CCQ’s Shining Moment
With the college’s first graduation commencement, CCQ’s moment in the sun has finally arrived. Many students now look forward to when they too will collect their diplomas on the ceremonial stage. Inside our summer issue we will take you deeper into that historic event and reveal some of the changes to expect in 2013. Additionally, we will highlight the many activities, events, and works happening at CCQ. Though the trek has been an adventure and there are still a great many things to do, CCQ’s future is bright.
The idea of establishing a community college in Qatar was in the minds of many citizens of this country because it proved to be an important piece needed to complete the educational system of the State.
Through a clear vision and directives from Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, our work began in 2008 to establish the “Community College of Qatar;” a comprehensive, open-access college that would provide educational opportunities, previously unavailable, to the sons and daughters of Qatar.
In less than two years since this honored directive, the College successfully opened its doors and provided the highest standard of education and quality services in collaboration with a distinctive team from Houston Community College. Today, we are here to witness the first graduating class of this young college, where everyone stood on the promise of the “Covenant” to graduate the first students after two years of rigorous study at the Community College of Qatar.
Her highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser once said, “These graduates are our real capital for the future. We all are looking forward to the stage of creativity and innovation man-made by a Qatari.”
With this small constellation of young graduates, who believed in the importance of being part of this college, we are in the process of sharing with other educational institutions here in Qatar, the path for a brighter future for all Qatari citizens.
The Community College of Qatar will remain devoted to its mission of opening its doors to all Qatari citizens and to graduating cohorts in the upcoming years. In addition, CCQ is working to provide specialized two year programs that would serve the Qatari labor market such as a “Telecommunications Program” in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, a “Customs Management Program” in collaboration with the Customs Authority, and a “Media ad Communications Program” with Al Jazeera Center for Media Training and Development.
The college is developing its Strategic Plan to become one of the key educational institutions in the State of Qatar. The CCQ Strategic Plan’s major focus is on achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030 by providing the nation with qualified and well-trained human resources to enter the labor market, or pursue higher education in local or international university, as stated in the 2011 Emiri Decree No. (52), which established the college. In addition, CCQ is currently working to accommodate all Qatari students applying to the college for the 2012/2013 academic year.
On this occasion, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the Supreme Education Council for the unlimited support they have provided to our young College. On behalf of the Faculty and Staff, I would like to thank all the parents who believed in CCQ and to the Qatari society that welcomed the College enthusiastically. Without everyone’s support, CCQ would not have been able to accomplish its goals and mission of providing first class to our beloved homeland.
We proudly congratulate our valued graduates.
Building Bridges: Munira Al-Thani’s Graduation Speech
Your Highness, Sheika Moza, President Ibrahim, Dean Herod, members of the faculty, Distinguished Guests, fellow students, and parents, Good Evening.
First, I would like to congratulate all my fellow students who are here this evening to be honored as the first graduating class of the Community College of Qatar. I am very proud and honored to be here before you this evening to acknowledge and celebrate this momentous occasion. There is an enormous sense of excitement and pride this evening, which I am sure all of you feel. In many ways we have all come to not only laud our respective student accomplishments and excellence, but the success of our college, for which we must also esteem the CCQ faculty, for without them, none of this would have been possible. We thank them most profusely.
I would also like to thank our families for just how much you have done for us. To love, support, and nurture a child is something remarkable, and now to see all of us as young, accomplished adults is something I am sure makes you very proud. I also believe that all of us owe a great debt of appreciation to Her Highness Sheika Moza, who has always been there for us a mentor and role model; someone who values the importance of education and who already has done so much to secure Qatar’s future by creating institutions of higher learning, such as CCQ, which will benefit all Qataris for generations to come.
As she has stated on many occasions, “Our aim was, and will always be, to build, prepare and form Qatari individuals, and allow them to reach their maximum potential and skills by considering them to be the backbone and the object of sustainable national and human development.”
As I stand here before you this evening, I must say that I’m proud of myself, proud of my fellow students for the results and efforts we have all put forth these past two years, and that I am deeply humbled but thrilled that you have collectively given me the chance to speak before you and represent you as fellow graduates.
