Future professionals: NU-Q explores new courses and curriculum
25 Feb 2016 - 12:41
Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) campus is prepared to develop a pilot graduate program with a Hamad Bin Khalifa University degree in association with NU-Q. A possible recognition certificate from NU will also be explored. A master’s in heath communication is also planned.
By Fazeena Saleem
As everyone at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) looking forward to move into its new building this year, the campus is also preparing to develop and introduce several programs and revise the curriculum being taught at present.
The campus is prepared to develop a pilot graduate program with a Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) degree in association with NU-Q. A possible recognition certificate from NU will also be explored. A master’s in heath communication is also of interest, according to Dr Everette E Dennis, Dean and CEO of NU-Q.
“NU-Q has been eager to engage in graduate education for several years and has previously proposed a joint media industries degree program… We are also at work streamlining our curriculum, adding new courses, and refreshing existing ones. We have recently added courses in Science and Technology Studies, anthropology and sociology and continue to build our distinguished faculty,” he told Doha Today.
At present, NU-Q offers majors in journalism (news and strategic communication) and communication (media industries and technology) in the context of a rich liberal arts curriculum that includes the social sciences, humanities and other fields. Also a Middle East Studies certificate program as well as one in Media and Politics.
“We are transforming our longstanding certificate program in public relations to a broader one in strategic communication. Increasingly, our courses reflect global and digital concerns,” said Dr Dennis.
Among the courses Qatari students are drawn to are those that provide them with a broad liberal education as well as professional education and expertise. Also the highest enrolments at NU-Q are for courses in strategic communication and public relations, media industries, film and filmmaking, English literature, Middle East studies, media law and regulation, media and society and several others, including political science.
About tuition and fees, the Qatar Foundation requires them to be the same as those for home campus in the United States and for the 2015-16 academic year they are $50,198 or QR182,718. However, Northwestern University and Qatar Foundation offer a variety of tuition financing opportunities, including scholarships and federal aid.
The campus has produced 149 alumni and at present have 207 students with 95 Qataris.
NU-Q has a highly diverse group of students with passports from some 31 countries, and with faculty and staff whose origins are also a roster of 20 plus nationalities. The curriculum, while guided by the US higher educational model, is truly cross cultural as is the research agenda and outreach to scores of countries. Students, faculty and staff purposely travel the globe during the year with frequent trips back and forth to the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.
“Our biggest achievement is our graduates who attend the finest graduate institutions in the world, including Harvard University, University of Cambridge, Oxford University, Northwestern University, Duke University, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University to name a few. Their studies are in a variety of disciplines, including — in addition to media and communications — business and law,” said Dr Dennis.
“Graduates are also employed in a broad array of industries — predominantly in news and entertainment media and as public relations professionals. NU-Q alums are found at Al Jazeera in English, Arabic, children’s and sports programming, as well as the Qatar Foundation, the Doha Film Institute, Qatar Airways, Qatar Foundation, and the Qatar Museum Authority,” he added.
Among current students, Najlaa Al Khulaifi, a member of the Class of 2017 is a great example of an NU-Q student. A graduate of Qatar Academy, she is an ABP dual admit student who now serves as the president of the student body at NU-Q. An impressive student leader, she also leads the Studio 20Q group and the Not Another Film Club. She also serves as a peer advisor. Naijlaa has been a key figure in organising the student research committee and connecting her NU-Q with the research journal published on the main campus of Northwestern University. Respected by her fellow students, as well as the faculty and staff at NU-Q, Naijaa also played a vital role in the creation of the university’s first academic resource centre.
Among alumni, Ibrahim AlHashmi, who graduated in 2015, is a is now employed in the office of the chairperson of the Qatar Foundation. As an undergraduate at NU-Q, he served as a research assistant for a number of projects that examine the reception of media texts in the Middle East and develop effective messaging tailored for specific audiences. In addition, he was a teaching assistant for screen-writing and research methods.
“There are many others, of course, both active on the campus now and in our alumni who are either at leading media and communication firms, ministries or in graduate school, preparing themselves for important roles in Qatar,” said Dr Dennis.
NU-Q’s instructional program in journalism/ strategic and media industries and technology are producing professionals for the local market and beyond. The campus organise and convene the Qatar Media Industries Forum, held twice a year, that brings together media leaders and senior managers for problem-solving sessions aimed at advancing media industries here. NU-Q does the most extensive research on how people use the media across the region and also makes it publicly available on an interactive website that is easy to use.
“Most importantly, though, we provide a talent pool for local and regional media by virtue of our students and graduates. So a mix of instruction, research, professional development, and thought leadership rounds out our portfolio,” said Dr Dennis.
The new building in the Education City will provide NU-Q with one of the most modern media-school buildings in the world. At 400,000 square feet, it will be replete with theatres, studios, classrooms, a library and lifelong learning centre. The building will host events, activities, and programs aimed at the public as well as specific groups. In addition, a media museum called ‘The Media Majlis at NU-Q,’ will be particularly attractive to Qatari citizens and residents, including children.