Tuesday, August 09, 2005
News at Tech
About 60 faculty members from a Saudi Arabian university are taking courses on Virginia Tech's campus this summer. But the program's setup is a bit different than a typical Tech class.While I'm sensitive to the aphorism "When in Rome..." I also subscribe to the aphorisms "The customer is always right" and not "cutting off your nose to spite your face."
Men and women from King Abdulaziz University are taking identical faculty development courses at Tech, but meet in gender-specific classes. Tech officials said administrators from the Saudi university separated the sexes to mirror classroom settings at their home institution, which operates separate campuses for men and women.
This is the way they teach their courses over there, and this is the way they wish their courses to be taught over here," said Tech spokesman Larry Hincker. The university chose to respect the Saudi culture "rather than impress our culture on them," he added.
Tech faculty are instructing the Saudi professors in such areas as English instruction, communications, development of online courses, distance learning and Web site development. The program is being offered through a contract arrangement between the two schools and not with state money, Hincker said.
"They're not coming over here and enrolling. These courses were designed for them to meet their needs," he said.