November 22, 2013
National Academic Advising Association consults at Qatar University
A team from the National Academic Advising Association, or NACADA, spent one week in Qatar (pronounced Cutter), where they evaluated Qatar University’s progress since the team’s initial visit in 2011.
The association’s Charlie Nutt, Jayne Drake and Nancy King, along with Qatar University’s Selma Albelrahim Haghamed, director of advising and retention, and president Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, traveled to the Gulf region countries that shares a southern border with Saudi Arabia from Oct. 25-Nov. 1.
Like all universities, administrators at Qatar University are trying to find the best ways to support student success.
“They are looking for the best strategies and initiatives to support their students academically, culturally and in their career choices,” Nutt said.
Just like many universities in the United States, the faculty at Qatar University served as student advisors in addition to carrying heavy teaching loads and research requirements. Nutt said this was not the best model for their students, so the National Academic Advising Association team suggested a significant change.
"During the 2011 trip, we looked at the university’s advising programs across campus and made a series of recommendations," Nutt said. "During the most recent trip, we evaluated what they have accomplished so far. The administration has chosen to follow our recommendation and move to a centralized system. They’ve hired 50 academic advisors who are housed in the colleges but who are hired centrally, trained centrally and assessed centrally."
While there are many similarities to American universities and students, there are differences.
“One cultural difference is that males and females go to class separately and in separate buildings,” Nutt said. “This meant the new advisors had to directly correlate proportionally to the sex of the students.”
The consulting experience has been such a success that National Academic Advising Association has been invited by Qatar University to co-host an academic advising summit in November 2014 for advisors throughout the Middle East.