6]


In 2008, Zayed University announced that it received accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[7] Zayed University announced it had received re-accreditation in 2013.[8] The University is one of only 16 overseas institutions accredited by the MSCHE, and one of only 4 in the Middle East.[9]

Programs within its College of Technological Innovation obtained accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the summer of 2012.[10]

Programs within its College of Business obtained accreditation through the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) accreditation in June 2013.[11]

Through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation Continuous Improvement Commission (CAEP),[12] in 2013 the College of Education received accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Zayed University College of Education is the first university, outside of the USA, to be internationally accredited.

Programs within its College of Communication and Media Sciences obtained accreditation through the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) in May 2015.[13]

Programs within its College of Arts and Creative Enterprises were recognized as substantially equivalent through NASAD in July 2015. [14]

Outcomes-based academic program model[edit]

Zayed University has adopted an outcomes-based academic program model. The programs are outcomes-based and designed with reference to the Zayed University Learning Outcomes. These were designed by hired U.S. consultants as a means of developing the necessary outcomes to prepare students for the world.[15]

The major outcomes-based programs are housed the six academic outcomes-based colleges. Outcomes-based majors are based on Zayed University's learning outcomes; they are discipline specific, yet outcomes based![16]


The university's campus in Abu Dhabi moved to a new campus in Khalifa City in 2011.[17] Its Dubai campus moved to its current Al Ruwayyah location, near Academic City, in 2006.

The original campus was near the northern end of the Abu Dhabi peninsula, on Delma Street.[18] Plans for future campuses in other Emirates have been in development since the early 2000s. Land was allotted in the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah for the building of a new campus in 2001, but building was delayed due to a drop in interest in the venture.[19]

ZU Abu Dhabi Campus


Management concerns[edit]

In December 2010, the Federal National Council queried the competency of the university's senior management. According to The National, Zayed University was reported to owe over Dh33 million in unpaid water and electricity bills.[20]

According to The National, three people held the position of provost between April and June 2011, with a total of seven provosts between 1998 and 2011. This was confusing. [21]

In 2012, the effectiveness of its teacher education program was questioned. According to The National, none of the 110 teachers it produced between 2010 and 2012 were employed by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC); ADEC allegedly claimed the university produced lazy and poorly skilled graduates.[22]

In early 2013, the founding president of Zayed University, Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, was dismissed as the U.A.E.'s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He was surprisingly moved to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development. This was announced on Twitter by Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Nahyan was subsequently displaced as president of Zayed University. Most members of the university's senior administration were also dismissed in 2013, including vice president Sulaiman Al Jassim and provost Larry Wilson. Management was also shaken up within colleges and departments, such as the University Library.[23] Maitha Al Shamsi was then instated as president in 2013.[24] Al Shamsi was soon followed by Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi, who was appointed president in 2014.[25]

As well as existing concerns over academic integrity, transparency, and plagiarism at Zayed University, concerns have been raised about the weak academic credentials and lack of international experience among the new management.[26]

In 2013, then-president Maitha Al Shamsi announced Zayed University would be completely restructured. Though Al Shamsi did not explain what kind of restructuring she would implement, she said Zayed University would now be based on the U.A.E. government's Charter for National Values and Ethics and would undertake a total revision of all "academic programmes and management policies."[27]

Salary controversies[edit]

In August 2008, Emirati staff received a 28% pay award, whereas foreign faculty received a 5% pay award. The university would not comment on the case.[28]

In May 2010, a salary freeze was imposed at the university.[29]

In January 2011, The National reported that Zayed University staff would receive a 2% pay raise retroactive to August 2010.

Student concerns[edit]

On 16 September 2013, The National reported a torrent of complaints by students at Zayed University against policy changes introduced by the new president, Maitha Al Shamsi. These changes include sending SMS messages to parents when students arrive or leave campus, increasing faculty teaching loads, and preventing students from changing their class schedules.[30] Then-provost Abdalla Al Amiri angrily rebuffed the article the following day, explaining that the SMS system is optional, no faculty teach 15 credit hours per semester, and that student schedules can be changed in University College.[31]

On 18 September 2013, the Gulf News reported that Zayed University would be completely restructured.[32]

Lack of academic freedom[edit]

In 2012, an American journalism professor working in the College of Communication and Media Sciences was dismissed from the Abu Dhabi campus.[33] The professor, Matt J. Duffy, expressed concern that his activities-—which included writing for Gulf News, launching a student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and teaching objectively about the U.A.E.'s media laws—-may have led to his dismissal.[34] Duffy's dismissal breached policies on academic freedom laid out by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, which state, "To impose political considerations upon faculty selection and retention harms an institution intellectually and educationally, not only by reducing its options in the recruitment of talent, but also by creating pressures against dissent on important policy issues."[35] Despite claiming to follow Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its MSCHE Self-Study ("Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"), the university would not comment on the case in public.[36]

Materials deemed to be offensive are removed from the University Library, or are deposited in a locked holding space called Special Collections. Students must obtain faculty approval in order to access these materials, which include books on nursing, art magazines, human sexuality, and books containing views critical of religion.[37]


  1. ^ "Zayed University achieves international accreditation".
  2. ^ a b "Zayed University Catalog 2019" (PDF).
  3. ^ "History of Zayed University".
  4. ^ "Cooperation with Other Institutions".
  5. ^ "QS Arab Region University Rankings 2019", QS World University Rankings.
  6. ^ "Zayed University I Top Universities". QS World Rankings. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  7. ^ "U.S. accreditors expand their activities overseas". Inside Higher Education. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Zayed University achieves international accreditation". Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". Msche. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Search - ABET". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  11. ^ "AACSB List of Member Schools by Country". AACSB. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "ACEJMC Homepage". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Zayed University Learning Outcomes in Colloquy Program". Zayed University. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Zayed University Learning Outcomes in Zayed University Catalog" (PDF). Zayed University. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Teething problems at new Dh3.7bn Zayed University campus". The National. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Locations". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. ^ "RAK allots land to set up branch of Zayed University". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  20. ^ Kareem Shaheen (21 December 2010). "Debt worry over federal universities". The National.
  21. ^ "Zayed University provost back at helm amid confusion". The National. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  22. ^ Melanie Swan (18 April 2012). "Zayed University seeks dean to lead it into the future". The National.
  23. ^ Woody Evans. "Librarians Need Global Credentials". Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Longtime Emirati Education Minister Moves Aside". Al Fanar. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  25. ^ WAM 4 March 2014
  26. ^ "UAE higher education power shifts". Al-Fanar. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  27. ^ Shafaat Shahbandari (17 September 2013). "Major restructuring of ZU on cards". Gulf News.
  28. ^ Daniel Bardsley (18 August 2008). "Meagre pay rise angers academics". The National.
  29. ^ Pay Frozen and Job Losses Loom, The National, 13 May 2010
  30. ^ "Rule changes spark mixed reactions at Zayed University". The National. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  31. ^ "Zayed University's vision will remain 'firm and untouched'". The National. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  32. ^ "Major restructuring of ZU on cards". Gulf News. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  33. ^ "Two Years in Abu Dhabi: Adventures teaching journalism in the UAE during the Arab Spring". Arab Media & Society'. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  34. ^ "American Professor Suddenly Fired from Zayed University". Insider Higher Ed. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  35. ^ "Political Intervention in Education". MSCHE. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  36. ^ "Why was I fired from Zayed U.?". The Chronicle for Higher Education. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  37. ^ "ZU Library Infoasis". Retrieved 25 August 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°06′07″N 55°23′08″E / 25.102019°N 55.385599°E / 25.102019; 55.385599