Of the University of Mosul’s twenty-four colleges, the College of Engineering stands out through its educational programmes and students’ and researchers’ practical activities, as an academic arm that supplies Iraq with expertise that promotes its efforts toward sustainability and reconstruction.
The college’s students have just held one project exhibition for the community called “Aspirations to Contribute to the Urban Renaissance of Mosul”. It coincided with the inauguration of a new building for the Department of Architecture at the college.
Mena Alsawaf, a lecturer of dams and water resources engineering, told Al-Fanar Media that many of the college’s graduates work with organisations that are involved in rebuilding the city.
Reconstruction projects in the country are practically the only job market for graduates amid the lack of employment in the public sector, she said. “College students are preparing plans to renew and redesign the damaged areas. This includes a plan for the University of Mosul, and some areas in the Old City of Mosul.”
Preparing Students for the Labour Market
The University of Mosul’s College of Engineering is keen to communicate with its graduates, says Omar Muwaffaq, the college’s dean. It invites alumni who are successfully self-employed to discuss their practical experiences with students and faculty members.
To make sure its students qualify for employment, the College of Engineering puts the needs of the labour market at the heart of its teaching.
Alsawaf said that the college’s curricula are constantly updated to keep pace with developments in the labour market and link them to the issues of sustainability, energy conservation, and recycling.
She believes the return of many students who were on scholarships in different countries has enriched the college’s curricula, adding “everything related to development and keeping pace with labour market needs.”
Alsawaf said the College of Engineering was the only faculty at the University of Mosul that had adopted the course system instead of the academic year system. This required adding many elective subjects to suit the labour market and international development to enable students to choose subjects that best meet their practical ambitions.
As the summer break approaches, Alsawaf, who is also the head of the college’s Information Department, said the students’ summer training was organised to suit the labour market and to give the students who participate the right experience. Teaching staff offer several free training courses throughout the academic year to try to bridge the gap between academia and the labour market’s requirements, she added.
The college has many proposals to help the environment, reduce water and energy waste, and create new forests, Alsawaf said. It cooperates with various Iraqi government departments and institutions on these initiatives.
College members also provide financial assistance to poor families and donate blood to patients.
Encouraging Words from Graduates
Omar Muwaffaq, the dean of the College of Engineering, said the college was keen to communicate with its graduates. It invites those who are successfully self-employed to return and discuss their practical experience with students and faculty members in seminars and workshops, to encourage students to achieve and to think about options other than working in the public sector.
The college has many proposals to help the environment, reduce water and energy waste, and create new forests, says Mena Ahmed Al-Sawaf, a lecturer of dams and water resources engineering. It cooperates with various Iraqi government departments and institutions on these initiatives.
To boost the college’s cooperation with higher-education institutions abroad, Muwaffaq said many regional and foreign academics were invited to give lectures at courses or workshops, most of them online. The courses included training on software, practical applications on modern equipment, and cooperating with European universities so Mosul College of Engineering faculty members could be invited to their universities, and so its graduate students could have joint academic supervision between foreign and Iraqi academics.
Muwaffaq said there was also scientific cooperation with international organisations and United Nations’ programmes, including the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, also known as UN Habitat.
Serving the People of Mosul
Ahmed Ibrahim, the college’s registrar and an assistant lecturer in the civil engineering department, said the college had eight departments linked to research centres such as the Remote Sensing Research Centre, the Environmental Research Centre, and the Dams and Water Resources Research Centre.
Members of these university research centres teach in the college’s departments and participate in seminars and workshops. Many of the college’s graduates and scholars are now working as academics in universities around the world, he added.
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Ibrahim said that the University of Mosul, now led by President Kossay Al-Ahmadi, had been working since it was founded in 1967 to the principle that its scientific and humanitarian faculties should be serving the people of Mosul.
He said the university’s colleges had “a constant mission to keep up with global development in higher education, and provide the best services to its students, researchers, and the local community.”