Re-thinking of Saudi universities have to be aligned with the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and the Saudi Vision 2030. Globalization and the advancement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are the most crucial drivers for change in higher education. Transformation will take place in every aspect of our universities, starting from admission criteria, setting learning outcomes/competencies that have to be aligned with future skills of graduates, curriculum design, teaching and learning, assessment, research, governance and administration. We need to address the 21st century skills, such as: critical thinking, problem-solving skills, innovation and entrepreneurship. ICT is already changing the landscape of the market. Some jobs may disappear, while others will emerge, particularly those related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Saudi university should be transformed to the ‘University 4.0’ model meet the needs of future learners.
Dr. Abdullah M. Al-Rubaish graduated from King Faisal University, College of Medicine, Dammam, in 1984 and completed his medical internship at KFHU, Al-Khobar. He entered the King Faisal University Fellowship Program in Internal Medicine at KFHU and obtained the KFU Fellowship in 1990. During his fellowship program, Dr Al-Rubaish became a Member of the Royal College of Physician of the United Kingdom. Following this, he obtained the Arab Board in 1991 and subsequently completed his sub-subspecialty in Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Alberta, Canada in 1994. Shortly after in 1995, he was appointed to Assistant Professor of Medicine at the College of Medicine and as a Consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine, at KFHU. Dr. Al-Rubaish was promoted in 2004 to the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine.
Dr. Al-Rubaish has held a number of positions at the College of Medicine and KFHU. In 1998, he was appointed as Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and in 2003 he became the Vice Dean for the College of Medicine. He was subsequently appointed to the position of Dean, College of Medicine and Dean, College of Dentistry in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and General Director of KFHU, a position he holds to this day.
Following these appointments, in 2007 he was appointed to the position of Vice President of King Faisal University in Dammam and President in 2010, a pivotal moment in the university’s history when the Dammam campus was established as an independent university following its split from King Faisal University. His presence and leadership made that transition a smooth process and ensured the current success we now enjoy.
Dr. Al-Rubaish’s numerous administrative positions reflect his competence, expertise and the high regard in which he is held. His skills and dedication were recognized early in his career as he advanced from being responsible from running a single department right through to the rank of Vice Dean, Dean, Vice President until ultimately the position of President of a prestigious university, a position he also holds today. On the regional level he is a member of trustees of Arab Gulf University.
Dr. Al-Rubaish’s distinguished career encompasses many significant achievements, a sample of which includes the expansion and renovation of KFHU, making it one of the most specialized hospital in the area due to the expertise of its dedicated staff, and also the construction of a new 600-bed hospital in the campus of Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University. These are a testament to his dedication in serving the local community and the communities of the surrounding areas.
And last but not least, since he assumed the positions of Vice President and President, the university has seen a significant expansion in both its infrastructure, manpower, and disciplines.