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issn:2229-340
1.  Academic job satisfaction questionnaire: Construction and validation in Saudi Arabia 
Background:
Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly accountable for teaching outcomes in order to meet rigorous accreditation standards. Job satisfaction (JS) seems more difficult to measure in the academic field in view of the complexity of roles, duties and responsibilities.
Objectives:
To compile and determine the psychometric properties of a proposed Academic Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (AJSQ) suitable for university faculty, and amenable to future upgrading.
Materials and Methods:
A 46-item five-option Likert-type draft questionnaire on JS was distributed for anonymous self-reporting by all the academic staff of five colleges in University of Dammam (n=340). The outcome measures were (1) factor analysis of the questionnaire items, (2) intra-factor α-Coefficient of Internal Consistency Reliability, (3) inter-factor correlations, (4) comparison of psychometric properties in separately analyzed main faculty subgroups.
Results:
The response rate was 72.9 percent. Factor analysis extracted eight factors which conjointly explained 60.3 percent of the variance in JS. These factors, in descending order of eigenvalue, were labeled “Authority”, “Supervision”, “Policies and Facilities”, “My Work Itself”, “Interpersonal Relationships”, “Commitment”, “Salary” and “Workload”. Cronbach's-α ranged from 0.90 in Supervision to 0.63 in Salary and Workload. All inter-factor correlations were positive and significant, ranging from 0.65 to 0.23. The psychometric properties of the instrument in separately analyzed subgroups divided by sex, nationality, college and clinical duties produced fairly comparable findings.
Conclusion:
The AJSQ demonstrated good overall psychometric properties in terms of construct validity and internal consistency reliability in both the overall sample and its separately analyzed subgroups. Recommendation: To replicate these findings in larger multicenter samples of academic staff.
doi:10.4103/1319-1683.78630
PMCID: PMC3114607  PMID: 21694952
Academic faculty; accreditation; job satisfaction; job questionnaire; Saudi Arabia
2.  Developing questionnaires for students’ evaluation of individual faculty’s teaching skills: A Saudi Arabian pilot study 
Background:
The National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment is responsible for the academic accreditation of universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Requirements for this include evaluation of teaching effectiveness, evidence-based conclusions, and external benchmarks.
Aims:
To develop a questionnaire for students’ evaluation of the teaching skills of individual instructors and provide a tool for benchmarking.
Setting:
College of Nursing, University of Dammam [UoD], May-June 2009.
Materials and Methods:
The original questionnaire was “Monash Questionnaire Series on Teaching (MonQueST) - Clinical Nursing. The UoD modification retained four areas and seven responses, but reduced items from 26 to 20. Outcome measures were factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha coefficient.
Results:
Seven Nursing courses were studied, viz.: Fundamentals, Medical, Surgical, Psychiatric and Mental Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Family and Community Health. Total number of students was 74; missing data ranged from 5 to 27%. The explained variance ranged from 66.9% to 78.7%. The observed Cornbach’s α coefficients ranged from 0.78 to 0.93, indicating an exceptionally high reliability. The students in the study were found to be fair and frank in their evaluation.
doi:10.4103/1319-1683.71991
PMCID: PMC3045097  PMID: 21359032
Student evaluation of teaching effectiveness; student evulation of faculty teaching skills; academic accreditation; faculy personal portofolio; Saudi Arabia
3.  Professionalism today 
doi:10.4103/1319-1683.68781
PMCID: PMC3195071  PMID: 22022663
4.  JOB SATISFACTION AMONG THE ACADEMIC STAFF OF A SAUDI UNIVERSITY: AN EVALUATIVE STUDY 
Background:
Job satisfaction is a major determinant of job performance, manpower retention and employee well-being.
Objectives:
To explore the state of job satisfaction among the academic staff of King Faisal University – Dammam (KFU-D), and detect the areas and groups at a higher risk of being dissatisfied.
Method:
A fully-structured 5-option Likert-type Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (JSQ) composed of an evaluative item and eleven domains making a total of 46 items was used. It was distributed by internal mail to all the 340 academic staff, 248 of whom returned completed questionnaires (response rate = 72.9 %).
Findings:
The overall mean Job Satisfaction Rate (JSR) was 73.6 %. The highest JSR's were found in three domains (“Supervision”, “Responsibility”, and “Interpersonal Relationships”), and the lowest in four others (“Salary”, “My Work Itself”, “Working Conditions”, and “Advancement”). The JSR was significantly lower among Saudi nationals, females, those below age 40, those from clinical medical and Dentistry departments. Multiple Regression identified six independent variables which conjointly explained 25 % of the variance in job satisfaction (p < 0.0001). These were: being an expatriate, above the age of 50, serving the university for less than one or more than ten years, and, not from a clinical department of Medicine or Dentistry.
