Higher Learning Commission approves A-State’s Qatar campus

by George Jared ([email protected]) 39 views 

Arkansas State University has secured approval from the Higher Learning Commission, recognizing its location in Doha, Qatar, as an off-campus site where students can complete one of A-State’s approved degree programs. A-State is working in partnership with Global Studies Institute (GSI) in Qatar.

The move follows previous approvals by the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

The Ministry of Education in Qatar has recognized three A-State degree programs that students can complete in Doha. The bachelor of science in digital technology and design (including all concentrations); bachelor of science in engineering management Systems; and master of science in education in educational leadership are the approved programs.

“Students complete their coursework via a synchronous, live streaming instructional system using real-time face-to-face interaction with the course instructors, similar to a classroom setting on the traditional campus,” said Chris Boothman, senior associate vice chancellor for distance education and technology. “Using a classroom setting in Doha, the instructor is live streamed in conjunction with a real-time whiteboard to enhance interaction. A second screen is utilized to share other materials, and a third screen to show other curriculum resources.”

A-State is exploring the possibility of expanding the portfolio of available programs.

“We are working on creating pathways for Qatar students to complete their first year or two in Doha before coming to the Jonesboro campus to complete any of the degree offerings,” Boothman said. “This enhances the overall partnership and will create a cultural experience for students here in the United States.”

More than 60 students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate programs.

About 88% of the population in Qatar being expatriates from other countries, and limited access to public institutions, A-State and GSI have created this pathway to obtain either one of the degrees offered on the ground in Doha, or for students to complete their chosen degree in Jonesboro, Boothman added.

GSI is a privately funded entity, not associated with the Qatari government, and A-State is generating revenue solely through tuition and fees aligned with international student tuition at the main campus.

“GSI Qatar facilitates a comprehensive educational experience,” according to Shaker Lashuel, executive director, “including access to Arkansas State’s curriculum, faculty and resources, along with providing support services that emphasize student engagement and success. This allows students in Qatar to earn accredited U.S. degrees locally while gaining a global perspective.”