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Habib University has been created as a response to the higher education system in Pakistan, which has proven inadequate in responding to the needs of contemporary society and developing leaders who can effectively contribute to local and global communities. The conventional focus on technical and vocational training, compartmentalized education, and limited exposure to the humanities and social sciences has resulted in a lack of critical inquiry, creative thought, and understanding of local needs and contemporary context.
Pakistan is at a pivotal juncture in its history. Through undergraduate degree programs designed to address the developmental, economic, and cultural conditions of Pakistani society, Habib University’s mission is to educate critically-conscious citizens who can help create a prosperous, stabilized, outward-looking society. With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, Habib promises an immersive learning environment characterized by small classes and interactive seminars to ensure a more direct circulation of knowledge between professors and students.
In developing the institution, Habib University’s founders explored a number of higher education models ultimately focusing on the U.S. model of the private, liberal arts-based university, and adapted it to the Pakistani context. Learning from the experience of Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon University’s branches campuses in Qatar – transplanting existing models to new soil – was also instrumental in the institution’s planning and continues in its governance.
Habib University has enjoyed a mutually enriching and supportive relationship with Texas A&M at Qatar and Carnegie Mellon University, both of whom have played notable advisory roles in the establishment of Habib University, from the early stages of institutional planning and development to the commencement of operations. New York University-Abu Dhabi was a key advisor in faculty recruitment and HU’s Social Development and Policy Program was inspired by NYUAD’s Social Research and Public Policy program. HU faculty and administration also paid informational visits to the branch campuses of Northwestern University and Georgetown University in Qatar’s Education City to learn from their communication and media programs.
Habib University’s Board of Governors bring decades of international experience and academic expertise to the oversight of the institution. Board members have been instrumental in the development of the university and recruitment of faculty. Please read more about our Board of Governors here.
Habib University aims to develop mutually beneficial partnerships and institutional collaborations, bring best practices to the university, and provide international and regional learning opportunities for students.
The University is seeking to work with institutions that have a similar structure and mission, to develop programs that emphasize undergraduate research projects and experiential learning, introduce innovations in academic offerings and strengthen interdisciplinary and nontraditional approaches. Through our partners, we aim to provide the Habib community access to platforms for exchanges, collaborative research and teaching as well as professional learning and development.
Supported by the Office for Global Engagement, Habib University’s academic programs and administrative offices continue to learn from leading undergraduate and research institutions on strengthening administrative frameworks, improving academic programs, promoting greater student engagement, and enriching multidisciplinary activities and project-based learning.
The institution has developed strong relationships with Harvey Mudd College and Pitzer College in Claremont, California, Stanford University, including the Hasso Platnner Institute for Design and the International Honors Program, the University of Michigan Center for South Asian Studies, Texas A&M University at Qatar, and Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar.
Maintaining and strengthening our existing partnerships and developing new collaborations is key objective in Habib’s long-term strategic planning. Building a world-class institution with an inspiring learning environment requires globally proven strategies that adapt proven programs and policies to address local challenges. We are continually evaluating procedures, assessing needs and outcomes, and engaging in capacity-building and training by experts from renowned institutions.
Habib faculty and administration routinely undertake study tours of colleges and universities in the US and network with faculty abroad for advice on the best methods for integrating the sciences and humanities, shaping academic programs and curricula, and institutionalizing pedagogical and programmatic excellence. We are particularly interested in learning from the co-curricular practices of US institutions in creating an immersive learning community and in developing a US-style model of decentralized academic administration.
Our partnerships have enabled us to adopt the best practices in higher education by allowing us to draw insights from well-established institutions in areas like curriculum and research design, student life and learning, and faculty recruitment.
The Office for Global Engagement supports departments and offices across the university in bringing global conversations and critical dialogue to the campus and the public through lectures and visits from world-renowned scholars and cultural figures.
Habib’s flagship public lecture series, based on the University’s motto of thoughtful intellectual engagement, brings to Pakistan leading international scholars whose work has wide-ranging impact and represents excellence in their field.
Dr. Hassan Abbas, professor and chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University in Washington, DC, spoke in a public lecture co-hosted by the Interdisciplinary Development Research and Action Center (IDRAC), formerly known as the Yoshin Center for Social Development, on “The Future of Iraq” in November 2015. Dr. Abbas’ visit was coordinated by the American Institute for Pakistan Studies.
In December 2015, Ms. Sarah Stein Greenberg and Mr. Ashish Goel of the Hasso Platnner School of Design, or d.school, at Stanford University visited Habib University to introduce Design Thinking to the community and the public, discuss strategies for incorporating design thinking into the educational framework, and engage with students, faculty and staff through workshops. Ms. Greenberg also delivered a public lecture on Design Thinking and benefits to education in Pakistani.
Dr. Daniel Mattern, US Country Cultural Attaché at the US Embassy Islamabad, spoke to the Habib community on “How to Think Like a Historian” in Spring 2016.
Habib University’s globally-engaged centers are committed to promoting research and discourse on a range of critical issues, bringing in researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Habib University’s academic centers and initiatives – the Arzu Center for Regional Languages and Humanities, the IDRAC Center and the Center for Media and Design– function as platforms for research, practice, and engagement with the academic world and the public on cultural, social and developmental questions specific to Pakistan and South Asia.