As part of its activities, the Unit of Media and Public Relations at the College of Computer Science has held a workshop titled “PhD. .. a Profile of an experience”. The event was hosted by the unit’s head, Mr.Firas Shahbi, and notable speakers were Dr.Nasser Tairan, college dean, Dr.Abdulmohsen Alqarni, dean of admissions and registration, as well as Dr.Mohammed Alsaqer, Head of Department of Information Systems. As stated by Mr.Shahbi, the event was mainly meant to establish bridges between the honorable professors and T.A.’s as well as lecturers so they could consider their views during their quest for admissions and also throughout their endeavor once they start their PhD. programs. Mr.Shahbi has made clear that such an event should prevent applicants from wasting time trying to reinvent the wheel, especially which views being reflected come from diverse backgrounds, namely, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
During the event, the guests were talking about their scientific journey and multiple tracks they went through. They almost agreed that the first year of a PhD. student determines a whole bunch of details in terms of choosing the advisor and also his interests in the research topic, which they describe as the corner stone of any doctoral adventure.
The first guest to share his views with audience was Dr.Alsaqer, who emphasized two aspects. The first aspect was getting accumulated to local culture and laws, which should make it a whole lot easier for a student to succeed. The other aspect was focusing on practical aspects rather than theoretical ones during master’s in order to fulfill for deficiencies. Dr.Alsaqer has also clarified that specifically in the United States any doctoral student goes through two broad stages. The first one, when he’s considered as a PhD. student while advancing toward completion of course work. The other stage is when a student turns into a PhD. candidate, which comes after successfully passing the comprehensive exam, during which Dr.Alsaqer has urged that answers should as philosophical as possible. As far as choosing the advisor, Dr.Alsaqer says it depends on how motivated and energetic a student is. If the student is not as proactive as he should be, then choosing a demanding advisor is so critical for keeping him on the tracks.
Dr.Abdulmohsen, in turn, has shared his views about the hardships that any student might encounter, especially back in 2005, when his compatriots were very few at the time in Australia. He says that a whole bunch of negative thoughts that a person gets from others might inhibit his ambitions as he was telling his own story going to University of Melbourne, a top university in Australia. “A top university should rather enhance your overall capacity for research” Dr. Abdulmohesn added. He made it clear that misconceptions about advisors restrain the student’s success in his PhD. endeavor where a student should not prejudge based on mistaken patterns, but rather, be realistic and deal with situation appropriately.
Scarcity of PhD. holders among Saudis is a major challenge as confirmed by Dr.Nasser. He assumes that the more PhD. holders among Saudis we have, the more improved our college gets and so does the whole university. Within the same context, Dr.Nasser strongly advised T.A.s to specify their area of interest from beginning as it should result on a more distinctive achievements. He says if a master’s student has long-term objective, it would reflect on doing whatever it takes to reach that ultimate goal in terms of covering up for deficiencies and taking relevant courses that support his research interests. One important factor of success Dr.Nasser has talked by was the mathematical background of a student. He says that a robust foundation in math represents the magical formula for student to tackle algorithms which seek the optimized solutions for diverse problems. Dr.Nasser was clear about the importance of meeting the high expectations of the advisor from beginning; the thing he says was instrumental in his success.
At the end, Mr.Shahbi, the workshop host, gave the opportunity to discuss some concerns the honorable guests. The questions asked by several lecturers have covered many issues that any PhD. applicant is typically concerned about. After that, on behalf of faculty and staff members of CS College at KKU, Dr.Nasser received an award in recognition for his efforts to bring up the college and getting internationally accredited by the ABET organization.