U of C opens Qatar campus

By Katy Anderson

The University of Calgary-Qatar, the largest overseas program in history involving a Canadian university, officially launched Tue., May 8.

Classes start on Sun., Aug. 26 and will include Qatari students as well as students from neighbouring countries.

“This year we’ll be starting with no more than about 12 to 15 students,” said U of C-Q dean and chief executive officer Michael Clinton.

“It will be a slow start, which we had planned for,” said Clinton. “We’ve only been on the ground here for the last 11 weeks. The 2008 academic year, we’ll expect to have more than 15–maybe something in the order of 30 to 40 students. But within five years we hope to have reached an intake of 100 students a year.”

The school will start with a regular four-year program, according to Clinton. Next year they hope to start a post-diploma bachelor of nursing, a shortened program for nurses who already have a diploma and, in future years, masters and PhD programs will be included.

“There will be three academic staff, two of them are here already and that includes myself,” said Clinton. “We have a colleague joining us on the fifth of August and that will be enough to start our program up in the fall. We also have nine support staff and management staff.”

The official launch party included a delegation of 16 from Calgary sent to Doha by the U of C including former Students’ Union president Brian West and outgoing Graduate Students’ Association president Christine Johns.

“I think the state of Qatar’s requirements and expectations, from what we saw, are incredibly high for their entire post-secondary system,” said Johns. “The fact that the U of C was chosen to offer a faculty of nursing shows the international reputation that our school has for providing innovative and high-quality education to its students.”

Johns said the program would provide students with experience of adapting to different cultures as well as technical knowledge.

“There’s a great opportunity here for the government, both at provincial and federal levels, to examine what’s being accomplished in areas of higher education around the world,” said Johns. “I think the provincial government has stated that they want a world class post-secondary education system and it would certainly do these officials well to examine what countries like Qatar are accomplishing in this area, especially because of the high levels of government support that are existing in these in countries.”

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