The foundation for the venture toward international recognition and world-class academic status was the establishment of a campus with an excellent and appropriate infrastructure. Great care was attached to the design and construction of facilities to provide the required infrastructural environment to facilitate creation of academic and educational excellence. This is certainly crucial for both students and researchers. Adequate state-of-the-art laboratories are essential for the production of scientific work of a high academic caliber. Although all existing KAU faculties are of a high standard, new buildings are currently under construction for many faculties in order to modernize the infrastructure. Some faculties have already moved to their new locations, which are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, while other faculties are preparing to do so.
Since innovative pedagogy requires appropriate facilities, KAU is ensuring the provision of facilities for active learning, problemand project-based learning, and teamwork and peer learning, in addition to conventional lecture halls and classrooms. Computer laboratories and facilities are being made available throughout the university.
KAU outlined its academically and educationally ambitious forward-looking vision and mission for the future with an established set of objectives based on encompassing, underlying, and deep-seated traditions. KAU has striven to ensure that its academic operations, including curriculum design and development, are tailored to achieve a substantial completion percentage of its strategic plans. The university recognizes that well-designed curricula (in line with the vision, mission, and objectives), along with highly qualified academics, constitute the cornerstone of higher education .
Although KAU curricula are of internationally recognized educational and academic standards, they are not imported from foreign universities. KAU undertakes the lengthy process of designing and reviewing its own curricula because it is recognized that this process contributes toward the goal of creating the academic culture required for the achievement of standards of educational and academic excellence. This process assists curriculum designers to also focus on catering for the competencies and skills requirements of the local employment market and that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In order to ensure the establishment of an academically and educationally rigorous culture, KAU has ambitiously been expanding quantitative targets. Some fifty years ago, KAU began with a small number of programs and students, whereas currently it has more than 200 undergraduate programs, and approximately 190 graduate programs, all enhanced and supported with high-quality teaching and research. This has been accomplished over time with stable leadership, continuous development, and persistence in the pursuit of academic and educational excellence, that has led to the creation of the vigorous scientific traditions required for the production of cutting-edge research and for the judicious and effective application of educational technology.
The university has witnessed significant development on many fronts and has succeeded in achieving successful academic accreditations for the majority of its academic programs from internationally recognized academic accreditation bodies. This development is a result of carefully staged planning and process management. The first KAU Faculty to obtain accreditation was the Faculty of Engineering. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has to date accredited the 12 Engineering programs on two occasions, 2002 and 2008. Currently the Faculty of Engineering is preparing for its third re-accreditation.
The National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) has been established by the Higher Council of Education as an independent authority with responsibility for accreditation and quality assurance in post-secondary education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its mission is to encourage, support, and evaluate the quality of post-secondary institutions and the programs they offer to ensure that the quality of student learning outcomes, the management and support services provided within institutions, and the contributions to research and the communities served by post-secondary institutions are consistent with, and equal to, internationally accepted higher educational standards.
The Commission is recognized within Saudi Arabia and internationally for the quality and effectiveness of its contributions to continuing improvement in the quality of post-secondary education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Currently all KAU programs are required to achieve successful NCAAA accreditation prior to seeking accreditation from international bodies.