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30 November, 2011

PFDP National Roundtable on Higher Education The 3rd roundtable Bethlehem University Delegate Report

PDFP roundtableHeld on November 18th and 19th, the third in a series of National Roundtables on Higher Education in Palestine organized by the Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP) was an enriching event. Over 85 delegates from Palestinian universities and colleges attended and participated in the two day seminar, which brought together Palestinian and international educators, administrators and consultants.  Bethlehem University was presented by seven staff and faculty members: Mr. Youil Anastas, Dr. Walid Shomaly, Mss Amal Abu Nijmah, Ms. Mai Khamis, Ms. Nadira Araj, Mr. Nader Abu Sa’ad, and Ms. Sawsan Shomali.

PDFP roundtableThe theme of the session was “Strategic Planning in Higher Education” and introduced participants to the history and basic elements of strategic planning in higher education and to the importance of the planning process to manage challenging economic realities, and for quality assurance and public accountability.  Presenters shared with the audience the principles, processes and best practices of strategic planning in Palestinian universities as well as in selected international universities.

Chief of Party Dr. John Shumaker, welcomed the participants while Dr. Sophia Howlett discussed strategic planning within its historical context; focusing on strategic planning as an art form, the need for top down/bottom up engagements, the importance of alignments, the problems of outcomes based on quality assurance and the implementation gap and stated that “...what happens when what we say we will do, does not happen.” Dr. Fahoum Shalabi the Assistant Deputy Minister for Higher Education at the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education described the model that was used in developing higher education midterm strategy in Palestine. He talked about the various steps: assessment, surveying, reviewing the vision and mission, determining the goals and policies related to each goal and an action plan with clear implementation processes. Dr. Suhail Sultan and Dr. Mahmoood El Saheb shared the experience of Palestine Polytechnic University, describing the history, background and methodology used, the critical question of results and how the University is tracking its progress towards meeting strategic goals.

The next session focused on “Strategic Planning and Key Performance Indicators University Scorecards."  The concluding session included hands-on group work, which was was meant to allow participants to work on designing ‘KPI’s’: what to measure, how to measure, and how to report progress to the public in different areas.  Bethlehem University participants with other faculty members from Al-Quds University and Palestine Polytechnic University addressed the area of research in depth. The presentation was praised by the organizers.

To conclude, Bethlehem University was the first Palestinian University to work and implement its first strategic plan in 2003.  With the ample changes taking place now, University faculty members are interested in launching a second strategic plan.

This coming weekend, the Palestinian Faculty Development Program will host its Fourth Roundtable Seminar/Workshop on Higher Education in Palestine. Bethlehem University will have 6-8 faculty members participating in the program. The theme of this Roundtable is "Quality Assurance in Distance Education."
One of the main presenters is Dr. A. Frank Mayadas.

Dr. Mayadas is the founder of Sloan Consortium which has played a major role in supporting the development of e-learning and blended learning programs in the USA and around the world.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine