Masdar Institute that has recently become a part of Khalifa University along with Petroleum Institute is an innovation-driven education institution that helps young minds to venture forth into the world with excellent knowledge and skills. The merger is a real opportunity that can help the institute to become even more effective at fulfilling its duties. It is, therefore, paramount to review what potential this event brings.
Process, Advantages, and Disadvantages of the Merge
The need for the merge has become obvious for the Abu Dhabi Executive Council due to the fast-growing economy of the Emirates. In the circumstances of rapid change both within OAE and outside its borders, consolidation is viewed as a benefit that allows to share resources and use them effectively and efficiently. The three educational institutions are ranked among the top in Asia, and the merge will provide an opportunity to join forces and aim even higher to achieve the distention and gain prestige among other universities in the world. The most important beneficiaries of the merge are the 5000 students who study on the three campuses.
The quality of education will be likely to rise, as the combined forces will allow benefiting from extended financial help from the Abu Dhabi government. The priorities of the institutions seem to be aligned as all of them aim for providing as many learning opportunities and activities to their students as possible. Due to that fact, a joint effort in this regard could only multiply the effect. In addition, due to the merge, the supervision and management will have an opportunity to become more effective. The union of corporate structure and administrative resources will allow a strategic outlook on the issues of all three educational institutions. The structure of all institutions is bound to be more transparent and accountable due to the fact that the government will now be in the hands of a Board of Trustees answering directly to the Government of Abu Dhabi. However, it may take some time before the new management adjusts to the new work environment. The problems, strong and weak sides of each institute are diverse, and new supervisors will need to acquaint themselves with everything.
As for the threats that the merger could possibly bring to Masdar Institute and its new partners, they may be quite diverse and lie in several key areas. First of all, the financial side of the matter could become more complicated. As the three institutions are different in size and needs, the question of which institute receives more funding can become rather sensitive. This situation may provoke unhealthy competition, which raises the need for close supervision in this sphere. Above that, integration is a difficult process. Even though all three institutions are technology-oriented, they have diverse ways of dealing with organizational, operational, and educational issues that constantly arise. This dictates the necessity for careful planning, re-establishment of problem-solving mechanisms, and other adjustments.
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is one of the most innovation-driven establishments in the Middle East. Its continuing partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology brings all-around advancements and benefits of cooperation. Protection of the environment around the campus and usage of its power to the human advantage is the key areas of interest for both students, educators, and researchers (Masdar Institute, n.d.). The campus itself was built to preserve the environment and use only renewable sources of energy (Foster & Partners, 2015). To minimize the costs of cooling the buildings of the institute have been situated close to each other to create natural shade at any time of the day. All electricity used within the buildings is generated by solar panels. They even generate 60 percent more energy than is needed. A specially-designed wind tower captures cool winds from above and reroutes them to the campus for additional temperature control.
Everywhere on the campus, waste is sorted and recycled. The buildings themselves are made from low-carbon concrete from the outside, and timber on the façade and interior are meant to reduce energy consumption on cooling and increase the lifecycle of the buildings (Wang, 2018). Everything about Masdar Institute contributes to environmental sustainability. Water waste as one of its key elements is minimized through reduced irrigation needs of exterior and interior flora and low flow fixtures within the buildings.
Transportation is also made sustainable through the use of connectivity and mobility principles. Electric vehicles as a part of the personal rapid transit system and encouragement of carpooling through social media networking works to decrease the harmful impact of conventional vehicles on the environment. A great deal of other initiatives is utilized to encourage people to think about sustainability such as sustainability clubs, urban farming, and other activities for students and institute staff.
Recommendations for Furthering Environmental Sustainability
Masdar Institute seems to be doing everything in its power to be environmentally sustainable as an entity and imbue a concern for natural resources and renewable energy with its students. Therefore, its mission within the new organizational form is to inspire other institutes and their students to think about sustainability and make an active change to their campuses (Too & Bajracharya, 2015). As such, of the possible initiatives is to introduce a joint body of active students that will promote the iShare initiative throughout the campuses. This will help students understand the value of recycling not only from the perspective of non-littering but also from the side of preservation and continuous use. In addition to that, Masdar Institute students can also expand their carpooling activities to the students from Khalifa and Petroleum Institute. This initiative may be implemented through the creation of joint communities or chats on Facebook or WhatsApp to minimize road congestions and their environmental impact (Longoni & Cagliano, 2015). The sustainable club should also create its local branches in Khalifa University and Petroleum Institute to promote printing-free initiatives, smoke-free zones, etc.
Social sustainability in Masdar Institute is also a great concern. A range of practices is used within the institution to provide students with every opportunity to achieve academic success and acquire partners and friends along the path towards excellence. As such, students who qualify for one of the institute’s education programs are provided with full tuition and coverage and cost reimbursement for international language proficiency tests. In addition, students are accommodated and supplied with learning materials. Learning opportunities are plentiful in the institute as a variety of bachelor and master programs are available for enrolment.
Student parties and events are also held as a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. There are activities aimed to promote sustainable vision among students such as the annual Earth Hour celebration. Masdar Institute recognizes the need for foreign students to visit their relatives and provides them with an opportunity to reimburse traveling costs once a year.
Recommendations for Social Sustainability
The social side of education in Masdar should become a part of a larger three institutes-wide social program aimed to make each student’s learning term as pleasant, comfortable, and rewarding as possible. In the long run, a complex social program of Khalifa university should be oriented on inspiring graduates to exercise life-long learning principles and carry the ideas of social and environmental sustainability to the world. Masdar Institute’s task within the framework of this joint structure is to create a vision and introduce the social practices it has to other campuses. The global process of uniting the student body should already be initiated, as the merge process is underway. By the time the two institutes and a university are united students need to be already aware that they are a part of something bigger than their institute community.
As such, a joint discussion club can be organized where students may debate over current issues including the merge itself. It can become a large discussion platform where students can come up with and discuss social integration between the institutes (Sidelinger, Frisby, & Heisler, 2016). Also, join social media groups should be established to ensure greater coverage and participation. Yong Future Energy Leaders is another program that may transcend the borders of Masdar in order to include participants from partner institutions that are willing to promote the vision of a technologically-advanced and sustainable future. As a part of the program, the students can participate in a variety of local and international events.
The present report welcomes the structural changes that await Masdar Institute. The merge will prove greater financial and social opportunities that will certainly become a benefit to the students of the united educational institution. Environmental and social sustainability that are highly valued and encouraged within Masdar should be promoted in the other two campuses by the joint forces of the united student body.
Foster & Partners. (2015). Masdar institute. Web.
Longoni, A., & Cagliano, R. (2015). Environmental and social sustainability priorities: Their integration in operations strategies. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(2), 216-245.
Masdar Institute. (n.d.) About Masdar clean energy. Web.
Sidelinger, R. J., Frisby, B. N., & Heisler, J. (2016). Students’ out of the classroom communication with instructors and campus services: Exploring social integration and academic involvement. Learning and Individual Differences, 47, 167-171.
Too, L., & Bajracharya, B. (2015). Sustainable campus: Engaging the community in sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16(1), 57-71.
Wang, N., Phelan, P. E., Harris, C., Langevin, J., Nelson, B., & Sawyer, K. (2018). Past visions, current trends, and future context: A review of building energy, carbon, and sustainability. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82, 976-993.