Saudi medicine professor breaks another male bastion


EDDAH: Dr. Dalal Moheealdin Namnaqani, a career educator in medicine, has become the first Saudi woman to be appointed dean of a university in which she supervises both male and female faculties.
Ahmed Al-Eissa, education minister, appointed this week Namnaqani as dean of the Taif University College of Medicine. Previous appointments to deanship had been limited to men.
The highest administrative position for female academics at public colleges and universities was vice-dean.
No Saudi woman academic previously occupied a deanship position at a public college or university.
Namnaqani said the government, led by King Salman, considers women as important partners in serving the nation in a number of fields, including the Shoura Council, academia and private sector.
“This is what motivates me to work hard to achieve my aspirations and goals to enhance the academic quality at the college of medicine, in cooperation with my colleagues and members of faculty,” Namnaqani said.
She expressed appreciation to the education minister for making the appointment. She also praised the director of the university, Dr. Hossam bin Abdulwahab Zaman, who played a role in her nomination for the post.
Namnaqani said she did not expect to reach this position due to the organizational structures of Saudi universities, but she said she now realizes that Saudi women have proved their capabilities.
“I hope all those who care to serve our country will focus on accomplishments and not wait to be appointed in certain positions to begin to be productive,” Namnaqani said. “We can all cooperate with those in key positions to produce and innovate for the sake our country.”
The appointment is expected to open the door to other women faculty members at other public Saudi universities and widen employment opportunities for women in academia.
Taif University said in a statement that the decision to appoint Namnaqani was based on her high scientific qualifications and merit.
Faisal Al-Harthy, a student at the College of Medicine, said Namnaqani enjoys a good reputation throughout the college and is considered one of the most distinct members of the faculty, both at the academic level and in her personal relations with students.
Student Adel Bokhari said the dean’s position should go to someone who has the skills and capability to carry out the role, regardless of the gender.
Namnaqani, a consultant of histopathology and anatomic diseases and a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the university, was acting dean of university studies before her appointment to the highest position in the female section.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery (MBCHB) from King Abdulaziz University (1991), as well as seven fellowships in the cell and tissue diseases sciences. She is member of a number of scientific societies and organizations.
She began her career in 1991 working as a doctor at the King Abdulaziz University College of Medicine in Jeddah.
She held different positions at that college, as well as at Al-Hada Military Hospital, King Abdulaziz Specialist Hospital in Taif and the University of Taif. Her last position was assistant professor of pathology at the College of Medicine.


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