Opening its doors to over 140 students in the recent fall intake, Oryx Universal College in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University has over 340 students enrolled across its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The College commits itself to student empowerment and success, to ensure optimal provision of these at all levels, as a demonstration, the strategic commitment of OUC in this perspective the President of the College announced the appointment of the first Associate Dean of Student Wellbeing and Success Dr Mulshankur Binoy Sobnack on 12th December 2021.
Dr Binoy is an experienced lecturer in Physics and Mathematics, joined OUC-LJMU, Qatar in the summer 2021 as a senior lecturer in mathematics, bringing along with him more than 20 years of experience of working in Universities in the UK. With a vast experience in academia, Dr Binoy holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
When asked about the aim of the role, Dr Binoy stated that ‘the main purpose of the role is to focus on providing an excellent student experience by focusing on students’ academic and career success, as well as on their physical and mental wellbeing. The role in many ways is all encompassing – it will evolve to include, but will not be limited to, personal tutoring, student mental health, student mentoring, handling grievances, student feedback and providing career coaching in compliance with the policies, procedures, and processes of OUC and LJMU.’
Besides his expertise in academia, he was also the warden of Harry French Hall (a post concurrently held with his substantive academic post in Physics) from November 2002 to March 2020, managing a team of three sub-wardens and providing pastoral care to the 389 residents of the hall. He was shortlisted for the Warden of the Year Award every year since its inception in 2010, and he received the award in 2011 and 2015.
Dr Binoy has also been actively involved in pastoral and welfare activities in his previous assignment. In 2015, Dr Binoy was appointed Senior Tutor in the Department of Physics at Loughborough University, with overall responsibility for the academic and pastoral care of students in the department.
Turning over a new chapter at OUC and moving towards achieving the greater goal of student holistic development, Dr Binoy’s role will serve as a crucial element for fulfilling and enriching student experience. Further elaborating on the set of responsibilities towards wellbeing, Dr Binoy added ‘the post of Associate Dean for Student Wellbeing and Success (ADSWS) is integrated within the Academic Affairs Department. The ADSWS will be responsible for ensuring service quality in providing excellent student experience through focus on their academic and career success as well as their physical and mental wellbeing. The scope covers all students across all programmes offered by the college. The ADSWS will also work with the other departments and teams to enhance the student experience through extracurricular activities, personal development and enhancing student engagement in the college’s ecosystem.’
Emphasising the importance of awareness of mental health, he stated, ‘although the general conception about teaching is that we are here primarily to teach students, this is not true. We should see the whole student and care, not just about how they are doing academically, but also about their physical and their equally important mental health. We need to give students the best possible student experience they can get, a student experience that is second to none. One way to achieve this is to make personal tutoring, in its broader pastoral sense, central to student life.’
Working along with senior management, the Dean of Academic Affairs, and the Academic Registry, the ADSWS will work towards one of the strategic pillars and focus areas of OUC as a higher education provider ensuring overall quality and excellence throughout its journey ahead.