With its motto “The Courage to See and the Skill to Act”, as a non-profit institution, Notre Dame University Bangladesh (NDUB) has been an advocate of globalization. Inspired by this vision, the university opened its doors, aspiring to offer English as one of their main academic streams since its inception in 2014.
In addition to offering a bachelor’s program in English, NDUB also offers undergraduate programs in various other majors, including business administration, economics, law, and computer science and engineering (CSE). Masters degree programs in Business, English and Law streams are also ongoing at the institution. The university library provides resources for all of these areas.
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Under the guidance of Professor Golam Sarwar Chowdhury, Head of English Department, the English faculty is currently looking forward to integrating the Outcome Based Education (OBE) program for its students. “This way, we can ensure that our students are well equipped to use their knowledge gained in the classroom in their professional careers,” he explained.
Their undergraduate program, leading to a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, consists of 129 credits and gives students the option to choose a major in their desired major (Applied Linguistics, English Language Education or Literature). Credit hours are smartly distributed to include general education courses, foundation courses, and major courses, with an internship or thesis designed to complement the four-year program.
A master’s program, comprising 36 credits, is also regularly offered in both streams.
In an effort to achieve global standards, the English department has formulated certain development programs for faculty members as well as students, including through collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. United (UND).
A feature of this collaboration allows NDUB to send a faculty member from the English department to the United States each year for a 10-month training program. This scholarship at UND’s Center for the Study of Languages and Culture (CSLC) requires the visiting professor to actively participate in language teaching seminars, as well as to upgrade their technological skills.
So far, four teachers have already completed the training and returned to NDUB in Bangladesh where they are currently working in the English department.
“During my visit to the United States, I was exposed to many opportunities, especially in the field of education technology which I found interesting, creative and enriching,” shares Assistant Professor Habiba Akter from the English department, the first teacher to spend a year at the CSLC.
Upon her return, she joined fellow faculty member, Father Thomas McDermott, CSC, to establish the NDUB Language Center (NDUB LC). The NDUB Language Center seeks to fill the gaps to help students with their English proficiency. Along with academic guidance, the NDUB LC also offers a listening lab, peer tutoring, remedial classes and workshops on specific topics related to language use.
“As we seek to maximize the utility of our own resources, we are also very enthusiastic about collaborating with professors, institutions or any other organization that shares our goal,” adds Habiba Akter, who is also a director of the NDUB LC program. .
Building on its close ties to CSLC in the United States, some junior staff from the NDUB LC also had the opportunity to visit CSLC for a fully funded four-week training program. These staff members, recently graduated from the English department after obtaining their bachelor’s degree, are currently pursuing their master’s degree course at the same institution.
“The university has a very keen interest in providing bright students with full-time job opportunities on campus. This tradition especially helps in motivating any student to find a place of work in the same institute,” according to Shahrear Amin, associated with the NDUB. LC. While Shahrear actively participates in the activities of the NDUB LC, he also works as a teaching assistant to various professors teaching undergraduate students.
In addition to working at the Language Center, current NDUB students can find work in other part-time opportunities on campus, between classes, in exchange for reduced tuition and hands-on experience. Service projects and club activities are included as extracurricular activities.
Another notable program that has been introduced involves a weekend seminar at an off-campus site where students and faculty meet in a casual setting to discuss important issues of contemporary importance. Called “Fullness of Life” sessions, these proved to be a highlight for many participants.
Waivers in twelve categories, including special discounts for deserving students, the disabled, and the disadvantaged, are also available to NDUB students.
“We are currently in the process of redesigning our curriculum to bring it up to international standards,” notes Dr. Patrick Gaffney, CSC, Vice Chancellor of NDUB, who is also an active professor in the English department. NDUB is currently looking forward to moving into its new, much larger permanent building on its campus in Motijheel, by the end of this year.
“Once we have the space, we will look to expand several academic programs in existing departments, integrate new departments and add new resources. We seek to live up to the reputation that Notre Dame has earned in across the country and around the world as we strive to achieve excellence in learning while developing character and reinforcing human values in our students,” he concluded.