School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Dubai

Posted on: March 10th, 2010 by alysia

Susanne Shaw, executive Director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, and I were picked up by the driver at 8:30 a.m. and we were at work before 9 a.m.

We met with Ilhem Allagui, interim head of the Department of Mass Communication.  She took us to meet Chancellor Peter Heath and Vice Chancellor Thomas Hochstettler at 10:30 a.m. in the Chancellor’s office.  We then spent time visiting with other faculty: Peggy Bieber-Roberts, Ph.D.; Harris Breslow, Ph.D.; Ana Marie Castillo; Herman Coutinho; Ana Gavassa; Josehp Gibbs, Ph.D.; Mahboub Hashem, Ph.D., Mohammed Ibahrine, Ph.D.;  Don Love, Ph.D., Ph.D.; Hania Hashef, Ph.D.; Tina Richardson; Abeer Al Najjar, Ph.D.; Susan Smith; and Mustafa Taha, Ph.D.

We learned of the rapid developments in the program since it became a department in 2003.  I originally had visited in 2004 with Richard Cole, dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of North Carolina, and Tom Kunkle, dean at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.  We were doing an accreditation evaluation for the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the United Arab Emirates.

At that time the department was only a year old, but the quality was evident and the potential for growth was enormous.  I had met Anna Marie Castillo, the administrative assistant of the department; Joe Gibbs an erudite and productive faculty member; and Mahboub Hashem, a professor who had moved from the English Department to chair the new unit.

Our report for the commission had been a catalyst for enormous growth of the department.  Its quality was now official.

A new chair was appointed in 2006, and the unit has experienced no stability in leadership since then.  However, because of the growth, the program has enjoyed greater resources and now includes 15 faculty.  It has become a power house in the region.

On Tuesday we met Bruce Taylor at noon.  Dr. Taylor is a commissioner of the CAA.  I had met him in 2009 when an evaluation team evaluated the program at the American University of Sharjah and the American University of the Emirates.  He and Susanne needed to meet and talk about accreditation issues, and we need to get his insight on the context in which the Department of Mass Communication at A.U.S. operated.

We planned to have dinner Tuesday night with Prof. Nabeel A. Jurdi, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq, President and CEO, at American University of the Emirates.

First I wanted to look at carpets IN the Central Souk.  Hania Nashef offered to take us there, and we hailed A cab at 6:15.  Hania asked him three times in Arabic if he knew where the university was in Academic City.  He said he did.  However, after more than an hour and a half of stops and starts, I asked the driver to return us to the hotel.  By the time we arrived back at the hotel, two and a half hours had passed and the bill was more than 244 Dirhams.

On Wednesday we told Hania and Mustafa about our escapade, and Mustafa went directly to his office phone and called the cab company complaining about our treatment.  He told the person on the other end that we should receive reimbursement of our expenses and that the cab driver should be fired.

Our day was filled with more details about the program at AUS and more insights into the strengths and weaknesses.  The potential in the region seemed enormous.

On Wednesday night we joined the faculty in a celebration of their re-accreditation.  We took a van to Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa http://www.dubaishortstay.com/hotel/bab-al-shams-desert-spa.asp where there was great food, folk dancing and singing IN ((CUTan)) enacted scenes on horseback and camels in the dunes outside the walls of the resort.  We returned to the hotel after midnight.

On Thursday night I bought a carpet at a shop in the Central Souk.  I wanted to be sure it was one of which my wife would approve.  So we had photographed several with a cell phone during our previous visit and sent her an e-mail of several of the carpets.  She let me know which she preferred the next day.  I chose the less expensive one.  It was made in Kashmir, India, and I took it with me in a rolling suitcase.

In 2004 we had not had the technology to communicate about carpet preferences.  So I had merely purchased a small carpet for my office.

After the purchase, but before we returned to the hotel we visited Hania Nashef’s home and met her husband.  Her house is near the hotel in a lovely, quiet neighborhood.

Back at the hotel a driver picked us up for a ride to Dr. Muthanna’s home.  We had carp and a wide assortment of fruit and vegetables prepared by the family’s cook.  It was a wonderful meal.  More importantly, it was an opportunity for Professor Shaw to talk to Dr. Muthanna and Dr. Jurdi to talk about the ACEJMC accreditation process.

We returned to the hotel at 11:30, packed for a trip to Addis Ababa where I hoped to sign a partnership agreement with officials at Addis Ababa University.

On Thursday night I bought a carpet at a shop in the Central Souk.  I wanted to be sure it was one of which my wife would approve.  So we had photographed several with a cell phone during our previous visit and sent her an e-mail of several of the carpets.  She let me know the next day for which two to bargain.  I chose the less expensive one.  It was made in Kashmir, India, and I took it with in a rolling suitcase.

