Original Source: www.dohainsight.com, 25 August 2011
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) celebrated the new 2011-2012 academic year by welcoming new and returning faculty and staff during an all-day retreat held at the VCUQatar atrium this week.
Each year, VCUQatar organises the welcome reception after a week of orientation for the new faculty and staff. This year, 15 new employees arrived on campus for orientation on August 17.
The next day, they attended a cultural awareness session with Mohamed al-Mushri, chief commercial officer at Oryx GTL, who spoke about living in an Islamic country. The week-long activities ended this Tuesday.
The all-day retreat following the week of orientation began with Dean Allyson Vanstone welcoming all 55 faculty and 76 staff to the 14th academic year for VCU in Qatar. “We join together to refocus on our passion for education and to share our commitment to creating an inclusive environment for student success with access to the best resources available in the world today,” she said.
“We continue our ambition to expand and strengthen our research, to deepen our relationship with the Qatar community, and in all of our actions, to lead the development of a sustainable professional creative culture in the region,” Vanstone added.
She also introduced guests from VCU Richmond, who were in Qatar for orientation. The retreat ended with an awards ceremony, recognising individuals who distinguished themselves over a period of years in service to the school and community.
Nine employees were recognised for their five-year service to VCUQatar and three employees for their 10-year service. Assistant professors Pornprapha Phatanateacha and Michael Hersrud (Graphic Design), and Diane Woodcock (English) were honoured with ‘Faculty Distinguished’ achievements awards.
Phatanateacha was the recipient of the ‘Distinguished Achievements in Service’ award. Her nomination listed significant contributions to curriculum development; leadership in field study development; dedication to creating VCUQatar’s 10th anniversary publication, participation on hiring committees and university committees beyond the call of duty as well as working with, and mentoring students on external design project development while liaising with clients at all hours.
Phatanateacha more recently excelled in the task of co-creating, planning and executing Tasmeem 2011, Synapse – the designer as link. She is currently finishing the design and production of the Tasmeem 2011 publication.
Woodcock, who won the ‘Distinguished Achievements in Research’ award, is a prolific researcher with no fewer than 19 poems, and one book of poetry published in 2010 alone.Her chapbook, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree, the third of a trio of chapbooks was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2010. Her first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, is to be released by Little Red Tree Publishing later this spring.
Woodcock has already begun planning for the research she will conduct for her second full-length poetry collection, Under the Persian Nightingale’s Spell.
Swaying on the Elephants Shoulders recently won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux international poetry prize for women.
Hersrud won the ‘Distinguished Achievements in Teaching’ award. In two years at VCUQatar, he has made a big impact on the students and the graphic design department. He focuses on creating an environment that helps students become familiar with technology and develops their comfort in navigating technology. This comfort is essential for anyone who will enter a career in Graphic Design.
Hersrud has also made a substantial impact in collaborative teaching for Narrative and Interaction courses. This complex content area has been particularly problematic in education and Hersrud, along with his colleagues, has had great successes.
The Faculty Distinguished Achievements awards recognise individuals who have distinguished themselves over a period of years in service to the school, community, profession, teaching and research. The three were presented with certificates and cash awards at the event.