Narimane Hadj-Hamou says the most rewarding thing in her career was founding a center dedicated to training academics in advanced teaching methods.
Hadj-Hamou, an Algerian-American academic, set up the Center for Learning Innovations and Customized Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) in 2012 to focus on developing educational policies for universities. The center has offices in Dubai and the United Kingdom.
“Training academics helps higher education institutions develop an internal quality culture, and promote student-centered, technology-enabled and results-based teaching and learning strategies,” she wrote in an email.
Hailed by Forbes Middle East in 2014 as one of the 200 most powerful Arab women, Hadj-Hamou has over the past decade met with thousands of Arab academics to discuss how modern universities can help build a knowledge-based economy and thus help build better societies.
Founding and leading CLICKS “was probably the most rewarding thing in my career,” she said, “because it gave me the opportunity to learn about different educational systems and then try to better understand local requirements and develop policies and solutions that truly fit educational needs.”
In her education journey, Hadj-Hamou moved between the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Algeria, gaining a special vision of the nature of the role that higher education institutions must play. She believes that a contemporary university should transcend its traditional roles, in teaching and research alike, to develop and have a greater impact on local communities.
“I think that the main obstacle to the development of Arab universities’ working strategy lies in the need for more autonomy at the system level, to be more responsive to the changing world and interact with the latest educational systems,” she said.