Asem S. Al Ramahi

Course: Doctor of Education in TESOL (EdD) Asem S. Al Ramahi

Year of Graduation: 2008

What does your current career involve?

I am involved in the Graduate ESL Services management at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This position involves preparing and updating the departmental policies and operational manuals; administering English Assessment Tests for the KAUST Graduate Programs candidates and their ESL (English as a Second Language) level placements; revising and upgrading implemented graduate ESL curriculum and selecting the instructional and supplementary materials; advising graduate students on their ESL course selection, performance and progress; designing, conducting and analysing customer satisfaction surveys for graduate ESL programs; and overseeing the Student Life ESL website.

How did you obtain this role?

Before I joined KAUST, I had worked for 25 years in the world-renowned oil Company (Saudi Aramco-KSA). In my career there, I worked as: an ESL Training Centre Principal, an ESL Instructor, Staff Development Supervisor, a College Preparation Year Program Coordinator, an Undergraduate Academic Counselor and an ESL Subject Matter Expert. I have also been an Academic Advisor to the University Relations Bureau. I had always wanted to serve in a more academic focused set up, so I opted to move to KAUST.

What were your motivations for enrolling on a course at the University of Leicester?

I wanted to pursue my higher education and obtain a higher degree from a reputable university which would enrich my career and employment credentials. Moreover, I needed to enhance my expertise and experience with regard to ESL research methodologies. Furthermore, I sought to contribute to finding solution of the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) challenges in my region at a graduate student level.

How did your EdD in Education aid your personal and professional development?

My personal and professional development has significantly improved through the supervisory and tutorial sessions I had spent with my professors at the University of Leicester’s School of Education and throughout my doctoral study. This was a unique learning opportunity by which I had obtained more practical experience of the most up-to-date educational and ESL theories, approaches and best practices. Enhancing my understanding of the research methods and their field applications had been a great value added to my knowledge and experience of the English for Specific Purposes (ESP) field. As a result, I was largely able to contribute to the ESP teacher development programs in place. Also, I was in a better position for promotional opportunities at work. My proposals to address workplace ESP /EAP (English for Academic Purposes) learning complexities were satisfactorily received.

What ambitions do you have for the future in your career?

I would like to propose regional and global solutions to ESL /ESP/EAP problems, write a book on Middle East North Africa (MENA) ESP learning challenges and eventually become an Educational Advisor at a ministerial level.

Do you have any advice for anyone reading this who would like to enter a similar work role to you?

I would comfortably suggest that there is no existence of the “too late/old to get a higher degree” notion. The University of Leicester is unique; somewhere one can professionally obtain a doctoral degree while being on one’s job and maintaining the family status. The merits of a doctoral degree are not limited to only improving ones’ employment chances, but also extend to add considerable value to one’s self -development, knowledge exploration and research practice expansion, enhancing ones’ skills in finding creative solutions to one’s ESL workplace issues, and finally achieving self-satisfaction.

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