NU-Q hosts experts on learning and teaching excellence at Annual Planning, Orientation Conference

August 19, 2014 3:57 pm

Two leading experts on learning and teaching excellence will conduct workshops during Northwestern University in Qatar’s annual orientation and planning conference for faculty and staff, August 17 through 20. The week long program will also welcome four new fulltime faculty members and six new staff.

Drs. Gregory Light and Susanna Calkins, respectively director and associate director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching at Northwestern’s home campus in the U.S. will conduct three workshops on student learning and course design.

The two will emphasize critical assessment of existing teaching and courses and suggest ways to benchmark improvement.

They join both internal and external speakers who will take on topics ranging from understanding NU-Q’s students to navigating the local community and culture as well as the laws and customs of Qatar.

“In effect our faculty and staff go back to school to help us chart the year ahead and to focus on our instructional mission as well as research and outreach, something that requires collaboration and mutual support,” said Dr. Everette E. Dennis, NU-Q’s dean and CEO.

Northwestern’s provost, Dr. Daniel Linzer will address the gathering via video conference with a discussion of the university’s overall context and changes in the offing.

New faculty members including renowned global media expert John Downing, media law scholar Amy Sanders, communication strategy professor Ilhem Allagui, film scholar Sabine El Chamaa will be introduced and welcomed, while anthropologist Sami Hermez will join the faculty in January.

“The new faculty members join an already distinguished faculty and will greatly strengthen our offerings for students,” Dennis said.

New staffers include library director Beth Clausen, senior network engineer Nadeem Lughmani, strategic risk analyst Lea Bowman, network engineer Will Froning and special assistant Demetrious Elias.
The week begins with sessions led by the Dean on “Making Connections with Impact,” which charts NU-Q’s strategic outlook and plans for the year. Other presentations include “Fostering an Inclusive Environment,” presented by chief operating officer Kathryn Symank and one on the school’s communication challenge developed by Paul Reilly, director of strategic media, marketing and communication.

The week long program provides a chance for reflection, renewal and change and to chart the school’s development in its 7th year of operation. An update and preview on the new Northwestern building, now moving toward completion in Education City, will be led by planning executive director Stephen Franklin with a discussion presented by Pamela Erskine-Loftus, director of the NU-Q gallery-on the media museum scheduled to open with the new building in 2015.

Other external speakers include Patrick Forbes of Forbes Associates and Susan Bastress of Squire Patton Boggs.

Major attention will be given to the school’s academic curriculum in sessions with the Dean and Associate Dean Jeremy Cohen along with program directors Mary Dedinsky (journalism), Scott Curtis (communication) and Sandra Richards (liberal arts).

Associate Dean Klaus Schoenbach and Research Administrator Elizabeth Lance will inventory the signature institutional research program-and faculty research initiatives. Other speakers and panelists include Gregory Bergida (student affairs), Leon Braswell (admissions), Patricia Collins (health and wellness), Emily Wilson (community relations), Laura Hockenstad (health and safety), and Beth Clausen (library).