Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a Qatar Foundation partner-university, welcomed new and returning students, staff and faculty to the 2020-2021 academic year.
The first semester of the academic year will be conducted in hybrid mode with instruction and classes taking place online while access to on-site resources such as the University’s Fabrication Lab, Materials Library and Media Innovation Centre will be pre-arranged, with safety precautions in place.
A total of 84 new students drawn from 21 nationalities make up the 333-strong VCUarts Qatar student community this year.
In addition, the art and design university also welcomed 14 new staff and faculty on board.
The new academic year kicked off with orientation programmes for students, staff and faculty, during the third and fourth weeks of August.
The student orientation programme was adapted for an online audience, but still kept the students engaged and involved. The programme was further augmented by a series of lighthearted ‘How to Online’ videos filmed with the assistance of students who experienced online learning in the spring semester, offering practical tips and guidance for the incoming cohort on how to make the most of studying virtually.
During their virtual induction to university life, the new students interacted with staff, faculty, and their peers, as they learned more about the facilities, resources, activities and associations, and the health and safety precautions that the university has rigorously implemented across its campus, to battle Covid-19.
Jabor al-Dosari, a VCUarts Qatar freshman, said he was delighted to meet his peers and professors, and found the orientation week exceptionally well-organised, and enjoyable.
“It was fun to get to know my professors and peers on a personal level,” al-Dosari said.
“Just being able to unleash our creativity during the orientation activities was a great introduction to the VCUarts Qatar community, and a fantastic way to kick off a semester that will be mostly online.”
VCUarts Qatar’s dean, Amir Berbic welcoming the new joiners to the campus, said: “An exceptional year merits an exceptional response. And that’s exactly what we at VCUarts Qatar have done.
“Our staff and faculty have worked for weeks to adapt the orientation programme and teaching curriculum to an online platform, in a manner that is as engaging and productive as possible. After weeks of preparation and anticipation we’re delighted to welcome our growing community to our campus in Education City, and to an exciting and unique fall semester.”
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