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Accreditation News, September 09

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth on being an external - in Saudi Arabia

Geoscientist 19.9 September 2009

Gaskarth (left) and John Powell pore over course provision detailsFollowing the Accreditation, in 2008, of the six degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Earth Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the GSL accrediting panel of John Powell, Bill Gaskarth (pictured) and Peter Styles were invited to be the first External Examiners for these degrees. They visited the University from June 27 to July 6, looked at the students’ work and continued discussions with Earth Sciences Faculty on curriculum development, teaching and examining. There is no doubt that the University supports the Faculty, which is itself responding well to the changes required by Accreditation.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to the KAU Field camp at Ablah in the SW of the Kingdom above the Red Sea Escarpment (pictures). Around 100 students stay there for around four weeks, living in tents and undergoing field training. The facilities and organisation are very impressive and we were able to get an impression of the training and the opportunities for project work here. The geology of the Neoproterozoic Arabo-Nubian Shield is spectacular and excellent for teaching purposes.

An application from King Fahd University in Dharhan is presently with the Accreditation Panel, and it is likely that an accrediting party will visit there in the near future to look at their Geology and Geophysics degrees.

Applications for Accreditation of MSc degrees in the UK are also being looked at and the two MSc degrees in Environmental Biogeochemistry (with consultancy skills) at Newcastle were accredited at the last Accreditation Panel meeting on July 22.