Virginia Commonwealth University
School of the Arts in Qatar
Position: Director of Graduate Studies
Department: MFA in Design Studies Program
Position Number: FA4300
Position Location: Doha, Qatar
VCUQatar (www.qatar.vcu.edu) is the Qatar campus of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Established in 1998 through a partnership with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, VCUQatar offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, painting & printmaking; a Bachelor of Arts in art history; and, a Master of Fine Arts degree in design studies. Located in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, VCUQatar is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. The current student body represents a diverse range of nationalities with students coming from more than 40 different countries.
VCUQatar strives to provide an engaged, learner-centered environment that fosters inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global setting. The university hosts the biennial international design conference Tasmeem Doha and supports the biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Islamic Art Symposium, attracting globally recognized designers, academics and thinkers while fostering sustainable, university-community partnerships that enhance the educational, economic and cultural vitality of Qatar. The university has substantial involvement with the emerging design industries in Qatar and is a significant catalyst for that growth. It has established itself as a center of excellence for education and research in art and design.
VCUQatar has 131 full-time faculty and staff and a student body of 249. VCUQatar was the first campus established in Education City, a unique 2500-acre campus community. Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Carnegie-Mellon University, Texas A&M University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Northwestern University, HEC Paris and UCL have since joined Education City.
Qatar is a liberal, hospitable and progressive country in the Arabian Gulf and remains one of the healthiest economies in the Gulf region. English is the standard second language and the population of Qatar is approximately 1.65 million and growing – 350,000 Qatari, the remainder expatriates. Doha offers all the conveniences found in a contemporary and cosmopolitan city, and also maintains a traditional Arab flavor, evident in the old markets and the city’s Islamic Arab architecture. The Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M.Pei opened in November 2008 and the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) opened in 2010. The US Embassy considers Qatar among the safest countries in the world for Americans.
The Director of Graduate Studies will provide leadership for the first Master of Fine Arts in Design Studies program in the Gulf region. The Director should have extensive experience as an administrator leading, managing, and maintaining a Master's level degree program; a concrete understanding and experience with the policies and procedures in U.S. institutions of higher education; should demonstrate the ability to formulate and manage a strategic plan; the initiative to capitalize on all available resources through collaboration and outreach, and the vision to make the MFA in Design Studies a highly sought after program by applicants and partners.
The candidate should have a thorough understanding of a range of teaching methodologies in addition to demonstrable experience with both traditional and experimental research methodologies. A candidate should see themselves not only as a designer, but an educator, with a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge and skill. He/she should be actively engaged in the field of design within a local, regional and international design community, in addition to maintaining an active engagement within the international field of academia.
A candidate should possess a keen understanding of, and commitment to 'Interdisciplinary Design' regardless of their own specific area of practice and research. He/she should be flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing contexts and situations as well as open and able to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. A successful candidate should be able to contribute to the larger dialogue within the university through active engagement with other faculty, departments, and administration, with a sincere willingness and ability to work collaboratively with others.
The Director of Graduate Studies will create an exploratory, interdisciplinary studio environment for applied design research and theoretical investigations; act as a mentor for graduate faculty and students; develop innovative project opportunities and entrepreneurial activity; identify areas of future growth and development for the program; utilize diverse and alternative avenues of income generation; link graduate research to national, regional and international design needs and networks; work closely with the VCUQatar Center for Research, Design and Entrepreneurship; ensure adherence to all VCU policies and procedures; and, support collaborations across Education City universities and Qatar Foundation Centers to achieve Qatar Foundation’s mission to create a center of excellence in education and research that will help transform Qatar into a knowledge-based society.
The Director will encourage applicants from all design and related disciplines to create an interdisciplinary learning environment grounded in applied theory, research, and experimental studio innovation; implement the existing MFA in Design Studies curriculum and maintain quality of teaching, education, student learning and quality of student works; maintain and improve the reputation of the department at national/international level through participation and promotion; develop and sustain appropriate structures for consultation, decision-making and effective two-way communication with all staff; develop and promote effective communication processes between the department, students, staff and central support departments to ensure proper information flows; maintain and enhance the departmental teaching quality of courses and programs and participates on university and Qatar Foundation committees. This position will teach one course per year, participate on graduate committees, and perform other duties as assigned.
Successful candidates will have a masters or terminal degree in design or related field, with relevant experience in an academic environment distinguished by an excellent record of peer-reviewed publications, exhibitions, design projects, or comparable research accomplishments; a research agenda that has potential for external funding where appropriate and potential for scholarship or creative funding; a history of progressive responsibility in post-secondary administration; demonstrated teaching and administration in graduate education; demonstrated outstanding interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to build consensus and work collaboratively with colleagues and students.
The successful candidate will also have strong interpersonal and communication skills; ability to work with a diverse team in a fast-paced environment; enthusiasm and the ability to thrive in an atmosphere of constant change; skill in organizing resources and establishing priorities; excellent time management skills, ability to multi-task and work to tight deadlines; willingness to work within a cooperative structure - working within a departmental team; positive attitude and desire to be in a respectful, supportive environment and a result-driven leadership approach. Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU and VCUQatar.
•Competitive international salary
•Tax protection for U.S. Taxpayers
•30% Off-shore supplement to base salary
•Medical Insurance (100% employer funded premium and employer cost shared options available)
•Fully furnished villa or apartment including wireless internet
•Annual travel allowance to home of record (to include a spouse and dependents relocated to Qatar)
•Monthly transportation allowance
•Educational reimbursement for up to 4 dependent children enrolled in an accredited K-12 program
•International Professional Development and Research Opportunities
Application Process: Qualified applicants who have a record of achievement appropriate to VCUQatar should submit a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae, twenty (20) samples of personal work, twenty (20) samples of student work and the names of five references including email and telephone contact information to Tomaree Porter (firstname.lastname@example.org), Human Resources Administrator, Qatar Support Office. Only Electronic submissions will be accepted.
Virginia Commonwealth University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women, minorities and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
For more information on VCUQatar and this unique international opportunity, please visit