Towards a New Generation of Engaged Universities:
The Need to Act, Adapt and Transform

16th – 18thApril, 2024 | Kempinski Central Avenue (Formerly the Address Dubai Mall), Dubai, UAE

Call for Institutional Case studies

Inviting Higher Education Institutions to Share their Success Stories

The MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum (MENA-HELF) organized by the Center for Learning Innovations and Customized Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) in Dubai, UAE has significantly grown over the years to become one of the leading platforms geared specifically towards higher education leaders and decision makers from across the globe. Since its inception in 2013 as a biennial event; the MENA-HELF has gathered over a 1500 higher education leaders and decision makers from more than 60 countries to discuss and debate emerging trends and developments, recent innovations, and changing demands and external factors influencing higher education.

It has also provided a vehicle to exchange and share experiences on various aspects of Higher Education and defined strategies to shape the future of the sector.

The 6th MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum organized under the theme “Towards a New Generation of Engaged Universities: The Need to Act, Adapt and Transform” will take place ‘in- person’ in the mesmerizing and vibrant Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates from the 16th to the 18th of April, 2024 with pre-forum workshops happening on the 16th of the same month.

Call for Institutional Case Studies

One of the Forum’s main objectives is to encourage the exchange of institutional ‘good practices. Hence, to complement the plenary sessions, panel discussions, debates and focus groups, participants are invited to submit case studies and discuss how their institutions are responding to diverse disruptive forces, adapting and transforming themselves.

The case studies will allow universities, colleges and other organizations to showcase how they have been transforming and re-inventing themselves and planning for the for a rapidly changing future. They will be able to share experiences and inspire new ideas among the Forum participants coming from all regions of the world and the wider higher education community.

Topical Guidelines

The Technical Committee of the 6th MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum invites leaders of and experts from the Higher Education Sector to submit original institutional case studies of relevance to this Forum’s theme and for tracks. Submitted case studies shall demonstrate a clear alignment with the main theme and one of the sub-themes/tracks of the Forum and shall provide lessons learnt that other institutions of higher education can adapt for their own institutions. Submissions of case studies shall be made against one of the following tracks. Authors are kindly required to specify the track against which they are submitting their case study when their extended abstract is sent:

Track (1) | Innovation for Societal Impact

Universities play a pivotal role in serving their communities, which has over the years been seen as one of its three fundamental purposes.

Moreover, they are essential in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda across all four of their key functions: learning and teaching, research, external leadership, and internal operations & management. This entails more than simply identifying existing SDG capabilities; it involves integrating sustainability principles vertically and horizontally across diverse communities of practice. For universities to perform their unique function as enablers of change, they need to simultaneously embrace their role as targets for and enablers of change, ensuring that they are role modelling the sort of approaches and impacts they want to engender. Consequently, this track will delve into several crucial issues, including but not limited to:

  • Embedding Sustainability in Higher Education: Strategies for integrating sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across learning and teaching, research, external leadership, and internal operations.
  • Lifelong Learning: Exploring the importance of continuous education and non-traditional forms of learning, such as micro-credentials and stackable degrees, in responding to evolving workforce demands.
  • University-Industry Collaborations: Discussing effective models and best practices for collaboration between universities and industries to foster innovation, knowledge transfer, and economic development.
  • Service to Society: Examining the role of universities in engaging with local communities, addressing societal challenges, and making a positive impact through community service initiatives.

Track (2) | Adaptive Teaching and Learning

There is a growing consensus that higher education should stonily focus on the development of students’ employability skills by fostering more engaging learning experiences that promote student autonomy. It is crucial that Higher Education Institutions regularly review and enhance the curriculum to align with the rapidly changing demands of the industry. Moreover, there is significant discussion surrounding the importance of embracing less structured and rigid curricula and creating space for greater variety. This entails advocating for alternative pathways, multiple streams of education, and a broader range of credentials that empower individuals to upskill and reskill themselves as required, enabling them to apply these newly acquired skills immediately in the workforce. The topics to be addressed in this track include:

  • Digital Education: Exploring innovative approaches to digital education, online learning, and leveraging technology to enhance teaching and learning experiences.
  • Transformative Pedagogy & Practice: Discussing pedagogical approaches that promote student engagement, critical thinking, creativity, and autonomy, preparing them for future employability.
  • Assessment Theories & Methodologies: Examining new assessment methods and tools to effectively measure student learning outcomes and competencies in a changing educational landscape.
  • Curriculum Design & Development for Future Careers: Addressing the need to design flexible, interdisciplinary curricula that equip students with the skills and knowledge required for emerging careers.

Track (3) | Innovative Research

There has been a growing misconception regarding the role of research in educational institutions and its impact on teaching, students, the university, and society as a whole. Unfortunately, the prevailing trend has been to prioritize quantitative metrics for evaluating research, rather than encouraging impactful and meaningful research that fosters creativity and intellectual initiative. However, such research is crucial for universities to effectively transform and engage with other industries and society at large. This track aims to explore the various topics that highlight how institutions are actively promoting and nurturing creativity, innovation, and leveraging technological advancements. Among topics discussed are:

  • Nurturing Creativity & Innovation in Research: Discussing strategies for promoting and supporting creativity, curiosity, and interdisciplinary research within educational institutions.
  • New Models for Research Collaborations: Exploring innovative approaches to foster collaborations between academia, industry, and other sectors to enhance research impact and address societal challenges.
  • Leveraging Technology for Research Impact: Discussing the role of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and analytics in advancing research, knowledge creation, and intellectual initiatives.
  • Rethinking Research Impact Metrics: Debating alternative approaches and metrics to assess the impact and value of research beyond traditional quantitative measures.