In 2004 we had not had the technology to communicate about carpet preferences.  So I had merely purchased a small carpet for my office.

After the purchase, but before we returned to the hotel we visited Hania Nashef’s home and met her husband.  Her house is near the hotel in a lovely, quiet neighborhood.

Back at the hotel a driver picked us up for a ride to Dr. Muthanna’s home.  We had carp and a wide assortment of fruit and vegetables prepared by the family’s cook.  It was a wonderful meal.  More importantly, it was an opportunity for Professor Shaw to talk to Dr. Muthanna and Dr. Jurdi to talk about the ACEJMC accreditation process.

We returned to the hotel at 11:30, packed for a trip to Addis Ababa where I hoped to sign a partnership agreement with officials at Addis Ababa University.

Our flight arrived about an hour late.  We went through customs easily and picked up our luggage.  As we entered the arrival lobby of the airport was Dr. Gebremedhin Simon and Nigist Teshome, Zenebe’s sister.  Zenebe, the assistant dean at the School of Journalism and Communication, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

We drove to the hotel and then met Dr. Gebremedhin to sign the agreement. The Vice President of the University was not present so the agreement is not complete as yet.  Our extra effort has not been brought to closure as yet.

Saturday we traveled around the city and returned to the airport for a 7:35 pm flight to Dubai.

When our Emirates Airline flight approached Dubai, the pilot announced that the tower had ordered him to circle for 20 minutes.  Just as he finished, the plane pitched violently to the right and then dropped severely.  There was one more similar episode and then regular turbulence for about 10 minutes before he reached more stable air east of the storm, over the Arabian Sea and east of the southern most Emirate.

We circled for 60 minutes before flying back to Dubai and landing.  We were more than an hour late, but we had reservations at the Dubai International Airport Hotel.  Fortunately we were met at the gate by two bellman who led us through the aiport to the hotel.

After more than 11 hours of sleep I had lunch and then walked through the airport.  Then I went back to my hotel room to do paperwork.  At 9 p.m. we went to the United Airlines transfer desk our boarding passes and then to the gate for the direct flight to Dulles.

On Thursday night I bought a carpet at a shop in the Central Souk.  I wanted to be sure it was one of which my wife would approve.  So we had photographed several with a cell phone during our previous visit and sent her an e-mail of several of the carpets.  She let me know the next day for which two to bargain.  I chose the less expensive one.  It was made in Kashmir, India, and I took it with in a rolling suitcase.

In 2004 we had not had the technology to communicate about carpet preferences.  So I had merely purchased a small carpet for my office.

After the purchase, but before we returned to the hotel we visited Hania Nashef’s home and met her husband.  Her house is near the hotel in a lovely, quiet neighborhood.

Back at the hotel a driver picked us up for a ride to Dr. Muthanna’s home.  We had carp and a wide assortment of fruit and vegetables prepared by the family’s cook.  It was a wonderful meal.  More importantly, it was an opportunity for Professor Shaw to talk to Dr. Muthanna and Dr. Jurdi to talk about the ACEJMC accreditation process.

We returned to the hotel at 11:30, packed for a trip to Addis Ababa where I hoped to sign a partnership agreement with officials at Addis Ababa University.

Our flight arrived about an hour late.  We went through customs easily and picked up our luggage.  As we entered the arrival lobby of the airport was Dr. Gebremedhin Simon and Nigist Teshome, Zenebe’s sister.  Zenebe, the assistant dean at the School of Journalism and Communication, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

We drove to the hotel and then met Dr. Gebremedhin to sign the agreement. The Vice President of the University was not present so the agreement is not complete as yet.  Our extra effort has not been brought to closure as yet.

Saturday we traveled around the city and returned to the airport for a 7:35 pm flight to Dubai.

When our Emirates Airline flight approached Dubai, the pilot announced that the tower had ordered him to circle for 20 minutes.  Just as he finished, the plane pitched violently to the right and then dropped severely.  There was one more similar episode and then regular turbulence for about 10 minutes before he reached more stable air east of the storm, over the Arabian Sea and east of the southern most Emirate.

We circled for 60 minutes before flying back to Dubai and landing.  We were more than an hour late, but we had reservations at the Dubai International Airport Hotel.  Fortunately we were met at the gate by two bellman who led us through the aiport to the hotel.

After more than 11 hours of sleep I had lunch and then walked through the airport.  Then I went back to my hotel room to do paperwork.  At 9 p.m. we went to the United Airlines transfer desk our boarding passes and then to the gate for the direct flight to Dulles.

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