Conclusions
Most staff were satisfied with many aspects of their jobs, but there was significant dissatisfaction with several job-related aspects and demographic features. Appropriate interventions are indicated. Further studies are needed to confirm the present findings and to monitor future trends.
PMCID: PMC3377049  PMID: 23012199
Job satisfaction; Academic staff; Job performance; University education; Saudi Arabia
5.  THUNDERSTORM-ASSOCIATED BRONCHIAL ASTHMA: A FORGOTTEN BUT VERY PRESENT EPIDEMIC 
Acute episodes of bronchial asthma are associated with specific etiological factors such as air pollutants and meteorological conditions including thunderstorms. Evidence suggests that thunderstorm-associated asthma (TAA) may be a distinct subset of asthmatics, and, epidemics have been reported, but none from Saudi Arabia.
The trigger for this review was the TAA epidemic in November 2002, Eastern Saudi Arabia. The bulk of patients were seen in the King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al-Khobar. The steady influx of acute cases were managed effectively and involved all neighboring hospitals, without evoking any “Major Incident Plan”.
Three groups of factors are implicated as causes of TAA: pollutants (aerobiologic or chemical) and meteorological conditions. Aerobiological pollutants include air-borne allergens: pollen and spores of molds. Their asthma-inducing effect is augmented during thunderstorms.
Chemical pollutants include greenhouse gases, heavy metals, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, fumes from engines and particulate matter. Their relation to rain-associated asthma is mediated by sulfuric and nitric acid.
Outbreaks of non-epidemic asthma are associated with high rainfall, drop in maximum air temperature and pressure, lightning strikes and increased humidity. Thunderstorm can cause all of these and it seems to be related to the onset of asthma epidemic.
Patients in epidemics of TAA are usually young atopic adults not on prophylaxis steroid inhalers. The epidemic is usually their first known attack. These features are consistent with the hypothesis that TAA is related to both aero-allergens and weather effects. Subjects allergic to pollen who are in the path of thunderstorm can inhale air loaded with pollen allergen and so have acute asthmatic response. TAA runs a benign course
Doctors should be aware of this phenomenon and the potential outbreak of asthma during heavy rains. A & E departments and ICU should be alert for possible rush of asthmatic admissions and reinforce ventilators and requirements of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Scientific approach should be adopted to investigate such outbreaks in the future and must include meteorological, bio-aerosole pollutants and chemical pollutant assessment. Regional team work is mandatory.
PMCID: PMC3410145  PMID: 23012145
Thunderstorm-associated asthma; epidemic
6.  AN AUDIT OF ASSESSMENT TOOLS IN A MEDICAL SCHOOL IN EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA 
Background:
Assessment has a powerful influence on curriculum delivery. Medical instructors must use tools which conform to educational principles, and audit them as part of curriculum review.
Aim:
To generate information to support recommendations for improving curriculum delivery.
Setting:
Pre-clinical and clinical departments in a College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia.
Method:
A self-administered questionnaire was used in a cross-sectional survey to see if assessment tools being used met basic standards of validity, reliability and currency, and if feedback to students was adequate. Excluded were cost, feasibility and tool combinations.
Results:
Thirty-one (out of 34) courses were evaluated. All 31 respondents used MCQs, especially one-best (28/31) and true/false (13/31). Groups of teachers selected test questions mostly. Pre-clinical departments sourced equally from “new” (10/14) and “used” (10/14) MCQs; clinical departments relied on ‘banked’ MCQs (16/17). Departments decided pass marks (28/31) and chose the College-set 60%; the timing was pre-examination in 13/17 clinical but post-examination in 5/14 pre-clinical departments. Of six essay users, five used model answers but only one did double marking. OSCE was used by 7/17 clinical departments; five provided checklist. Only 3/31 used optical reader. Post-marking review was done by 13/14 pre-clinical but 10/17 clinical departments. Difficulty and discriminating indices were determined by only 4/31 departments. Feedback was provided by 12/14 pre-clinical and 7/17 clinical departments. Only 10/31 course coordinators had copies of examination regulations.
Recommendations:
MCQ with single-best answer, if properly constructed and adequately critiqued, is the preferred tool for assessing theory domain. However, there should be fresh questions, item analyses, comparisons with pervious results, optical reader systems and double marking. Departments should use OSCE or OSPE more often. Long essays, true/false, fill-in-the-blank-spaces and more-than-one-correct-answer can be safely abolished. Departments or teams should set test papers and collectively take decisions. Feedback rates should be improved. A Center of Medical Education, including an Examination Center is required. Fruitful future studies can be repeat audit, use of “negative questions” and the number of MCQs per test paper. Comparative audit involving other regional medical schools may be of general interest.
PMCID: PMC3410120  PMID: 23012084
Assessment Technique; Curriculum review; MCQ

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