And to all of you, it has been a pleasure walking with you along the CCQ bridge toward this great day. Though for many of us it was two years of trepidation, it was more like two years of excitement, fulfillment, and illumination. For many of us, CCQ represented a second chance at higher education and I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say thank you to all the faculty and staff at CCQ for giving us this opportunity to pursue our education and our dreams. Let me assure you that the education and friendships we have forged here at CCQ are precious gifts that we will keep forever.
So Congratulations and I wish all of you exciting new bridges to cross!
Graduation from a Student’s Perspective
By Mai Al-Rashid
“Graduation” This is the word that will summarize all of our hard work and stressful feelings on every exam. It is a great moment that each student will work hard to reach. This year, CCQ graduated its first class in the spring semester, and I was there to experience it. I am a member in the photography club, and we took the pictures that were used in the graduation ceremony.
It was Saturday at 9:00 in the morning when our photography club met in the college for a graduation photo shooting. We took some pictures for the graduation theme, and I was the model! Professor Bernadette Russo (Photography Club leader) gave me the gown to wear.
As soon as I wore it, I felt charmed. I cannot describe how I felt that time because it was really a magical moment. “It is my graduation day”, I told myself. It was a magical gown. Even though I am not graduating this year, we experienced it in the photos, and we became a member of the graduation ceremony through our pictures. We used the C-Ring campus to create the photos. We used everything in it from the auditorium to papers. Some pictures were shot in the auditorium, because it would look like it is a graduation hall. The auditorium was full of amazing posters that were posted on the wall like Sheikha Moza’s picture. Sheikha Moza’s picture represents the vision of the college, so we took some pictures using it. Also there was a huge flag of Qatar, and there was a banner that has some inspirational words on it. As a photographer, we have to take advantage of every small thing in any place. In the auditorium, we tried to take a picture that showed me as a graduate and the flag with the banner. This picture shows a lot; it shows that this is a Qatari college first, and the words on the banner show that the graduate will start their way to the future from that graduation moment.
As we were finishing the graduation pictures, we thought about taking pictures for the gown alone with putting a paper as a certificate. Professor Russo suggested using her office as a studio to take this picture. The gown was put on the table in a special way, where it would be clear if we photographed it. The materials were ready, but we felt that something was missing. We took one picture to check. The picture was not representing our college; it did not show that it belonged to CCQ. At the end, we decided to write “CCQ” on the paper, and it was an expressive picture. This picture is posted in one of the banners in the campus.
Seeing our work in the campus and in the graduation ceremony meant a lot to us. We were very happy and proud that our pictures were used in public and everyone saw it. I did not graduate yet and I did not attend the graduation ceremony physically, but I attended it with my emotion and my effort. It was enough for me to make my pictures involved in the ceremony, and it is enough for me to see our pictures everyday in the banners on the campus. As Cynthia Kersey once said, “Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.”
Old West Bay Campus
By Gregory Twidal
West Bay Campus stands as a monument to those first few Faculty, Staff, and students who settled the first community college in Qatar. Many difficulties awaited them, including communicating across cultures and languages while creating a kind of institution never before attempted in Qatar. Such hard work, in many ways, resembles the founding of towns and businesses on the American frontier. They were asked to build from the ground up and make the best of what was available.
In essence, our historical graduation signifies a turning point – the work done by those few will invariably benefit many more to come. Yet, two full academic years after its opening, challenges continue to surround West Bay. The biggest and most persistent problem is student parking. The campus’ main student parking lot was demolished, fenced, and is now occupied by huge gravel piles and massive building equipment. Now, more like the remnants of an old western town, the men’s campus sits squarely in the middle of a construction site with the skeletons of unfinished buildings encircling the campus in every direction.