Track (4) | Enhancing the Student Experience

One of the key roles of universities is to create an environment that nurtures the intellectual, social, and personal growth of students throughout their university journey and beyond. Recognizing and valuing the diverse student body, promoting equity, and envisioning universities as inclusive and safe communities that actively challenge discrimination and prejudice are essential aspects. Additionally, proactive initiatives aimed at fostering students’ self-confidence and resilience play a critical role in preparing future graduates to thrive in an uncertain future. This track will address several important issues related to:

  • Nurturing Creativity & Innovation in Student Experience: Exploring strategies and initiatives to foster creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation among students, promoting their personal and professional growth.
  • The Hybrid Campus: Exploring the Future of Learning Environments In an era of evolving educational models. This theme delves into the design and implementation of learning environments that blend physical and virtual elements.
  • Leveraging Technology for Student Engagement: Discussing the effective use of technology, virtual and augmented reality, and AI-powered tools to enhance the student learning experience and support their overall well-being.
  • Redefining Metrics for Student Success: Debating alternative metrics and frameworks for evaluating student success beyond academic performance, encompassing holistic development, employability, and well-being.
  • Data Analytics and its Role in Improving Student Retention and Engagement: The availability of vast amounts of data presents a unique opportunity for universities to enhance student success through data analytics. This will focus on the use of data-driven approaches to improve student retention and engagement.
  • Student-Centered Approaches: Exploring innovative practices and policies that prioritize student needs, preferences, and diversity, creating inclusive and supportive learning environments.


  • An extended abstract of 500 to 750 words should be sent to by the specified deadline to
  • Authors should specify in the subject line: the title: Abstract Submission: Track #.
  • Authors shall use up to (10) key words to describe the case study in their abstract; these will be used for web searches.
  • The full case study submitted should typically be between 12 to 15 pages in length, excluding references and appendices. It shall be submitted in MS-Word format in a single-spaced, 12-point Arial style; title centered, in bold and all in capital letters; text and sub-titles aligned left.
  • The title page should be separate and should include the author(s) title, full name affiliation(s), country and email information.
    The case study itself shall provide:
    – A background of the institution(s) involved
    – The context for the case study -what trends does it address? The problem that prompted the initiative or the reason(s) why the initiative was undertaken with possible examples illustrated
    – The goals and outcomes intended to be achieved by the institution(s)
    – The actual implementation strategy/ plan
    – The results and outcomes which resulted from implementing the strategy
    – Reflections on lesson learnt on the topic (the last page ideally shall include a list of bulleted lessons learnt). This could also include recommendations (positive or negative) to other learning institutions wishing to implement a similar practice.
  • References shall adopt the Harvard Referencing Style and must be carefully checked for completeness, accuracy and consistency.
  • Figures and tables should appear within the text of the case study and shall be numbered consecutively. The figure or table number and description should appear left-justified in 10-point size at the top. Legends should be short and define any acronyms, abbreviations or symbols used.
  • Submissions of full case studies of those abstracts accepted shall be emailed to by no later than the set deadline indicated below.
  • All submissions are blindly reviewed and input will be provided by the Technical Committee for any amendments required.
  • Authors shall make any recommended changes or amendments to the case study as requested by the Technical Committee and ensure the latter is submitted by no later than deadline for final manuscripts submissions (mentioned below) to allow organizers to allocate the case study. Papers submitted after this cut-off date may not be considered.
  • Accepted case studies will become part of the program once author(s) registration is completed.
  • Submissions that do not adhere to the submission guidelines will be rejected

2. Presentation Guidelines

  • The authors of the accepted case studies will be invited to make a (15) minutes presentation during Forum.
  • Case studies which are not presented by at least one of the authors will not be included in the program of the event. 
  • The presentations are expected to providen concrete examples and perspectives to lay the ground for discussion with the audience. 
  • When preparing for the presentation authors should consider the following:
    – Authors may use for the presentations of their case study Power Point slides or poster presentation as deemed relevant.
    – Every presentation is allocated 15 minutes followed by Q&As managed by the session chair.
    – No additional time will be granted if more than one author is involved in the presentation.
  • Authors of approved case studies shall receive additional information once their paper is approved on the date and time of their presentations and shall confirm their attendance via registering online.
  • All PowerPoint presentations shall be submitted as per the below deadline.
  • Author(s) shall also ensure that their registration is complete before 1st of March, 2024. Discounted registration fee applies to authors of case studies.

Important Deadlines

Extended Abstract Submission Deadline
15th November, 2023

Full Paper Submission Deadline
25th December, 2023

Final Full Paper Submission Deadline
25th January, 2024

Deadline for PowerPoint Presentation Submission
1st March, 2024