Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) welcomed new and returning students, staff and faculty to the 2020-2021 academic year, the first semester of which will be conducted in hybrid mode – with instruction and classes taking place online while access to on-site resources to be ‘pre-arranged’, with safety precautions in place. VCUarts Qatar is a partner university of Qatar Foundation.  

VCUarts Qatar 1

A total of 84 new students (21 nationalities) will 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 in August.

VCUarts Qatar 4The student orientation programme – which, under normal circumstances, would have been a week-long, activity-driven introduction to VCUarts Qatar – was adapted for an online audience, but still kept the students engaged and involved. The programme was 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.

VCUarts Qatar student orientation

VCUarts Qatar Dean Amir Berbić, who welcomed the new joiners to the campus, said that an exceptional year merits an exceptional response, exactly what they have done at VCUarts Qatar.

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.

He said that after weeks of preparation and anticipation, they are delighted to welcome their growing community to their campus in Education City, and to an exciting and unique Fall semester.

Keeping in mind the safety and well-being of its community, VCUarts Qatar redesigned the process of distributing course materials to students. Stringent social-distancing measures, grab-and-go packages, pre-allotted pick-up schedules, one-way movement inside the building and low-touch adaptations ensured that the students entered and exited the university building, safely.

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