However, much like the pioneers who came before them, the current West Bay CCQ students are pushing forward. Parking in what room is available and along the fence line that now borders where the parking lot once stood, the men of West Bay have banded together to continue their education in the prospect of a better future. West Bay Faculty and Staff, the acting “town folk” of the campus, are working hard to continue the strong academic tradition established in September 2010. Professor Valorie Gehman hosts volleyball practice at a court less than a mile from campus. Bina Benavides encourages West Bay students to create clubs and builds interest in student-run organizations. The English Café continues to grow at West Bay and is now meeting off-site to encourage more attendees with a more inviting atmosphere. Attendance at the Learning Center is also seeing an increase as more students are beginning to see the benefits of the services offered. “West Bay students are in search of building more a community at CCQ. They defi-nitely have a passion to get involved,” states Bina Benavides.
In short, the pioneering spirit is alive and well at West Bay. With this kind of dedication among Faculty, Staff, and students, it can become more than a monument of triumphs made, but a capital for future success and opportunity in the country of Qatar.
My Experience Presenting at Qatar TESOL
By Claudia Pena
As I stood in front of a group of colleagues representing colleges and universities from across Qatar, I cleared my throat and smiled. The several familiar faces of Renata Russo, Cheryl Buxamusa, Linda Bolet, Nereida Llonch, Johanna Campbell and Marina Shpilberg were all smiling back at me.
There were, however, about a dozen unfamiliar faces in the crowd— people I had never met. The room was divided and panic set in as I absolutely forgot my speech. At that instant, I made a much deeper connection, not to my participants, but instead to my students. I thought, ”So this is how it feels! There is a lot more I have to take into consideration when I ask my ESOL students to present to the class.” Thus, this experience made me more empathetic and sensitive to my student’s situation.
Here are brief, impactful lessons I learned while presenting at Qatar TESOL 2012:
1. Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking and speaking. I could not thank Professor Nereida enough as she smiled and went into an ode of positive reinforcement. What was really fascinating about her actions was that others, who did not know me, smiled and relaxed a bit more. I noticed they became more apt to participate and later contribute to the group’s effort. I never truly realized something as simple as starting a conference with positivity can contribute to creating a successful learning environment.
2. Value everyone’s time and experience. I was blessed to have the guidance of someone who has been in education for over twenty years coach me through all the stages of my presentation, but standing before a group of wall-to-wall peers was unnerving. I wondered how many of the audience members surpassed my education or experience. “I am here for a reason, and I can learn as much from them as they can learn from me,” I realized. This made it much easier to stop, breathe and wait longer for a response from the group. This interaction is similar in our classrooms. Our students come with knowledge, depth, and a variety of experiences which they need to express, as well as allowing others to express during their presentation.
3. Last, feedback is essential. Think about any audience, full of students or educators. There are those who do not like to put things down on paper—thus, several participants came over to me at the end and shared their comments. It is not always easy to look at a person and offer constructive criticism. It is much easier for some to “face the paper” and remain anonymous. In our classrooms, this can be as simple as a show of colored index cards (red, yellow and green), thumbs up or down, or a number of fingers to indicate comprehension, just to name a few. We must remember this feedback is to benefit the presenter. As an educator, feedback checks our flexibility and commitment to quality education. As a student, it gives them a way to grow and self-reflect.
“It was an amazing experience and I thank everyone— faculty, staff and students, who made this workshop a possibility; moreover, I feel that our colleagues successfully represented The Community College of Qatar by showing their support, dedication and professionalism.”
From Gulf Times:
The People Developers held its seventh luncheon and events meeting on Thursday. … The Community College [of Qatar] Dean Dr. Butch [Herod] and his associate Dr Abdulnassir, enlightened the gathering with the history, development and achievements of the institution since its inception. More details.
- HCC’s Gigi Do receives recognition for work with CCQ partnership
- CCQ students visit Houston during their spring break
- CCQ enrollment statistics: Students pursue core courses
- Enrollment statistics for CCQ from Fall 2010-2012
- CCQ academic calendar for 2012-2013
- CCQ, HCC seconded employees celebrate National Day at C-Ring campus
- Timeline: HCC and CCQ
- CCQ Newsletter: Vantage Point (Fall 2012)
- Gulf Times: Eight community college students receive diplomas
- The Peninsula: CCQ students receive Houston diplomas
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