Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar welcomed 72 new full time students to the Education City campus - 62 to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), six to the new Bachelor of Arts, BA, and four to the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) programs.
This fall semester, VCUQatar welcomes the first group of students into the new BA program in art history. This is the first non-studio degree offered by the branch campus and is intended to support the development of the cultural infrastructure in Qatar. The incoming BFA and BA classes of 2016 represent a truly diverse student body with students joining the university from Qatar, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory (Occupied), Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Fifty three percent of the incoming freshmen are Qatari.
Admission to VCUQatar is competitive with applications being blind reviewed by a committee comprised of members of the faculty and staff. Decisions are based on a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s academic achievements to date, their artistic talent, creativity and originality as evidenced by the work they present in their individual portfolios (BFA and MFA), letters of recommendation, writing skills and English language proficiency. The incoming class of 2016 represents highly qualified students who are poised to succeed in the fields of art and design.
VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone and Joseph Seipel, dean of the VCU School of the Arts in Richmond welcomed the incoming class. “Being accepted to this prestigious university is the first step in your academic journey,” began Dean Vanstone in her welcome address to the students. “The expansion in Qatar’s cultural and professional infrastructures makes this a vital time to enter the fields of art and design. Artists and designers help society innovate and generate sustainable solutions. You are this region’s next generation of artists and designers. Welcome to VCUQatar!”
The welcome address marked the conclusion of an exciting week of orientation activities, where students were introduced to university life at VCUQatar. Activities included a cross cultural awareness session, art foundation activities and a guest lecture by Anthony Fontana, learning technologist and instructor of Art at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
VCUQatar also welcomed the fourth class of the MFA in design studies, the first graduate program in design in the gulf region. “This international group of students comes from a wide range of educational backgrounds and has varied research interests”, said Pornprapha Phatanateacha, associate director of the MFA program. “These bright, ambitious students are very eager to work on their research. They have come to us with an idea of what they want to do, and our goal is to facilitate this process, maintain their enthusiasm, provoke their curiosity, and push them to go further, so they can make significant contributions in design practice, management, and higher education in Qatar in the coming decade.”