Skyline University College (Skyline) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, marking two decades of successful growth as one of Sharjah's first private tertiary institutions to offer business and tourism programmes.
Skyline was founded in 1990 by its president, Kamal Puri, in association with the Sharjah Airport Authority.
Puri's vision was to align the institute's programmes to the demands of the UAE's growing market.
"It started as an institute catering to the tourism market through relevant courses," said Nitin Anand, Director of Academic Support Services at Skyline. "By 1992 we'd partnered with the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside in the UK to offer diploma and bachelor degrees."
Skyline's inaugural class of 40 students was run out of a classroom in Sharjah airport. Months later the institute was moved to a villa in Sharjah's industrial area and had two classrooms.
By 1997 the institute had introduced its first master's programme and expanded its bachelor degree offerings, still in association with what has now become the University of Lincolnshire.
However, two years later Skyline made a move to offer an American education in association with the American University in Washington. By the end of the 20th century Skyline was offering undergraduate programmes in IT, marketing, tourism and international business.
"We decided to phase out our UK programmes because US degree style education was the emerging trend," he said. "[Because] the US university style curriculum was picking up at that time, by 2002 we'd completely stopped offering our UK education programme."
After more than a decade of chopping and changing its curriculum, in 2005 Skyline was granted the approval to offer an independent undergraduate curriculum devised by the institution.
The approval came from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) and Skyline therefore rolled out its four Bachelors of Business Administration Programmes (BBA) in tourism, marketing, IT and international business.
To mark its new-found independence Skyline was gifted 40 acres of land in Sharjah University city by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Along with the purpose-built campus, Skyline launched its centre for professional development and in 2007 achieved its University College status from the ministry.
"In 20 years we've moved from being Skyline institute to Skyline College and now Skyline University College," said Anand. "Changing a status is basically a procedure done with the MOHESR, which depends on the number of faculties and departments an institution has."
As a University College, Skyline has established itself as a tertiary institution primarily focused on teaching programmes with business at their core.
Anand said part of Skyline's strategic future plan is to achieve university status from the ministry through the approval and subsequent offering of a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).
"Also, as part of our growth in the 20011/2012 academic year we will inaugurate our on-campus student housing," he added.
Looking back, Skyline has come a long way since its inception in a classroom of 40 students at Sharjah airport.
It now has a student body of over 800 enrolled at the undergraduate and postgraduate level and boasts over 4,000 alumni.
In addition to its four BBA programmes, Skyline now runs a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) programme, with a weekend option for both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
From / Gulf News