The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), under the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, conducted its 12th Excellence Day conference with the theme “Professional Development: Investment for Times of Crises” on 4 and 5 January 2021.
The event, which this year was held virtually via the WebEx platform, brought together faculty members from across Qatar University (QU) to share their thoughts and perspectives as educators about the various surprising and, in many cases, unprecedented events that took place at QU during 2020. A major focus of the conference was on detailing and disseminating the various methods that the QU faculty developed and implemented to ensure that they could continue to provide high-quality educational experiences as QU shifted its entire curriculum online.
Dr. Omar Al Ansari, Vice President for Academic Affairs, opened the event and welcomed faculty members back for the spring semester. He thanked Dr. Husam Aldamen and the CETL team for organizing the event and highlighted the fact that, because of its talented and dedicated faculty, the entire university was able to pivot to online teaching in one week and continue to educate its roughly 20,000 students throughout the pandemic. Dr. Omar was clear to indicate that this success was a result of the cooperation and determination of the entire QU faculty community.
During his remarks, Dr. Omar also emphasized QU’s primary mission of promoting learning among its many students. In this context, he encouraged faculty members to think about “what will happen next” in education after the pandemic, and to plan for a “new normal” in teaching and learning that integrates both online and traditional teaching models to create “blended” modes of instruction in the post-pandemic era.
The event included an initial presentation entitled “Future of Education: The Pivotal Role of Professional Development” by Dr. Husam Aldamen, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and his colleague Dr. Chris Stryker. They highlighted the critical importance of proactive professional development for educators in the post-pandemic world and explained how the CETL is poised to revolutionize and enhance professional development at Qatar University with the introduction of its new Education Excellence Program (EEP) and the university-wide rollout of “Digital Badge” micro-credentials for faculty participating in CETL professional development offerings.
The event also included a presentation entitled “What COVID-19 has done to Professional Development of Teachers in Higher Education?” by Dr. Samer Gharib, an Education Developer at the University of Essex. Dr. Samer provided a comprehensive overview of the changing landscape of professional development in higher education and current trends that have emerged in response to COVID-19.
The day culminated with six teaching-and-learning focused seminars presented by innovative Qatar University educators. The CETL Excellence Day program continued for a second day and featured Arabic presentations exclusively. The 12th Excellence Day was attended live via videoconference by faculty members from across Qatar University and was also be posted to YouTube for educators the world over to view.



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