A charge to the class and a commitment to community

Everette E. Dennis, Dean & CEO, Northwestern University in Qatar

One of my duties each fall as the academic year begins is delivering the “Charge to the Class” for our new and transferring students. It is always an exhilarating moment to see the faces of our most recent arrivals to the community and to induct them into the school as we reaffirm our commitment to learning and the advancement of knowledge, NU-Q's essential mandate. 

That moment, plus the ceremonial and substantive aspects of NU-Q Convocation, truly launches us for another season. It is a time when the friendly and the formal commingle attesting to the seriousness and importance of our mission and obligation to students. With the help of acclaimed and accomplished author, journalist and educator Ellis Cose, we received a thoughtful challenge, to consider how we want to be remembered and by extension at NU-Q, how we want the school and its work to be thought of years from now.

Even earlier our dual orientation programs over a full week —“Wildcat Welcome” and the faculty/staff program, to be renamed the NU-Q Institute, affirms our commitment to community. My gratitude to all who make presentations or otherwise participate formally, informally, or even casually, in these events. There are moments when a thoughtful question from a participant is itself memorable and important. What we have collectively achieved in fostering a creative a sense of community and obligation to each other—staff, faculty, spouses, and dependents too—is seen as a model by others in Education City or so I am told. 

"As always, NU-Q is on the go."

I am also grateful to all who serve on the school’s several task forces, committees, and working groups in which engaged faculty and staff with an occasional student representative greatly advance the work of the school. This year as we contemplate a spring semester move to our magnificent new building, I will be asking a roster of our colleagues to serve on a new task force on Building Transition as well as task forces on Curriculum, Executive Education/Graduate Study, and Middle East Studies. There are also committees on Admissions and Outreach as well as working groups on Newsroom Design and Delivery as well as the Media Wall and Seif Tip. Both of which began last year. A number of major and consuming service responsibilities are also notable, namely the Daily Q and Studio 20Q where the respective advisers (Christina Paschyn and Danielle Beverly) spend many hours working with students.

We return to NU-Q this season and welcome 21 new colleagues, including four new faculty, two program directors, and others across our valued operational departments. And there have been a recent flurry of faculty and student achievements, including our first-ever student Oscar nominee, a high honor for a faculty documentary, and four new books by our faculty and staff colleagues. Much more to come with some first time ever courses, an array of student affairs and student organized activities as well as community outreach and thought leadership. As always, NU-Q is on the go.

We are in for quite a ride this year, some of it easily anticipated, but no doubt with some surprises along the way.

Onward!