March 17, 2006 — Next week, Jeffrey Belnap, assistant provost of Zayed University, with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), will meet with University of Utah administrators to finalize details of a new partnership to offer an executive master’s in public administration (EMPA) degree. The Abu Dhabi-based EMPA program will operate in conjunction with the U of U College of Social and Behavioral Science”s Institute of Public and International Affairs, the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Indiana University”s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
“The University continues to expand beyond our own campus to join increasingly larger, global communities. There is cause and urgency for our students to be engaged in international programs that prepare them to become community and world leaders. Our partnership with Zayed University in public policy and administration promises to be an outstanding example of such a program,” notes U Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David W. Pershing.
The EMPA program aims to provide upwardly mobile executives in the governments of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Emirates and the national government of the U.A.E. with tools for strengthening their leadership and management.
Consisting of 12 six-week courses scheduled over an intensive 24-month period, the EMPA program will offer a combination of on-site and off-site educational delivery systems, designed to provide the flexibility needed to accommodate working graduate students. The first course in the two-year series, “Governance in a Global Context,” will be taught in Abu Dhabi by Political Science Professor Ibrahim Karawan, the University of Utah’s Sam Rich Scholar in Global Affairs, director of the Middle East Center at the University and an expert in international relations and world and comparative politics.
Steve Ott, dean of the U’s College of Social and Behavioral Science and a designer of the Zayed EMPA program, notes that the University is the lead American partner. “We are committed to internationalizing what we do here. Partnering with Zayed University is a wonderful way to do it,” Ott says. “It is the depth and breadth of the partnership that’s so exciting. We are really change agents, trying to help leadership in the U.A.E. improve the effectiveness of governance.”
Founded in 1998, Zayed University features faculty described by Ott as “cosmopolitan,” comprised of professors from the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon and Egypt. Zayed is one of two national universities in the U.A.E.
Two years ago, Zayed U launched an executive master’s of business administration (MBA) program. The initiative was so successful that a year later, a master’s of health care administration program (MHA) was added and the EMPA program was proposed.
Michael Owen, Zayed’s dean of the College of Business Sciences and a long-time associate of Ott’s, sought assistance from him in developing the EMPA program. In conjunction with Zayed faculty, Ott has worked for 18 months to create the program structure, curriculum, courses, course outcomes and recommended reading materials. He also helped link Zayed faculty and administrators with other universities.
Currently, Ott is helping Zayed identify short- and long-term faculty for several new offerings in public administration, which will include non-degree training in leadership and police administration. University faculty who will teach in the project will be briefed-or “immersed,” according to Ott-by the U’s Middle East Center in the culture, politics, economics and sociology of the country.
Prior to commencing classes, the two dozen or so student executives will receive course material-disks, texts and assignments. Students, which will include men, women, nationals and expatriates, will attend classes eight hours a day for three consecutive days, two of which fall on the weekend. Students will be instructed in English and are expected to come to the executive seminar settings having read assignments and ready to work on case studies as teams. The first week of class will be spent with the instructor. During the next four weeks, students will be engaged in heavy assignments and will work with fellow students and the instructor via chat rooms and video conferencing. Courses will culminate in a Web conference with the instructor in the United States at the end of the fifth week. The students, then, will spend the sixth week preparing for the next course session.
One Ph.D. political science graduate student from the U, a German citizen studying public administration and comparative politics, is planning to attend Zayed University. “She will be an onsite graduate research assistant, helping with the administration of the program while taking political science courses over there-all the while performing independent research with the advantage of witnessing a government in change,” Ott says, adding, “What better experience could a graduate student get?
“These executive seminar settings would be the envy of anybody as they offer phenomenal facilities and new, state-of-the-art technology,” says Ott, adding that the program is completely self funding.
“The question now is how many other creative ways can we benefit the people at our institution while benefiting Zayed University?” Ott says.
The EMPA program is scheduled to start at the end of August or first part of September, in newly constructed buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. For more information on the EMPA program, call 801-581-8620.